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REVELATION—THE REVELATIONS GIVEN TO JOHN

If one were to read, “Lucky is the one whose entry form is drawn from the container” the prize, a two week holiday for two. what would one do with the till-slip in one’s hand, which is the entry form?

 Rev 22:7b reads, “Blessed is he that keepeth the words of the prophecy of this book.”

Everything will soon come to an end. So be serious and be sensible enough to pray.

 In spite of this promise, not many have an understanding of ‘THE REVELATION of St John Divine’. This ‘promise’, of a blessing far exceeds a ‘two week holiday’. 

Rev 22:1-, “And he showed me a pure river of water of life, bright as crystal, coming forth out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of its street was a tree of life producing twelve fruits: according to one month, each yielding its fruit.” 

Moreover, the leaves of the tree were for healing of the nations. How can one ‘keep the words of the prophecies written’ if one has not read or, understood them? 

I invite you to read this INTRODUCTION 

Whilst I’m aware that most scholars favour the date of the writing of Revelation as 90-95 AD, I am of the opinion that a much earlier date would be more fitting. It could even have been during the persecutions of Saul before his Damascus experience. An earlier date has its merits for the following reasons:

 (1) In Luke 21 Jesus forewarns his disciples concerning persecutions. In verse 20, “And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.” Jesus spoke about the fall of Jerusalem. All we know is what John testified concerning himself. He says he was an exile on the Isle of Patmos, Rev. 1.9, “I, John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ”. It is doubtful, after having been forewarned concerning Jerusalem’s fall, that John would have been in Jerusalem during the siege in 70AD. John, I believe, was banished to Patmos, where he received the revelations, before Jerusalem’s fall.

 (2) We know that Laodicea was destroyed, by an earthquake, in 60/61 AD. It is doubtful that it could again have, ‘become rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing…’ Rev. 3.17, in such a short period of time were the seven letters written in AD 90-95.­

 (3) To suggest that Nero, Dominican or, any of the Roman Emperors were related to the beast of Revelation 17.10, “And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space,” would then be incorrect. Concerning ‘Nero’s resurrection’, to suggest that John had this in mind when he recorded his revelations would be false. John recorded what he was shown. He was shown what was in God’s mind, Rev. 1.1-. “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to Him to show His servants the things which must come to pass quickly. And He made it known by sending it through His angel to His servant John, who testified to the word of God, and the testimony of Jesus Christ, as many things as He saw, both the things that are and those that must happen after these.”

It is possible, then, that John’s writings were available before the fall of Jerusalem and that the other writers, of the NT, had access to them. One must bear in mind that although Luke 21 and Matthew 24 have much in common they are not addressing the same event. Luke, verses 20-24, warns concerning the happenings that occurred in 70 AD, “They will fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations, and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of Gentiles, until the time of the gentiles be fulfilled”. The ‘time of the Gentiles’, Rom. 11.25, is not yet fulfilled’ “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, least ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.”

Matthew wrote concerning the ‘abomination of desolation’ standing in the holy place. Both writers instruct their readers to flee. Matthew informs his readers concerning the ‘great tribulation’ that will then follow, such as was not since the beginning of the world nor, ever shall be. The tribulation will end at Christ’s appearance on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory, “But straight away, after the trouble of those days, the sun will be made dark and the moon will not give her light and the stars will come down from heaven and the powers of heaven will be moved. And then the sign of the Son of man will be seen in heaven…” Mat 24:27-.

The ‘coming on the clouds’ refers to the ‘harvest’ mentioned in Matt. 13.39, “The enemy that sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.” This event is commonly known as the ‘rapture’ and, it precedes the wrath of God, Rev 15:1, “Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous: seven angels having the seven last plagues, because in them the wrath of God has been completed.” The ‘falling away’ precedes the ‘great tribulation’, 2Thess 2:1-,

It is written, 1Thess. 5.9, “For God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.” The great tribulation and, the wrath of God, are two separate events. The tribulation concerns the believers, the ‘rest of the woman’s seed’, “And the dragon was angry with the woman and went away to make war on the rest of her seed, who keep the orders of God, and the witness of Jesus.” Rev. 12.17. The woman, the mother of Jesus, represents Israel, a daughter of Sarah. ‘We’, the ‘rest of her seed’, too, are children of the promise, Gal. 4.28-, “But we, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. But just as then the one who was born according to the flesh persecuted the one born according to the Spirit, so it is also now.”

SPIRITUAL ISRAEL AND, NATURAL ISRAEL

Christians, too, are of the seed of Abraham, Gal. 3.29-, “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.  But, and this is important to note, there is also a natural Israel–the ‘natural olive tree‘ of Rom. 11.-24-, “For if you were cut out of a field olive-tree, and against the natural use were united to a good olive-tree, how much more will these, the natural branches, be united again with the olive-tree which was theirs?” Those, of natural Israel who have accepted Jesus as that One promised to Abraham, as it is written, Gen. 22.18, “And in thy seed (And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and yours is the heritage by the right of God’s undertaking given to Abraham. Gal. 3.-29) shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” They, ‘natural Israel’,  too, can become ‘spiritual Israel’ and sharers of the new covenant established upon better promises, Heb. 8.6, “But now his, Jesus’, position as priest is higher. Because through Him God has made a better agreement with man, based on the giving of better things.” ‘Natural Israel’ are God’s people–not God’s children.

Natural Israel’s hope is their promised land. Yes, they did take possession of their promised land in the time of Joshua but, he did not ‘rest’ them, “For if Jesus (Joshua) had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day,“ Heb. 4.8. They will, however, enter their ‘rest’ at the fulfilment of Rev. 19.11- when Jesus comes to set-up his kingdom, “And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” They will be the ‘super power’ ruling the world from Jerusalem.

Important to note: A Jew is not a Jew unless he is circumcised and, a Christian is not a Christian unless he/she is born again. Important too, a rebirth or, a resurrection from the dead cannot happen unless a death has been ‘proclaimed’–the death the Testator’s victim had enjoined a believer, “For where a covenant is, the death of the covent-victim to come is is necessary,” Heb. 9.-16-. Now, baptism, by immersion, symbolises the sharing of Jesus’ death and resurrection, Rom. 6.4-, “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection”. A born again believer is then, so to speak ‘clothed in Jesus Christ’ Gal. 3.27, “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”

‘In Christ’? ‘In Adam’? or, for that matter, ‘in Levi’? Answers to these questions are cornerstones of the Christian faith. The mystery is solved in Heb. 7.9-, “And we may say that in Abraham, even Levi, who has a right to take the tenth part, gave it; because he was still in his father’s body when Melchizedek came to him.” The same principle applies concerning Adam’s sinning. We were all in Adam’s body when he sinned. His sin was therefore imputed to all of his descendants.

