STUDY: PART 31
V1. “Then I was given a reed…” Who was given a reed? John.
For what purpose was this reed given to him?
The reed, or yard stick, when mentioned anywhere in the Bible alerts us to the fact that the Lord is preparing to deal with Israel. It can be a rod of iron to break their backs (Psalm 2:9), or a staff of protection to draw them to safety (Psalm 23:4). In chapter 11, I believe we have both.
When you read verse one of Revelation 11, it brings to mind the words of the Lord in Luke 21:24, “And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” Jerusalem is still under the influence of other nations. The Muslims have built mosques there, and other religions have built churches in Jerusalem. It’s sad to hear the call to prayer for the Muslims in Jerusalem several times per day. Her streets are filled daily with faces from foreign countries from all over the world including those of her deadly enemies. So this prophecy was not yet fulfilled as some suppose, but will be done during the 42 months, three and a half years, of the last half of the Tribulation.
I will paste Zechariah 2 here now for your comfort. God is awesome in His preservation and love of Israel. God always has, and always will protect His beloved Jerusalem.
“I lifted up mine eyes again, and looked, and behold a man with a measuring line in his hand. Then said I, Whither goest thou? And he said unto me, To measure Jerusalem, to see what is the breadth thereof, and what is the length thereof. And, behold, the angel that talked with me went forth, and another angel went out to meet him, And said unto him, Run, speak to this young man, saying, Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls for the multitude of men and cattle therein: For I, saith the LORD, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her. Ho, ho, come forth, and flee from the land of the north, saith the LORD: for I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heaven, saith the LORD. Deliver thyself, O Zion, that dwellest with the daughter of Babylon. For thus saith the LORD of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye. For, behold, I will shake mine hand upon them, and they shall be a spoil to their servants: and ye shall know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me. Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the LORD. And many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and shall be my people: and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto thee. And the LORD shall inherit Judah his portion in the holy land, and shall choose Jerusalem again. Be silent, O all flesh, before the LORD: for he is raised up out of his holy habitation.”
What was John to measure? Since the temple was destroyed, it’s not the real building, not even the one expected to be built. And since the original temple building was a type and shadow of the temple to come, the church, I believe it’s the temple of the Holy Ghost, the church of God which John was to measure. He was to measure the holy and the holy of holies, but not the outer court.
“Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:19-22).
Look at this now and you will know why the measurement is taken: In who the building fitly framed together growth. The church of the Living Jesus is a living body, growing, developing, reaching new heights and depths, and God wanted an exact measurement of this growth. Did He need the numbers? No. It’s for our benefit. When we see a home Bible study built up on the unvarnished truth of the word grow into a mega church, we are encouraged because we know the Spirit of God is at work in that ministry.
This growth is one reason I don’t believe God will remove His Spirit from the earth at the rapture. The Spirit is the One who calls the lost to salvation. We know many will be saved out of the Tribulation and as long as there is church on earth, they will be His temple. God would never leave His temple empty. Remember, Solomon built the first temple for God with cold stone hewn out of the mountains (I Kings 5:15) and it was destroyed by man’s hands. Jesus built His temple with living stones (I Peter 2:5) and no man can destroy what Jesus has built! These living stones were fitted one beside or upon another for spiritual service. As the truth the Spirit revealed to me several years ago states, Jesus is the Cornerstone, we are the living stones, and prayer is the cement that holds it all together.
V2. John was also to measure the altar. This is again not the physically built altar from the temple but the Lord Jesus. He is the altar we now use to approach God in prayer, worship, and praise. It’s on this solid Rock we stand to make confession, repentance, and amends before God. We no long need to kill an animal and spill its blood in order for our sins to be covered. The Holy was slain, His blood spilt, but His blood did not cover our sin, but washed them away completely. John 14:13, 14; 15:16, and 16:23, 24 all give us the same promise from our Jesus. Whatever we ask in His name, He will do it. “And whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in my name, I will do it” (John 14:13, 14). You see? He is the Altar upon which we place our sacrifices of prayer for others and our requests for ourselves. “No man cometh to the Father but by me,” Jesus said (John 14:6). It is on this altar that we offer our sacrifices or praise and worship that the Father may be honored.