This would seem unfair were it not that, by the same token, Jesus’ righteous deed–Him dying on the cross–his paying a debt He did not owe–is also imputed to those who are in his body, clothed in Him, “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.” Rom. 5.-19-. The difference between a believer and a born again believer is: A believer is someone who has heard the good news concerning Jesus’ resurrection but who has neglected to obey the next command, Mark 16.16, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who has not faith will be judged.” Faith cometh by hearing! “But how will they give worship to Him in whom they have no faith? And how will they have faith in Him of whom they have not had news? And how will they have news without a preacher?” Rom 10.14-.

­THE GOOD NEWS

Revelation 1.3-. “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep these things which are written therein: for the time is at hand”, these were Jesus’ words, given to John, for the seven churches of Asia. John writes, “Grace be unto you, and peace, from Him who is, and which was, and which is to come.” God, the Father­–the most high God–as been in control from time immortal and, his control is never ending.

The ‘beast’ of Revelation 17, on the other hand, “Once was, now is not, and yet will come.” Yes, a time will come that the fallen angel, Lucifer/Satan, the eighth head of the beast, when released after the thousand years of imprisonment, will again attempt to become the most High. Rev. 20.7-, “And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be let loose out of his prison, And will go out to put in error the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to get them together to the war, the number of whom is like the sands of the sea. And they went up over the face of the earth, and made a circle about the tents of the saints, and the well loved town.”

The good news, Jesus Christ, the trustworthy witness, the firstborn from among the dead and the ruler of earth’s kings loved us and freed us. Not only did He free us from captivity but also, He made us a kingdom. We are priests, serving his God and Father. However, if one addresses Him as Father, He who has no favourites but, who judges according to each one’s work, one needs to behave reverently until the time one will see Him as He is, 1Joh. 3.-2-.

This was John’s instruction, when on the isle of Patmos, “Put in writing, then, the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will be after these,” Rev. 1.19. The letters, to the seven churches are said also to represent the churches in history. If so, I would put forward that we, the churches of 2007, are experiencing the dawn of the Laodicean church.

There is a door being opened–in the process of opening–and, no man can shut it, Rev. 3.7. The Philadelphia church has the promise of being ‘kept safe’ from the hour of temptation that is to come upon the whole world, .10, “Because you have kept my word in quiet strength, I will keep you from the hour of testing which is coming on all the world, to put to the test those who are on earth. I come quickly: keep that which you have, so that no one may take your crown.”

Yes, many are to die for their faith during that ‘time of testing’, 2Th 2:1 Now, brothers, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we beseech you, not to be quickly shaken from your mind, nor be disturbed, neither by spirit nor by word nor by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ has come. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is unveiled, the son of perdition”

The time of testing is described in, Rev 17:4-, “The woman wore purple clothes, bright red clothes, gold jewelry, gems, and pearls. In her hand she was holding a gold cup filled with detestable and evil things from her sexual sins. A name was written on her forehead. The name was Mystery: Babylon the Great, the Mother of Prostitutes and Detestable Things of the Earth. I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of God’s holy people and of those who testify about Jesus. I was very surprised when I saw her.” The Christians, during that time will be kept from being temped. The recipe is, Luk 22:40, “When He arrived, He said to them, ‘Pray that you won’t be tempted.'”

 Rev. 6.9-, “And when the fifth stamp was undone, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been put to death for the word of God, and for the witness which they kept. And they gave a great cry, saying, ‘How long will it be, O Ruler, holy and true, before you take your place as judge and give punishment for our blood to those on the earth’? And there was given to every one a white robe, and they were ordered to take their rest for a little time, till the number was complete of the other servants, their brothers, who would be put to death, even as they had been.”

Moreover, the promise holds: Christians need not give in to the temptation of denouncing Jesus, Math. 24.-24-, “For there will come up false Christs, and false prophets, who will do great signs and wonders; so that if possible even the saints might be tricked. See, I have made it clear to you before it comes about.”

The Laodicean church is the final falling away before the coming of Jesus, 2Thess. 2.1-, “Now, as to the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, and our meeting with him, it is our desire my brothers, that you may not be moved in mind or troubled by a spirit, or by a word, or by a letter as from us, with the suggestion that the day of the Lord is even now come;. Give no belief to false words: because there will first be a falling away from the faith, and the revelation of the man of sin, the son of destruction.”

Two events are to happen before one can expect Jesus’ coming on the clouds of heaven, 2Thess 2.3. The first is the ‘falling away’. A time will come when all the denominations unite and form a world church–The Laodicean Church. Its zenith will be when a woman becomes the head. This development is pictured in Rev. 17:1-, “Then one of the seven angels who were carrying the seven bowls came and spoke to me. ‘Come with me,’ he said, ‘and I will show you the doom of the great Harlot who sits upon many waters. The kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.'”

2Th 2:5-, “Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things? And now you know that which is restraining, that he may be revealed in his appointed time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only it who now is holding back is removed.”

She will be the last world ruler of the sixth head, that of the Roman Empire. The five ‘empires’ that have ‘come to an end’ are, with reference to Israel, Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medes and Persians and, Greece. The seven heads are of the same ‘beast’ and as such are in union with the beast. It is the beast, Lucifer, the fallen angel, who uses the ‘seven heads’ as ‘agents’. He, himself will eventually be the eighth ruler, after the 1 000 years of peace.

Lucifer, the fallen angel, was someone of authority but, at present he has limited authority, Isa. 14.12-, “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:  I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High”.

Him being the eighth head and one of the seven will, after the thousand years of peace, be released from the bottomless pit and become a ruler for a short period. Rev. 20.8-, “And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle. The number of which is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night forever and ever.”

Gen. 3.15 comes to mind, “…by Him will your head be crushed and by you his foot will be wounded.” He, Jesus, was wounded for our transgressions. By that wound, one can be made whole, return to the Shepherd of one’s soul, 1Pet. 2.24-.

This apostate church is that which will be keeping back the seventh head of 2Thess. 2.6, “And now it is clear to you what is keeping back his (the Antichrist’s) revelation till the time comes for him (the seventh head, of the beast) to be seen”. The seventh head is that man of sin, the son of destruction, verse three, who, together with his ten kings will perform a coup d’état. Rev. 17.16, “And the ten horns which you saw, and the beast, these will be turned against the evil woman, and will make her waste and uncovered, and will take her flesh for food, and will have her burned with fire.” Jesus described this happening in the parable of the tares, Math 13.40, “As then the evil plants are got together and burned with fire, so will it be in the end of the world.”

THE APPEARING OF THE ANTICHRIST IS THE SECOND EVENT TO HAPPEN BEFORE JESUS’ RETURN

A final appeal will be made to the Laodicean church, Rev. 3.-19-, “To all those who are dear to me, I give sharp words and punishment: then with all your heart have sorrow for your evil ways. See, I am waiting at the door and giving the sign; if my voice comes to any man’s ears and he makes the door open, I will come in to him, and will take food with him and he with Me.” John hears a voice of warning concerning this ‘Babylon’, Rev. 18.4, “Come out of her my people…”

While Jesus was seated on the Mountain of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, Math 24:3, saying, “Make clear to us, when will these things be? and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the world.” These signs were repeated in the visions, shown in the following chapters.

 IN THE THRONE ROOM: Rev. 4->

God’s throne room can also be said to be his council chamber. John heard a voice, from heaven, inviting him to witness and, record an event. The event he was about to witness, and record, was the fulfilment of the feast of ‘The Wave Offering’. Lev 23.10-, “Say to the children of Israel. ‘When you have come to the land that I will give you, and have got in the grain from its fields, take some of the first fruits of the grain to the priest. And let the grain be waved before the Lord, so that you may be pleasing to him; on the day after the Sabbath let it be waved by the priest. And on the day of the waving of the grain, you are to give a male lamb of the first year, without any mark, for a burned offering to the Lord.”

There are the seven feasts given to the Jews. These feasts have far reaching consequences and, as such, they too, are of great significance for the CHURCH. The mysteries, concerning these feasts, were not yet made known. However, the voice, from heaven, said, “Come up here, and I will make clear to you the things which are to come.”

           (1) The Sabbath–Saturday is a feast peculiar to the Jews. It was given before they received the Law. It was given at the time they were promised ‘their daily bread’–the manna. Their failure to meet the requirements angered God, Ex. 16.27-, “But still on the seventh day some of the people went out to get it, and there was not any. And the Lord said to Moses, How long will you go against my orders and my laws?”

‘This, is My Body…’

Concerning ‘daily bread’ Jesus had much to say. The people asked for a sign, “So they said, ‘What sign do you give us, so that we may see and have faith in you? What do you do? Our fathers had the manna in the wasteland, as the Writings say, “He gave them bread from heaven”.’ Jesus then said to them, ‘Truly I say to you, what Moses gave you was not the bread from heaven; it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. The bread of God is the bread that comes down out of heaven and gives life to the world.’ ‘Ah, Lord,’ they said, ‘give us that bread for ever! And this was the answer of Jesus, ‘I am the bread of life’,” Joh. 6.-30-.

Jesus taught his disciples to pray a prayer they would never have prayed had they known the true meaning thereof. For, this was their reaction, earlier, when Jesus taught them concerning his suffering and death, Math 16.20-, “Then charged He his disciples that they should tell no man that He was Jesus the Christ. From that time forth began Jesus to show unto his disciples, how that He must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took Him, and began to rebuke Him, saying, ‘Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto Thee”.

Later Jesus taught them their prayer, Luke 11.2-, “And it came to pass, that, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, one of his disciples said unto Him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.’ And He said unto them, ‘When ye pray, say, “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. Give us day by day our daily bread”…’” The only way for this prayer to be answered was by the way of the cross, which Peter earlier rebuked.

To continue praying the disciple’s prayer would be a denial of the death and resurrection of our Lord. That prayer has been answered. God’s will came to pass, Heb. 10.-8-, “… offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; Then said He, Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God. He taketh away the first that He may establish the second. By the which will, we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.” Peter’s much later recommendation, concerning ‘our daily bread’, is, “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby,” 1Pet. 2.2. The true bread–the sincere milk–from heaven, was ‘given’ the day after the Sabbath, that is Sunday, a day of ‘rest’, peculiar, only to Christians; He is ‘our daily Bread’ if we eat thereof, we will never die, for ever.

           (2) Passover Feast: “In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD’s Passover,” Lev. 23.5. This feast found its fulfilment in the death of our Lord, 1Co 5.7-, “Purge out therefore the old leaven that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” It was to be a lamb without blemish, Ex. 12.5. The question that begs to be asked: Was our Lord a Lamb without blemish”?

          (3) The Wave Offering Feast:  John was to witness and record concerning this event. It was the fulfilment of Lev. 23.9-, “And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying, ’Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, “When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the first-fruits of your harvest unto the priest. And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it. And ye shall offer that day when ye wave the sheaf a he lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering unto the LORD.’”

After receiving the invitation to witness the ‘things of the future’ John writes, “And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne,” Rev. 4.2. He was about to witness a ‘replay’ of the resurrection morning–the happenings in the throne room–the authenticity or, the reality of The Wave Offering Feast; Jesus, the ‘first fruit’ from among the dead, 1Co 15.23.

Down, in Jerusalem, the priests were preparing for the feast and, Jesus was still in conversation with Mary telling her, Joh. 20.17, “Do not put your hand on me, for I have not gone up to the Father: but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I go up to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God’”. Why was she not to touch him? The command was, Lev. 23.14, “And you may take no bread or dry grain or new grain for food till the very day on which you have given the offering for your God: this is a rule for ever through all your generations wherever you are living”.

Jesus was the First of the first fruits–THE Wave Offering, “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming”, 1Co 15.20-. He, so to speak, could not be ‘touched’ until He had presented Himself before the Father. There He would be judged. Was He indeed ‘a Lamb without blemish’?

Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, 3, 10.5, suggests that the Wave Offering was celebrated the day after the Passover Sabbath. ‘On the second day of unleavened bread, which is the sixteenth (day of Nisan), of the fruits they have reaped they take a part; for they do not touch them before, accounting it just to honour God first, from whom they receive the plenty of these things.’ This interpretation of the command is doubtful. The Wave Offering Feast was celebrated, for the first time, in excess of forty years after it was commanded. The Sabbath mentioned referred to the seventh day–the day of refreshment, the day of rest. The year our Lord was crucified the 14th day of Nissan was a Wednesday.  The Passover Sabbath  was the Thursday and the Wave Offering was on the day after the next Sabbath, the Sunday morning, the 18th.

In the same way, one can argue that Christian baptism has more than one interpretation. Some see it as the beginning of salvation. For others it means the entry into the church or a seal of the covenant. Not so many see it as a symbol of the rebirth, “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore, we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection… For he that is dead is freed from sin,” Rom. 6.3-.

Suggesting that our Lord was crucified on a Friday presents a golden opportunity for Antichrist to fulfil that which Jesus predicted and, in so doing, deceive many, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up”, John 2.19. When Antichrist comes to power, he will restore temple worship. His ally, the false prophet, will be a master deceiver, Matt. 2424, “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” Compare Rev. 13.-14-, “And those who are on the earth are turned from the true way by him through the signs which he was given power to do before the beast; giving orders to those who are on the earth to make an image to the beast, who was wounded by the sword, and came to life.”

Zechariah predicts The Good Shepherd’s betrayal and warns concerning the foolish sheep keeper of Rev. 13. Concerning The Good Shepherd, Zech. 11.15-, “And I said to them, ‘If it seems good to you, give me my payment; and if not, do not give it’. So they gave me my payment by weight, thirty shekels of silver…” Concerning the foolish sheep keeper, Zech. 11.16-, “For see, I will put a sheep keeper over the land, who will have no care for that which is cut off. And will not go in search of the wanderers, or make well what is broken, and he will not give food to that which is ill, but he will take for his food the flesh of the fat, and let their feet be broken.

“A curse on the foolish keeper who goes away from the flock! The sword will be on his arm and on his right eye: his arm will become quite dry and his eye will be made completely dark.” It will not be an easy task for Antichrist to restore the temple worship. In the process, he may be fatally wounded. Were he then ‘to be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth’ before ‘coming back to life’ he will be accepted as being Christ and many Christians will worship the image put-up by the false prophet.