Why was John not to measure the outer court of the Gentiles? In the days of the physical temple, Herod made additions to the building, including the outer court of the Gentiles. These additions were not part of David’s plans (I Chronicles 28:10-12) or Solomon’s building of the temple (I Kings 6). The outer court was used for pagan sacrifices to idols, and for other unholy things. This is where Jesus drove out the money changers and animal sellers. For this reason, God distinguishes between the temple and the court because those who remain unsaved will not be protected. As with the Passover, those who are under the Blood of Jesus will be protected. Those who stand outside the temple, uncovered, will not be protected.
It will be so much harder to be saved during the Tribulation than it is now. Again, I urge you all to reach out with the Word of God to touch the lost and draw them in. God wants none to perish (Matthew 18:14), and that should be our deep longing as well. We are to love what God loves and hate what He hates. I hate the idea of people burning in the torments of hell forever.
STUDY: PART 32
V3,4. We will not enter into the controversy about who the two witnesses will be. We will just take a look at what information we do have about them. The only absolute is that they were chosen by God before the foundation of the earth was laid to come and do this ministry, even as all the plans of God for man were made first. Nowhere in Revelation does it reveal the identity of these two personalities. (Perhaps God wanted us to focus on their mission and not their persons. Look how “star struck” Peter became during the transfiguration.) If who they are mattered to what they are coming to do, God would have made their identity clear. That they will be given great power to prophesy in sackcloth* is what’s immediately important.
I do not agree with all that John Gill propounds in his commentary, but I really like how he stated the following. "I will give in command to my two witnesses that they may prophesy"; the sense is, that Christ will give to them a mission and commission, sufficient authority, all needful gifts and grace, courage and presence of mind to preach his Gospel, to hold forth his word, and bear a testimony for him during the whole time of the apostasy…” That puts their ministry to the church in a capsule of wisdom. They will be correctly equipped to perform the services to the church of Jesus.
The two witnesses will stand before God even as they minister on earth. They are as olive trees and lampstands. Olive trees symbolize the oil which is the Holy Spirit. The lampstands represent the light. Zechariah 4 speaks of two lampstands and two olive trees. There the men spoken of were Joshua and Zerubbabel. Both were empowered by the Spirit of God with all they needed to accomplish their ministry of building the second temple. The witnesses are to be lights in a dark world as they prophesy in the wisdom of the Holy Ghost. Let’s see what Luke 21:15 has to say.
“For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay (deny; contradict) nor resist.”
Jesus will give His witnesses power. He will also give them the care of the church that will exist then. Look at something with me now. In the Old Testament and the New, God always raised up men by twos, Moses and Aaron, Caleb and Joshua, Elijah and Elisha, Joshua and Zerubbabel, and John the Baptist and Jesus. By the mouth of two witnesses things are established.
Let’s read Luke 3:4-6, “…the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” John is telling the people to prepare for the Savior, the living Christ who is the Way. They were to repent and accept His salvation.
Now let’s read John 14:6, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” Both John and Jesus had the same testimony of Jesus. He is the Way to God. The two witnesses who are coming in the Tribulation will have the same testimony. Their cry will echo that of John and Jesus, “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand” (Matthew 3:1, 2; 4:17).
Now watch how well these men conform to the Old Testament precepts about witnesses.
We’ll read Deuteronomy 17:6; 19:15. “At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death.,” and “One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.”
Watch how Jesus reiterated this truth in Matthew 18:16. “But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.” The Word which they are coming to establish is Jesus.