Finding himself in God’s throne room, John sees the ‘four and twenty elders’–the heavenly Sanhedrin or, Council, sitting round about the throne. There were the seven lamps of fire burning before the throne representing the Holy Spirit. John saw the four beasts, Rev. 4.7, “And the four beasts, having every one of them six wings, are full of eyes roundabout and inside: and without resting day and night, they say, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God, Ruler of all, who was and is and is to come”.

John saw what the information technologists, of our day, are in the process of achieving. Conspicuous, however, by his absence, was the ‘Second Person’ of the Godhead, God the Son. Jesus was late for his appointment; He was still in conversation with Mary. On the Son’s chair, John saw a book written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals, Rev. 5.1. The heavenly atmosphere was suddenly distressed by a strong angel, :2, “And I saw a strong angel saying in a loud voice, Who is able to make the book open, and to undo its stamps?”

And, no one was found; not in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth. The shadow, the foretelling of this happening, reads as follows, 1Sam 17.-8-, “And he stood (Goliath) and cried unto the armies of Israel, and said unto them, ‘Why are ye come out to set your battle in array? Are not I a Philistine, and ye servants to Saul? Choose you a man for you, and let him come down to me.’” However, David triumphed over the Philistine and put him to shame openly, “David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him; but there was no sword in the hand of David.”

John, upon hearing the strong angel’s challenge and noticing that the challenge, apparently, could not be met, wept. However, there was a ‘David’ who had prevailed, Rev. 5.5, “And one of the elders saith unto me, ‘Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.”

‘…and the stone went up, you know, and the giant…

 Lucifer, the strong angel, was sure of his victory. It was the ‘third day’ and when he left ‘the lower parts of the earth’, Jesus was still ‘safe’ in custody. Unbeknown to him God had a different script. The Wave Offering was about to be fulfilled and, God was about to put Lucifer openly to shame having raised Jesus from the dead (‘but, there was no sword in his hand’), Col. 2.15, “And having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it (by raising Him from the dead”), verse 12.

                                             THE LAMB WITHOUT BLEMISH; THE WORTHY ONE:

No sooner had the LAMB stepped forward, to take the book, than He was honoured with great enthusiasm, Rev. 5.7-, “And He came and took it out of the right hand of Him who was seated on the high seat. And when He had taken the book, the four beasts and the four and twenty rulers went down on their faces before the Lamb, having everyone an instrument of music, and gold vessels full of perfumes, which are the prayers of the saints. And their voices are sounding in a new song, saying, ‘It is right for You to take the book and to make it open. For You were put to death and have made an offering to God of your blood for men of every tribe, and language, and people, and nation, and have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they are ruling on the earth (they will rule over the earth).” Zondervan Parallel NT in Greek and English.

           (4) The Feast of the Weeks (Pentecost): The opening of the seals, fifty days before Pentecost, was in participation of that feast. Lev. 23.15-, “And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the Sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven Sabbaths shall be complete: even unto the morrow after the seventh Sabbath shall ye number fifty days. And ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD,” (“…and the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.” Heb 9.23).

For the Jews the feast of Weeks was held in remembrance of the giving of the law, fifty days after the departure from Egypt. For Christians it is the beginning of a new dispensation; the dispensation of Faith, Gal. 3.-23-, “But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.”

The law had a function; it was a shadow of things to come, Heb. 7.28, “The law makes high priests of men who are feeble; but the word of the oath, which was made after the law, gives that position to a Son, in whom all good is forever complete.” Faith, however, is established upon better promises, “For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man (Christ) has somewhat also to offer. For if He were on earth, He should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law. Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith He, that thou make all things according to the pattern showed to thee in the mount. But now hath He obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also He is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises,” 8.-3-.

The changing of the priesthood necessitated the changing of laws, Heb. 7.12-, “For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law. For He, of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar.” Heb. 9.1-, records the pattern of worshipping under the old covenant, it being temporally, “…The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing. This first, was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience. It stood only in meats and drinks imposed on them until the time of reformation.

“Christ being come a high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the (having an) eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this cause He is the mediator of the New Testament, which by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.”

However, to establish a testament (a covenant) a death needs to be announced, Heb. 9.16, “For where a testament (a covenant) is, there must also of necessity be the death of the covenant-victim.” God, the Father, is the testator for both the old and new covenant/testament. The first covenant’s ‘death’ that had to be announced was that of an animal. Verses 18-, “…whence not even the first apart from blood hath been initiated. For every command having been spoken, according to law, by Moses, to all the people, having taken the blood of the calves and goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, he both the book itself and all the people did sprinkle, saying, ‘This is the blood of the covenant that God enjoined unto you’.”

 Likewise the required death, of the one announced by John, the Baptist, was to be announced, Joh. 1.29-, “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” How better could this announcement have been illustrated Jesus presenting Himself as ‘a slain lamb’ as witnessed, by John, the beloved, in God’s throne room?

THE LAMB

“And I saw, and lo, in the midst of the throne, and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, a Lamb hath stood as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the Seven Spirits of God, which are sent to all the earth”, Rev. 5.6

In the same manner in which the people were to be sprinkled with the blood of the sacrifice so also are believers to share in the death of the Sacrifice under the new covenant. The death, so to speak, of a believer has to be announced and, in so doing, enjoining the believer to the new covenant. Baptism, by immersion, signifies that death and, resurrection, Rom. 6.4-,

‘…to be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead’

“Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.

“Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him.” In addition, may I add Gal. 3.27, “For as many as to Christ were baptized did put on Christ”.

The passing through the Red Sea could be likened to the wave offering. Them being the firstfruits of the promise given to Abraham, Gen. 12.13-, “And He saith to Abram, ‘Knowing–know that thy seed is a sojourner in a land not theirs. And they have served them, and they have afflicted them four hundred years, and the nation also whom they serve I judge, and after this they go out with great substance’.” Concerning this we read, 1Co 10.1-, “And I do not wish you to be ignorant, brethren, that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all to Moses were baptized in the cloud, and in the sea.”

Fifty days after this event, they received their covenant in great glory. The opening of the first seal could be likened to that event, 2Co 3.6-, “Who also made us sufficient to be ministrants of a new covenant, not of letter, but of spirit; for the letter doth kill, and the spirit doth make alive. And if the ministration of the death, in letters, engraved in stones, came in glory, so that the sons of Israel were not able to look steadfastly to the face of Moses, because of the glory of his face–which was being made useless, how shall the ministration of the Spirit not be more in glory?”

No sooner had the LAMB taken the book out of the hand of his Father, Rev 5.7, “And He came and took the book out of the right hand of Him that sat upon the throne,” than John was invited to witness, and record, future happenings concerning the CHURCH. What John was about to see was the affirmation of Jesus’ reply, Matt 24:4-, “And Jesus answering said to them, ‘Take heed that no one may lead you astray. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am the Christ, and they shall lead many astray, and ye shall begin to hear of wars, and reports of wars; see, be not troubled, for it behoveth all these to come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places; and all these are the beginning of sorrows’…”

Jesus now steps forward to open the ‘seven seals’; He was found ‘worthy’. A Scripture that comes to mind is, Joh 7:37-, “And in the last day of the great feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. The one believing into Me, as the Scripture said, ‘Out of His belly will flow rivers of living water’. But He said this concerning the Spirit, whom the ones believing into Him were about to receive; for a holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” 

With all due respect, to the translators, the above is a difficult portion of Scripture to translate due to the idea that ‘Holy Spirit’ must refer to the ‘Third Person of the Godhead’, the Holy Spirit. The result is, in most cases, the definite article is added. This can be observed in an interlinear Bible and, ABP+ on e-sword (www.e-Sword.com.). Examples are:

1          Joh 1:33, “And IG2504 did notG3756 knowG1492 him;G1473 butG235 the oneG3588 having sent me forthG3992 G1473 to immerseG907 inG1722 water,G5204 that oneG1565 said to me,G1473 G2036 UponG1909 whomG3739 everG302 you should beholdG1492 theG3588 spiritG4151 descendingG2597 andG2532 remainingG3306 uponG1909 him,G1473 heG3778 isG1510.2.3 the oneG3588 immersingG907 inG1722 [2spiritG4151 1holy].G39 (in a Holy Spirit)

2          Joh 20:22, “AndG2532 thisG3778 having said, G2036 he breathed onto G1720 andG2532 saysG3004 to them,G1473 ReceiveG2983 [2spiritG4151 1holy].G39 (Receive a Holy Spirit)

3          1Co 12:12-, “For just asG2509 G1063 theG3588 bodyG4983 is one, G1520 G1510.2.3 andG2532 [3membersG3196 1hasG2192 2many], G4183 but allG3956 G1161 theG3588 membersG3196 of theG3588 [2bodyG4983 G3588 1one], G1520 being many, G4183 G1510.6 are oneG1520 G1510.2.3 body G4983. SoG3779 alsoG2532 theG3588 Christ.G5547 For alsoG2532 G1063 inG1722 oneG1520 spiritG4151 weG1473 allG3956 intoG1519 oneG1520 bodyG4983 were immersed, G907 whetherG1535 Jews, G* whetherG1535 Greeks G* whetherG1535 slaves, G1401 whetherG1535 free; G1658 andG2532 allG3956 intoG1519 oneG1520 spiritG4151 given to drink.G4222 (‘spirit’ can be translated, ‘breath’)

Now, John 7:39 should read, “… [3not yetG3768 1forG1063 2there wasG1510.7.3 5spiritG4151 4holy], G39 forG3754 G3588 Jesus G* was not yetG3764 glorified.G1392 (there was not a holy spirit for Jesus was not yet glorified).

One reads of Jesus’ ‘glorification’ moments before Him opening the seven seals, Rev 5:13, “And every created thing which is in the heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and on the sea, and all things are in them, heard I saying, ‘Unto Him that sitteth on the throne, and unto the Lamb, be the blessing, and the honour, and the glory, and the dominion, for ever and ever.’”

Only after Jesus’ resurrection could He breath ‘a breath of eternal-life on His disciples; they were already baptised. A believer, at baptism, is also immersed into Jesus’ body; made to ‘inhale’ His breath. It is a matter of, ‘out of Adam and into Jesus’, sharing His righteousness. For this reason, too, am I persuaded that, that which John witnessed was a ‘playback’ of the ‘heavenly Wave Offering’.

                                                            CHAPTER 6

“And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures saying, as it were a voice of thunder, `Come and behold!’”, Rev. 6.1. In modern terms it could have been, “Come and view!” The many ‘eyes’ before and behind, Rev. 4.6, “And before the throne is a sea of glass like to crystal, and in the midst of the throne, and round the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes before and behind”, could have been many ‘screens or, monitors’. These four living creatures (four ‘devices’) were, no doubt, programmed to perform many functions on these many screens round about.

As the seals were opened, scenes appeared on the screens. The first scene was that of a white horse, :2, “And I saw, and lo, a white horse, and He who is sitting upon it is having a bow, and there was given to Him a crown, and He went forth overcoming, and that He may overcome.”

The first had a facce like a Lion

The Psalmist, too, described the same scene, Ps 45.2-, “Thou hast been beautified above the sons of men, Grace hath been poured into Thy lips, Therefore hath God blessed Thee to the age. Gird Thy sword upon Thy thigh, O mighty, Thy glory and Thy majesty! As to Thy majesty–prosper! –ride! Because of truth, and meekness–righteousness and Thy right hand showeth Thee fearful things. Thine arrows are sharp, –Peoples fall under Thee–In the heart of the enemies of the king.” The Rider on the white horse represented the Faith, (Jesus)–the gospel system pointing out its excellence, swiftness, and purity–the giving of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus said, “Take heed that no one may lead you astray, for many shall come in my name, saying, I am the Christ, and they shall lead many astray,” Mat 24.4. However, we now know that the Rider, sitting on the white horse, will triumph over the enemies. God, the Father, had, through the gift of Christ, the Holy Spirit, equipped the church to proclaim the GOOD NEWS. “He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets. And some He gave as proclaimers of good news, and some as shepherds and teachers, unto the perfecting of the saints. For a work of ministration, for a building up of the body of the Christ, till we may all come to the unity of the faith and of the recognition of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to a measure of stature of the fullness of the Christ. That we may no more be babes, tossed and borne about by every wind of the teaching, in the sleight of men, in craftiness, unto the artifice of leading astray. And, being true in love, we may increase to Him in all things. He is the head–the Christ; from whom the whole body, being fitly joined together and united, through the supply of every joint, according to the working in the measure of each single part, the increase of the body doth make for the building up of itself in love”, Eph. 5.11. We are living in perilous times. The Truth is being hijacked but it will prevail. Hallelujah!

Then, the second seal is opened, verse four, “And there went forth another horse–red, and to him who is sitting upon it, there was given to him to take the peace from the land, and that one another they may slay, and there was given to him a great sword.”

The second, the face of a Calf

Christians can take a leaf from that rider’s book. Never has there been such a dedicated individual. Jesus did say, Mat. 24.6-, “And ye shall begin to hear of wars, and reports of wars; see, be not troubled, for it behoveth all these to come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom.”

The next rider is to this day endeavouring to outshine the rider of the red horse. Verse five, “And when He opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature saying, ‘Come and behold!’ And I saw, and lo, a black horse, and he who is sitting upon it is having a balance in his hand. 

The third that of a Man

“And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, ‘A measure of wheat for a denary, and three measures of barley for a denary and the oil and the wine thou mayest not injure’.”

May God honour his Word even during the time when the fourth seal is being fulfilled, Rev. 3.10-, “Because thou didst keep the word of my endurance, I also will keep thee from the hour of the trial that is about to come upon all the world, to try those dwelling upon the earth. Lo, I come quickly, be holding fast that which thou hast, that no one may receive thy crown.”