When something is given in both Testaments, it’s an irrevocable truth. No one can be condemned to death at the mouth of one witness. God’s judgment could not come to the world if there was only one man crying the truths of the gospels. But two bewailing repentance and salvation instead of death, makes it true. Even Jesus didn’t stand on His own testimony.
Let’s read John 5:30-37, “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true. There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true. Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth. But I receive not testimony from man: but these things I say, that ye might be saved. He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light. But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me. And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.” Jesus boldly states that John spoke only truth about Him, but that his witness isn’t the sure witness. It’s the works, the miracles of salvation, redemption, deliverance, etc… and the Word of the Father which make it true.
I John 5:7, says it this way, “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.” We know that the Word is Jesus form John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” When Jesus speaks of himself, the Father and the Spirit agree with Him. When the two witnesses prophesy the second coming of Jesus and the need for repentance, they will also be standing in the testimony of Father, Son, and Spirit.
How will they remain firm in the face of such adversity? Let’s read Zechariah 4:6b, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.” This is yet another promise that the Holy Spirit will still be active in the world even in the Tribulation.
Two Scriptures Bible scholars stand on in an attempt to identify the first witness are, Malachi 4:5, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD…” and Matthew 17:11, “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things.” J. Vernon McGee agrees with this. He further speculates that the second witness might be John the Baptist as he heralded the first advent of Jesus, so makes sense he will go before Him a second time.
Next week we’ll study their power to call down fire from heaven.
God bless you all.
* 1. a coarse cloth made from goat or camel's hair or cotton, hemp, or flax. Use: sacks.
2. sackcloth, or a garment made from it formerly was worn as a sign of mourning or repentance.
STUDY: PART 33
Most people teach the first six verses of Revelation 11 as one study. I’ve chosen to separate the parts so that we can look at each pertinent fact individually.
V 5. What is a witness? A witness is someone who testifies to what they know or have seen. In this case, the two witnesses are: 3. somebody who testifies to Christian beliefs: somebody who publicly states his or her strong Christian beliefs 4. public statement of Christian beliefs: a public statement of strong personal Christian beliefs Encarta ® World English Dictionary © & (P) 1998-2005 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
These men will be chosen by God and sent into the ministry of spreading the truth of God’s Word. These two will be immortal until the time their mission is over with and God brings them home. Not one effort to kill them will succeed until they are slain as witness to God’s resurrection. They will not stay dead!
“If any man (or woman) hurt them…” This is not spoken only to those who would cause hurt to their bodies, but also to their doctrine, their theology, their property, their possessions, and their ministry. Anyone who speaks against them, openly or in secret, anyone who renders what they teach gibberish, anyone who plots and plans against them will be destroyed! Does this mean they will be burned up by the fire from heaven as Elijah called down to consume the sacrifice in I Kings 18:30-38? (V 38) “Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.” Is this what the witnesses will do? I don’t think so. I think their fire is the Word of God. I think the wicked people will be devastated by the preaching the truth. Let me show you the Scripture I base this on.
Jeremiah was prophesying the truth of what God planned to do to Israel and Judah for turning from Him, but the people rejected what he said. They refused to believe that God would punish them for their wicked ways.
Read what was said about them in Jeremiah 5:3 “O LORD, are not thine eyes upon the truth? thou hast stricken them, but they have not grieved; thou hast consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction: they have made their faces harder than a rock; they have refused to return.” That’s what will be going on when the witnesses prophesy. The people will be so hardened they will not believe. These are the people who will have survived all the destruction of the seals and trumpets to this time.
Jeremiah 5:10-14 “Go ye up upon her walls, and destroy; but make not a full end: take away her battlements; for they are not the LORD's. For the house of Israel and the house of Judah have dealt very treacherously against me, saith the LORD. They have belied the LORD, and said, It is not he; neither shall evil come upon us; neither shall we see sword nor famine: And the prophets shall become wind, and the word is not in them: thus shall it be done unto them. Wherefore thus saith the LORD God of hosts, Because ye speak this word, behold, I will make my words in thy mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them.”
Whichever people will come against the two witnesses and their prophecies, the Lord will make His Word as fire from the tongues of the two witnesses to devour their enemies’ spirits. Fire coming from the mouth indicates strong preaching. As the two preach and prophesy, their messages will cut the people like knives causing deep wounds to their spirits and souls. The Word will condemn them and they will condemn themselves. They will not be saved. They will be convicted by the Word, but their hearts will be so far from God that even though they are wounded by the words, they will still walk away from the truth of God. Have you ever made a comment about someone and have them speak a few simple words that made you want to dig a hole, climb in, and draw the dirt over yourself? That’s a type of what the Word of God will do to the people who stand against God’s two chosen witnesses. The fire won’t kill their bodies; it will kill them spiritually and eternally. Remember here, these people are the ones who received the mark of the beast.
Notice that verse 5 repeats twice that those who come against the witnesses will be killed. That means it’s definite. No man or woman who comes against them will be in heaven.
V6. Can you imagine the depth of God’s trust in these two witnesses by which He gives them total, unlimited power to stop the rain, call down plagues, and turn the water to blood? Moses only did these things at God’s command. These men will be using their own discretion. That alone tells us they are worthy figures, proven men, before God.
As with Elijah the Prophet, these two witnesses will close heaven’s doors so that no rain will fall during their prophetic ministry. Are the plagues which the witnesses have power over literal? I believe they are because we saw God use them before very effectively against the hardened heart of Pharaoh. In this case, though, the people are unregenerate. They belong to the beast, and although the Words of God strike terror in them, they still do not turn back, repent, and become saved. They seal their own eternal fate of death and hell with the beast. Jesus, in Luke 2:49, said some of the most profound words a Christian can hear and do. He said to Mary and Joseph, “And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?”
Paraphrase: Don’t you know I came here expressly to fulfill my Father’s work for the kingdom? I have a short time before I go to My Father. I must get these things done.
Let’s pick up that same cry. Our time is short before we go to our Father. We need to take all whom we can with us.
STUDY: PART 34
V. 7. “When they finish their testimony…” and not one moment sooner! Jesus said something similar of himself in Luke 13:31, 32. “The same day there came certain of the Pharisees, saying unto him, Get thee out, and depart hence: for Herod will kill thee. And he said unto them, Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.” Jesus could not be killed, although people tried several times to stone Him, until His mission was finished. The same is true of the two witnesses. Only when they have accomplished what God sent them to do can the devil come up out of the pit to kill them. He succeeds in this, or so it seems.
The beast, also called antichrist, will reestablish the Roman Empire. He will gather the world under his control – all those who bear his mark – then will delight in publicly slaying God’s two witnesses. God will allow their deaths, but as with Lazarus’ (Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God? John 11:40), their deaths will be to God’s glory. Their deaths will be another example of evil appearing to triumph over good. It will seem to the people that God himself has been defeated when the two witnesses are killed. The antichrist having been loosed from the pit and will be hell-bent on the destruction of all things God.
Interestingly, the Greek word for witness it Martus from which we derive the English word martyr. Jesus was martyred, John the Baptist was martyred, thousands of God’s children have been martyred, and the two witnesses will be martyred.
Note: The antichrist is described as coming out of the pit before we have gotten a description of him. This illustrates that the vision has not been written in chronological order.
V. 8. Satan’s depraved mind will be so excited at finally overcoming the two witnesses that he won’t allow them the decency of a proper burial. He will leave their bodies lying in the town square of Jerusalem as a testimony to his victory over Jesus. The people of that time will hate Jesus and His people so much they won’t even try to bury the witnesses. Another thought here. It’s highly likely they know the story of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. They don’t want another empty tomb experience, so they will keep the bodies under close scrutiny.