Satan, the enemy king, has been given limited power. He is portrayed as Death, Rev. 6.7, “And when He opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, ‘Come and behold!’ 

The fourth, like a flying Eagle

“And I saw, and lo, a pale horse, and he who is sitting upon him–his name is Death, and Hades doth follow with him, and there was given to them authority to kill (over the fourth part of the land), with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the land.”

The question often asked, “Where is God in the midst of all the calamities?” God is very much in control. And, Death is only doing what is expected of him. He is a master in bringing about catastrophes; Job’s experiences are typical examples.

That God will still be in control is illustrated at the opening of the fifth seal. Rev. 6.9, “And when He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those slain because of the word of God. And because of the testimony that they held, and they were crying with a great voice, saying, ‘Till when, O Master, the Holy and the True, dost Thou not judge and take vengeance of our blood from those dwelling upon the land? And there was given to each one white robes, and it was said to them that they may rest themselves yet a little time, till may be fulfilled also their fellow-servants and their brethren, who are about to be killed–even as they.”

Death has power to kill only a fourth part. The time of the Gentiles–the dispensation of grace–will come to an end. The number of martyrs will be fulfilled. “For I do not wish you to be ignorant, brethren, of this secret–that ye may not be wise in your own conceits–that hardness in part to Israel hath happened till the fulness of the nations may come in. And so all Israel shall be saved, according as it hath been written, ‘There shall come forth out of Zion He who is delivering, and He shall turn away impiety from Jacob’,” Rom. 11.25-.

An appointed time is set for Israel, Dan 9.24, “Seventy weeks (Daniel’s ‘Seventy Weeks’are determined for thy people, and for thy holy city, to shut up the transgression, and to seal up sins, and to cover iniquity, and to bring in righteousness age-during, and to seal up vision and prophet, and to anoint the holy of holies.”

A time is also set for the fulfilment of God’s purpose for creating mankind. Eph. 1.10-, “Of having made known to us the secret of His will, according to His good pleasure, that He purposed in Himself, in regard to the dispensation of the fullness of the times, to bring into one the whole in the Christ, both the things in the heavens, and the things upon the earth. In Christ; in whom also we did obtain an inheritance, being foreordained according to the purpose of Him who the all things is working according to the counsel of His will.” The latter’s fulfilment is illustrated in Rev. 10.7, “But in the days of the voice of the seventh messenger, when he may be about to sound, and the secret of God may be finished, as He did declare to His own servants, to the prophets.”

Two more seals are still to be opened. The seven messengers are mentioned after the opening of the seventh seal. The opening of the last two seals picture the many events that are to happen before the ‘last brethren is killed’. Rev. 6.11, “And there was given to each one white robes, and it was said to them that they may rest themselves yet a little time, till may be fulfilled also their fellow-servants and their brethren, who are about to be killed–even as they.”

The sixth seal, “And I saw when he opened the sixth seal, and lo, a great earthquake came, and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood… ”. The sixth seal illustrates what Jesus said would happen after the great tribulation and, before his return, on the clouds of the heavens, to gather unto Himself his own. Matt. 24.29-, “And immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from the heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken; and then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in the heaven. And then shall all the tribes of the earth smite the breast. And they shall see the Son of Man coming upon the clouds of the heaven, with power and much glory. And He shall send his messengers with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his chosen from the four winds, from the ends of the heavens unto the ends thereof.”

                                                                   CHAPTER 7

On the various ‘screens’, messengers now appear upon the opening of the sixth seal. “And after these things I saw four messengers, standing upon the four corners of the land, holding the four winds of the land, that the wind may not blow upon the land, nor upon the sea, nor upon any tree. And I saw another messenger going up from the rising of the sun, having a seal of the living God. And he did cry with a great voice to the four messengers, to whom it was given to injure the land and the sea, saying, `Do not injure the land, or the sea, or the trees, till we may seal the servants of our God upon their foreheads,” verse one.

Ezekiel saw a similar vision when he was shown the happenings in Jerusalem during the time if the Babylonian Captivity, Eze 9.4, “And He calleth unto the man who is clothed with linen, who hath the scribe’s ink-horn at his loins. And Jehovah saith unto him, `Pass on into the midst of the city, into the midst of Jerusalem, and thou hast made a mark on the foreheads of the men who are sighing and who are groaning for all the abominations that are done in its midst.” The ‘four living creatures’, with eyes round about, were present, too, in Ezekiel’s time, 10.-12-, “And all their flesh, and their backs, and their hands, and their wings, and the wheels, are full of eyes round about; to them four are their wheels.”

John witnessed the sealing of the 144,000 Israelites. Rev. 7.5-, “And I heard the number of those sealed, (one hundred and forty four thousands were sealed out of all the tribes of the sons of Israel). Of the tribe of Judah, twelve thousand were sealed. Of the tribe of Reuben, twelve thousand were sealed. Of the tribe of Gad, twelve thousand were sealed. Of the tribe of Asher, twelve thousand were sealed. Of the tribe of Naphtali, twelve thousand were sealed. Of the tribe of Manasseh, twelve thousand were sealed. Of the tribe of Simeon, twelve thousand were sealed. Of the tribe of Levi, twelve thousand were sealed. Of the tribe of Issachar, twelve thousand were sealed. Of the tribe of Zebulun, twelve thousand were sealed. Of the tribe of Joseph, twelve thousand were sealed and of the tribe of Benjamin, twelve thousand were sealed.”

Much can be speculated concerning the omission of Dan and Ephraim and the inclusion of Manasseh. Noteworthy is Jacob’s blessing concerning Dan, Gen. 49.16-, “Dan doth judge his people, As one of the tribes of Israel; Dan is a serpent by the way, An adder by the path, Which is biting the horse’s heels, And its rider falleth backward. For Thy salvation I have waited, Jehovah!”

Consideration should also be given to Gen. 3.-15, “And enmity I put between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her Seed; He doth bruise thee–the head, and thou dost bruise Him–the heel.” Compared to Ephraim’s blessing, 48.19-, “And his father refuseth, and saith, ‘I have known, my son, I have known; he also becometh a people. And he also is great, and yet, his young brother is greater than he, and his ‘seed’ is the ‘fullness of the nations’.”

One can conclude that, Antichrist, when he appears on the scene; he will be of the tribe of Dan and is therefore omitted. Ephraim is omitted as he represents Christianity and, Christians have their promise, Rev. 3.-10-, “Because thou didst keep the word of my endurance, I also will keep thee from the hour of the trial that is about to come upon all the world, to try those dwelling upon the earth,” that is tempted to be deceived by the ‘apostate church’, Rev 17:5-.

The next scene are the saints that have come out of the great tribulation; they have been kept from falling prey of the deceits of the false prophets and the false Christs–the ‘eagles’, Matt. 24.22-,  “And if those days were not shortened, no flesh would have been saved; but because of the chosen, shall those days be shortened. Then if any one may say to you, ‘Lo, here is the Christ! or here! ye may not believe; for there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and they shall give great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, also the chosen… For wherever the carcass may be, there the eagles will be gathered together.”