Jerusalem is called Sodom and Egypt to denote both aspects of the depravity of the society at the time of the witnesses. “Spiritually” meaning that John is not actually seeing Sodom and Egypt in his vision, but what they represent. Sodom depicts the immoral state of people’s souls. Egypt depicts the corrupt state of government and its oppression against the body of Christ, His church. At the time when John’s vision will come to pass, the world will be at its basest moral level ever. Even Sodom and Gomorrah won’t have been as evil and, yet, they were totally destroyed for their sin.
V. 9, 10. We are in a generation of technology that 15 or 20 years ago was not available. These advancements now make it possible for these prophecies to be fulfilled. The entire world can now see things from every part of the globe because of satellite. Can’t you imagine a web site being developed on the Internet for the sole purpose of viewing the dead bodies of the two witnesses? It’s not that farfetched when you think of what the Internet now gets away with displaying. At first when the witnesses are killed, the people won’t believe it. They will watch their bodies in fascination to see if they move or take a breath. Many times people remark that this time can’t be near because we still have mountain tribes in New Guinea or hidden tribes in Africa who have no way to see the display of the witnesses’ corpses. Right now that might be true, but after the church is removed, the antichrist comes and sets up his kingdom of a one world order of peace and prosperity, and the people take the mark of the beast, people will be sent into “all” the world to reach everyone.
Let’s also remember the 144,000. They will be going to all the same peoples, tongues, tribes, and nations witnessing for Jesus the Messiah. Let’s read Matthew 24:14. “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” These 144,000 pure, holy men consecrated unto God will teach the world about Jesus. No one will be forgotten or left out. I believe this is why missionaries and their boards sometimes get so disillusioned. They want to reach everyone, but the time is not right for that yet. We can reach whom we can reach, period. During the Tribulation no one will be missed.
We have seen many national celebrations broadcast over TV and satellite from all over the world. In that manner there will be a universal celebration when the witnesses are slain. People will be so high, not only on drugs and alcohol, but on the blood of the martyrs which has been spilled, that they will be sending each other gifts. Why? Because they believe the torment that these two Swords of the Word God wielded against them are dead! They will believe this is a victory for satan and the antichrist. They will make merry as during Christmas. J. Vernon McGee calls this “the devil’s christmas”. Knowing what they will go through for the three and half years, 1260 days, it’s easy to understand their rejoicing. But it saddens the heart to know they have missed the entire reason for the ministry of those two witnesses.
When you think in which direction stores and special interest groups are taking Christmas, it’s not hard to imagine it becoming a celebration of what the devil did rather than what Jesus did by being born to die for us. I pray God we are taken out of here before the birthday of our savior is reduced to a heathen holiday.
Are we close to this time in prophetic history? Yes, I believe we are because God is being pried out of every aspect of public and private life. We are told that no one wants God, yet the growth in churches and ministries all over the world belie that remark. Revival is in this land and in other countries. It hasn’t reached a fever pitch yet, and won’t until we independently have revival within ourselves. Pray for yourself, repent, give your hearts to God without limitation, and watch Him work. When people are revived, their land is healed. Let’s see that in God’s words. “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (II Chronicles 7:14)
God bless you all.
STUDY: PART 35
V. 11. In many of the commentaries I read they say the witnesses were dead for a symbolic three and a half days which is a literal three and a half years. I disagree. Lazarus only needed to lie in the cave of burial 4 days for God to manifest His glory in Him, to quicken his body with life, and shock the religious people who were there watching. The two witnesses will lay there for three days in the hot sun. That’s plenty of time for decay to set in and their bodies to begin the process of deterioration. Note one difference here though. The body of Lazarus was quickened to life in the tomb. He came forth restored. Here, in the case of the witnesses, all men will witness their restoration taking place on camera. There will be no denying that they are the two who had been dead and are now alive.
“Now” (after their ministry of prophesying and witnessing, and after their death viewed by the world and celebrated), the Spirit of God quickened them with life. The word stood is to be understood in the sense of it happened instantly. Remember the crippled man whom Peter healed in Jesus’ name?
Let’s read Acts 3:6-10. Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God: And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him.
Just as the crippled man was raised to his feet, so will the two witnesses leap to their feet praising and glorifying God. Imagine the shock as the people who are partying and giving gifts to one another in celebration of the death of the witnesses see them suddenly standing tall, filled with the very life of God in them. (Genesis 3:7. And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul; Ezekiel 37:3-6 And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest. Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.)
I can imagine they will sober up very quickly as they watch the two rise to their feet right before their eyes. “…and great fear fell on those who saw them.” The fear did not descend on them as they sobered up. It fell on them like a fiery sheet of recognition. “Oh no, satan didn’t win! These guys, like Lazarus and Jesus, are raised from the dead! Now what will we do?” I have felt fear in my life, but let me assure you, it was nothing like what these people will feel. Those people will know for certain they are doomed. If the antichrist and satan can’t defeat two men, how will they defeat God?
V. 12. As if that isn’t enough, watch what happens next! Jesus’ trumpeting voice will call down to the two witnesses and call them up to heaven. Jesus ascended to the right hand of God from the Mount of Olives on the Shekinah glory (presence of perfect God) cloud. (Acts 1:9) The witnesses will also ascend in the Shekinah glory of God that appears as a cloud. “Come up here,” is an imperative meaning, don’t look around or hesitate, come quickly. All those who had been dancing around the bodies will now watch as they are lifted up by the very love and glory of God. They will finally realize that this was God’s last warning.
V. 13. “In the same hour…” or, within a 60 minute period, God demonstrates His power over satan, the ruler of the world, by sending an earthquake. Jerusalem is not very large, so 1/10th of her size is a lot to lose. Losing 7000 people will also be devastating to them. The two incidents happening so closely after each other will cause the people to marvel and give glory to God. But, please don’t misinterpret this. Although some may still be salvageable and will repent, for the most part, these are people who have grieved the Spirit of God to beyond the point of redemption. They will not shout of God’s glory with repentance on their lips. They see and believe the reality and power of God, but as J. Hampton Keathley, III , Th.M, wrote, “They are like the fallen angels who believe and know the reality of God, and yet tremble in their confirmed state of rebellion against God. Because of the hardness of their hearts, these will have become confirmed in their unrepentant condition. They have reached the point of no return.” This glorifying God will not be unto salvation for the majority of them.
V. 14. The interlude is over. All that can be done for the people to turn their hearts to Christ has been done. God’s warning has sounded. Now God declares that His third woe, the seventh trumpet, is coming quickly. Remember that in Revelation 8:13, John was told the last three trumpets would be woes. In the fifth trumpet, antichrist was allowed to free the tormenting locusts that bit, but did not kill, satan’s own for five months so that they begged to die. The sixth trumpet blast brought the four horsemen who were released and allowed to kill one third of mankind with fire, smoke, and brimstone.
In all, a quarter of the earth’s population, then one third, and then the 7000 were killed. That’s over 58% of the human race. That’s pretty woeful.
STUDY: PART 36
V. 15. “Then the seventh angel sounded…” The sounding of this trumpet closes out God’s mercy in the world. Those who will be saved are. Those who rejected the ministry of the two witnesses and the 144,000, and the testimony of the ones who have been saved, won’t be saved, and can never be from hence forth. God gave them plenty of opportunity and many warnings, and they have made their eternal choice. It’s like children choosing what team they want to play on. “I want to be on the white team of the King of kings,” one might say. “I’m playing for the prince of darkness,” another might answer. Both have made their eternal choice and there is no longer any turning back. Now the woe, the judgment of God, will begin in the world. The plagues of the seven bowls are included in this seventh trumpet.