The 144 000 Israelites will be protected not only during the time of the great tribulation spoken of by Jesus, 24-21, “For there shall be then great tribulation, such as was not from the beginning of the world till now, no, nor may be.” The calamities of the sixth and seventh seals, they are to fulfil a prophecy and will be treated in depth in chapter fourteen. The great tribulation saints have a special place of welcome prepared for them; before God’s throne and before the Lamb, verse 9.

                                                        CHAPTER EIGHT AND NINE

The sealing of the 144 000 having been completed and the safekeeping of the tribulation saints been demonstrated as was the case when the Israelites left Egypt (they, too, were to ’share’ in some of the plagues) so also it will be during the time of the seven messengers.

The Israelites were exposed, not only to the ‘tribulations’ imposed on them by Pharaoh, but, to most of the nine plagues. In a like manner, the great tribulation saints, will not only suffer under the hands of the rider of the scarlet beast of Revelation seventeen but, will also be exposed to portions of God’s wrath. They will, however, be saved from the seven last plagues of Rev. 15.1-, “And I saw another sign in the heaven, great and wonderful, seven messengers having the seven last plagues, because in these was completed the wrath of God.” Their salvation will be the ‘rapture’, 1Thess 5.9, “Because God did not appoint us to wrath, but to the acquiring of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Moreover, the prayers of the saints including those shown when the fifth seal was opened–were brought before the throne. And, they were answered, verse three, “And I saw the seven messengers who before God have stood, and there were given to them seven trumpets. And another messenger did come, and he stood at the altar, having a golden censer, and there was given to him much perfume, that he may give it to the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar that is before the throne. And go up did the smoke of the perfumes to the prayers of the saints out of the hand of the messenger, before God; and the messenger took the censer, and did fill it out of the fire of the altar, and did cast it to the earth, and there came voices, and thunders, and lightings, and an earthquake. And the seven messengers who are having the seven trumpets did prepare themselves that they may sound.”

Four trumpets were sounded and John described what he saw. Words may have failed him to express accurately what was shown him. He could have misinterpreted inter-continental missile warfare as ‘stars’ falling from the sky. Whenever that which he witnessed is fulfilled, it will be understood to be that of which John wrote.

Consider John attempting to portray a scene where soldiers, wearing crash helmets, flying a small one pilot helicopter fitted, at the rear, with chemical warfare equipment. Is it not possible that it could have described the above, Rev. 9.7-, “And the likenesses of the locusts are like to horses made ready to battle? And upon their heads as crowns like gold, and their faces were faces of men, and they had hair as hair of women. And their teeth were as those of lions, they had breastplates as breastplates of iron, and the noise of their wings is as the noise of chariots of many horses running to battle. And they have tails like to scorpions, and stings were in their tails; and their authority is to injure men five months”?

A similar situation arises when the sixth messenger sounds his trumpet. Rev. 9.17-, “And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and those sitting upon them, having breastplates of fire, and jacinth, and brimstone; and the heads of the horses are as heads of lions. And out of their mouths proceedeth fire, smoke, and brimstone. By these three were the third of men killed, from the fire, and from the smoke, and from the brimstone, that is proceeding out of their mouth, for their authorities are in their mouth, and in their tails, for their tails are like serpents, having heads, and with them they do injure.”

We are told the name of their leader, Rev. 9.11, “And they have over them a king–the messenger of the abyss–a name is to him in Hebrew, Abaddon, and in the Greek he hath a name, Apollyon.” In Christian terms, this would refer to Satan, the Destroyer. Fortunately, Rev. 6.8, he has limited power, “And I saw, and lo, a pale horse, and he who is sitting upon him–his name is Death. And Hades doth follow with him, and there was given to them authority to kill, (over the fourth part of the land,) with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and by the beasts of the land.”

                                                                      CHAPTER 10

The tribulation saints, who witness the events written in chapter 10 can sigh a sigh of relief. The end is in sight–victory is at hand! The mystery, concerning the purpose of creation, is about to be revealed. If the Destroyer had access to this page of God’s script, he would not have entered Judas who in turn betrayed our Lord. 1Co 2.6-, “And wisdom we speak among the perfect, and wisdom not of this age, nor of the rulers of this age–of those becoming useless. But we speak the hidden wisdom of God in a secret, that God foreordained before the ages to our glory, which no one of the rulers of this age did know. For if they had known, the Lord of the glory they would not have crucified; but, according as it hath been written, `What eye did not see, and ear did not hear, and upon the heart of man came not up, what God did prepare for those loving Him.’”

The first mighty messenger was Lucifer, Rev. 5.-2-, “And I saw a strong messenger crying with a great voice, `Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose the seals of it?’” The other Mighty Messenger, 10.1-, was He who was symbolized by the young David of old. “And He cried with a great voice, as a lion doth roar. And when He cried, speak out did the seven thunders their voices; and when the seven thunders spake their voices, I was about to write.

“And I heard a voice out of the heaven saying to me, `Seal the things that the seven thunders spake thou mayest not write these things.’” The good news, what He said, is recorded, Rev. 10.5-. “And the messenger whom I saw standing upon the sea, and upon the land, did lift up his hand to the heaven. And He did swear in Him who doth live to the ages of the ages, who did create the heaven, the things in it, the land and the things in it. And the sea and the things in it–that time shall not be yet, but in the days of the voice of the seventh messenger, when he may be about to sound, and the secret of God may be finished, as He did declare to His own servants, to the prophets.”

Christians, everywhere, are eagerly awaiting the sound of the last trumpet. For, it is written, 1Co 15.45-, “Lo, I tell you a secret; we indeed shall not all sleep, and we all shall be changed; in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, in the last trumpet. For it shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible. And we–we shall be changed. For it behoveth this corruptible to put on incorruption, and this mortal to put on immortality; and when this corruptible may have put on incorruption, and this mortal may have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the word that hath been written, `The Death was swallowed up–to victory; where, O Death, thy sting? Where, O Hades, thy victory?’ The sting of the death is the sin, and the power of the sin the law. But to God–thanks, to Him who is giving us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ; so that, my brethren beloved, become ye steadfast, unmovable, abounding in the work of the Lord at all times, knowing that your labour is not vain in the Lord.”

The sad part concerning the proclaiming of the GOOD NEWS is, “I do fully testify, then, before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who is about to judge living and dead at his manifestation and his reign, preach the word. Be earnest in season, out of season, convict, rebuke, exhort, in all long-suffering and teaching. For there shall be a season when the sound teaching they will not suffer, but according to their own desires to themselves they shall heap up teachers–itching in the hearing, and indeed, from the truth the hearing they shall turn away, and to the fables they shall be turned aside.” 2Tim 4.1-. There is so much confusion, among Christians, concerning the return of our Lord. Those who are taught that his return will be before the great tribulation will not be prepared for what is in store for them. Will they be able to endure as did Job? Job’s testing is a typical example.