Note: Revelation 11:15, “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,’” should really read, “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord and His Christ, and He shall reign for ever and ever.’” There is only one earthly kingdom which originally was given to man to rule. Adam forfeited his right to kingship to the devil when he sinned, but Jesus will take back the lordship over this world when satan’s kingdom is destroyed. We see this fact written in the Song of Moses in Exodus 15:18, “The LORD shall reign for ever and ever.” The effects of the sounding of this trumpet will be the establishment of Christ’s reign on earth. This world will now belong to Yahweh and His Messiah, God and His Son Jesus.
“There were great voices…” means many voices that were louder than loud. They were hugely loud. They were shouting in relief, in joy, with gladness that things are coming to an end. Can’t you just hear them shouting, “Hallelujah!” (Hallel; song of praise, Jah; God; praise God) This is in contrast to the profound silence after the opening of the seventh seal in Revelation 8:1. “And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.”
V. 16, 17. The songs and shouts of the “great voices” reached the twenty-four elders who are seated on the twenty-four thrones around God’s throne (Revelation 4:4) and down they went onto their faces yet again before our God almighty to give Him due worship (Revelation 4:4:11; 5:9; 7:11). God is about to judge the world and satan’s deceptive practices. He is about to judge those who had taken the mark of the beast and were tormenting the Christians who had no mark, but were sealed by God for salvation. They know that this sounding is the beginning of the end of evil in the earth, and they are rejoicing with praise. We can rejoice now knowing that in that time our prayer from Matthew 6:10, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven,” will be answered.
The elders also know that when God restores His kingdom, the rewards for the Old Testament saints and the Tribulation saints will be bestowed.
V. 18, 19. “The nations were angry…” They have come against the Lord since the beginning of time. Let’s look at Psalm 2:1, “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?” In other words, why do these foolish kings plot against God knowing the outcome of their strategies can only be failure, and that no one who stands against God can win? Daniel 12:10, “Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.” Matthew 6:23, “But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” They are in rebellion against God. Matthew 12: 34-37, “O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the Day of Judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” They have chosen, and by the testimony of their own tongues, they are condemned.
Let me go aside here for a moment and say that this is why God had the Bible written for us. It’s His love letter to us, His rule book for us, His map to heaven, and a revelation of His promises that endure forever, but it’s also a chronology of the failures of kings who have plotted against the Lord. We have their history in our hands. How, then, can these foolish ones believe they can ever win? They are blinded to the truth. Luke 6:39, “And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch?” That’s why it’s so important to be careful who you believe, who you follow, and from whom you take spiritual guidance. Many false prophets are out there now and seeking to lead you astray. If anyone in ministry tells you something, and you feel a check in your spirit, listen to it! Investigate what was said in the Word. If you still don’t understand it, talk about it with someone you trust.
What will God do to those in rebellion against Him from this point in Revelation onward? King David states it very clearly in Psalm 2:9, “Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.”
“The time of the dead” refers to Old Testament saints and Tribulation saints because it states “Your servants, prophets, and saints.” The church has already ascended to heaven with Christ and all have received their rewards. This leaves the priests, kings, and prophets of the Old Testament, and the saints of the Tribulation who have not yet been judged to receive judgment. Daniel 7:10, “A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.”
One of the articles I read while doing research made a great point that I want to share with you. J. Hampton Keathley, III , Th.M. said, “We should note that this chapter began with the apostate temple on earth, but closes triumphantly with the heavenly temple in view.” Verses 18 and 19 are certainly dealing with Israel because the temple of God and His Ark are for Israel. That John could see the Ark of the Covenant reminded him, and reminds us now, that God made a covenant with Israel and He will keep it. Those who have loved God with all their hearts, minds, and strength will ascend into the temple until the New Jerusalem descends to earth. The others will be judged unworthy and will eventually be cast into hell with satan and his demons.
The lightning, thunder, earthquake, and hailstorm are warnings to those on earth of the judgment to come. The pouring out of the bowls will be devastating to humankind. Before we see that, we will see the events and situations that will be taking place on earth during the last half of the Tribulation. This will be the horrid conditions of the world when Jesus returns.