Sincere Christians will find themselves in the midst of the many false, so-called friends, proclaiming another gospel. Moreover, not knowing God’s plan of salvation will be caught up in arguments similar to that of Job. The turning point, for Job, was Job 38.-2-, “Who is this–darkening counsel, by words without knowledge?”

It was of great concern to Paul the ignorance that prevailed among the people of Thessalonica so much so that he addressed the matter for a second time. 2Thess 2.1-, “And we ask you, brethren, in regard to the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of our gathering together unto Him, that ye be not quickly shaken in mind. Nor be troubled, neither through spirit, neither through word, neither through letters, as through us, as that the day of Christ hath arrived. Let not any one deceive you in any manner. Because, if the falling away may not come first and the man of sin be revealed, the son of the destruction, who is opposing and is raising himself up above all called God or worshipped, so that he in the sanctuary of God as God hath sat down, sewing himself off that he is God– the day doth not come.”

Already one can observe an increase in the falling away. There are, so to speak, many thousands of denominations in spite of Paul’s warning, 1Co 1.-10-, “…there may not be divisions among you, and ye may be perfected in the same mind…” The present attempt to bring about unity, in spite of differences, is the first step towards the fulfilment of the apostasy. However, Christians will find encouragement when they hear the words of Jesus being fulfilled, “He who did endure to the end, he shall be saved. For this good news of the reign shall be proclaimed in all the world, for a testimony to all the nations; and then shall the end arrive,” Matt 24.13-.

They will know what to do when they witness Rev. 13.16-,  “And it maketh all, the small, and the great, and the rich, and the poor, and the freemen, and the servants, that it may give to them a mark upon their right hand or upon their foreheads. And that no one may be able to buy, or to sell, except he who is having the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is the wisdom! He who is having the understanding, let him count the number of the beast, for the number of a man it is, and its number is six hundred and sixty six.”

There is no need to bother concerning the number. When the time comes, the answer will come, loud and clear. In the heavens will appear the three messengers, each proclaiming a message concerning the kingdom of the God. The closing remark, of the third messenger, will be of great encouragement. They will refuse the number 666 at all costs, Rev. 14.-12, “Here is endurance of the saints: here are those keeping the commands of God, and the faith of Jesus.”

Yes, it may mean death but, death cannot rob them of their hope of eternal salvation and, a place prepared before the throne and, before the Lamb. They will remember Jesus’ words, “And this Gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed in the whole inhabited earth for a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” There, in their own ears, these words are being fulfilled as they listen to the three messengers.

They can then expect Jesus’ return during the next Feast of Trumpets–the month Tisri, the seventh month after the Passover. “Say to the children of Israel, in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, let there be a special day of rest for you, a day of memory, marked by the blowing of horns, a meeting for worship,” Lev 13.23-.

And, they shall see Him!

It will then be a meeting of worship in the air. “The Lord himself will come down from heaven with a word of authority, with the voice of the chief angel, with the sound of a horn. And the dead in Christ will come to life first. Then we who are still living will be taken up together with them into the clouds to see the Lord in the air: and so will we be forever with the Lord. Then, give comfort to one another with these words,” 1Th. 4.16-.

When we are on the clouds of heaven Jesus’ words will be fulfilled, Mark 16.16, “He who hath believed, and hath been baptized, shall be saved…” ‘Once saved, always saved’ will only then become a reality.

John is told to take the scroll from the Messenger. Rev. 10.8- “Go; take the little scroll that is open in the hand of the messenger who hath been standing upon the sea, and upon the land. And I went away unto the messenger, saying to him, `Give me the little scroll;’ and he saith to me, `Take, and eat it up, and it shall make thy belly bitter, but in thy mouth it shall be sweet–as honey.’ And I took the little scroll out of the hand of the messenger, and did eat it up, and it was in my mouth as honey–sweet, and when I did eat it–my belly was made bitter; and he saith to me, `It behoveth thee again to prophesy about peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings—many’.” The command tasted sweet. However, the prophecies were bitter.

                                                               CHAPTER 11

Before the first advent, the birth of Christ, there was a period ‘of silence’ of about 420 years that is from the time of Malachi. He addressed the ‘falling away’ of Israel, Mal 1.10-, “If only there was one among you who would see that the doors were shut, so that you might not put a light to the fire on my altar for nothing! I have no pleasure in you, says the Lord of armies, and I will not take an offering from your hands.” The silence, Rev. 8.1, for a period of about half an hour, could have referred to the falling away, too, 2Thess 2.3-, and, the coming to power of the Antichrist, “Give no belief to false words: because there will first be a falling away from the faith, and the revelation of the man of sin, the son of destruction.”

In chapter eleven, the ‘arrival’ of the Antichrist is assumed in as much that John is told to measure the sanctuary. “And there was given to me a reed like to a rod, and the messenger stood, saying, `Rise, and measure the sanctuary of God, and the altar, and those worshipping in it. And the court that is without the sanctuary leave out, and thou mayest not measure it, because it was given to the nations, and the holy city they shall tread down forty-two months,” 11.1-.

We know, from Daniel’s prophecy, Dan 12.15, “…and from the time of the turning aside of the perpetual sacrifice, and to the giving out of the desolating abomination, are days a thousand, two hundred, and ninety.” Moreover, Jesus’ teaching concerning Antichrist that a time will come that the temple worship will again be introduced. It will however come to an end when Antichrist enters the holies proclaiming that he is God, Matt 24.15, “Whenever, therefore, ye may see the abomination of the desolation, that was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (whoever is reading let him observe).” In 2Thess 2.6, this event is mentioned, too, “Let not any one deceive you in any manner. Because–if the falling away may not come first, and the man of sin be revealed–the son of the destruction, who is opposing and is raising himself up above all called God or worshipped, so that he in the sanctuary of God as God hath sat down, showing himself off that he is God– the day doth not come.”

John is now instructed not to measure the court that is without the sanctuary. It will be trodden by the nations for three-and-half years. The first half, of Antichrist’s rule, will be a time of so-called peace; ‘sweet in the mouth’ but, ‘bitter in the belly’, 1Thess 5.3, “For when they may say, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction doth stand by them, as the travail doth her who is with child, and they shall not escape.” The second half of Antichrist’s reign will be the time of the great tribulation, Matt. 24.24, “For there shall be then great tribulation, such as was not from the beginning of the world till now, no, nor may be.”

The demise of the false church and, the arrival of Antichrist are portrayed in chapters seventeen and thirteen. It is only in the second half of Antichrist’s reign that he is ‘revealed’ when he enters the holy place showing himself off that he is God. The ‘half hour’ silence is broken when the two prophets, clothed in sackcloth, ministries begin. Will their ascension coincide with that of the rapture?

As in the time of Jeremiah, when he was to contend with the false prophets, so also will the two prophets, in sackcloth, have to compete, not only with Antichrist’s false prophets but also with the many others about which Jesus spoke. Matt 24.23-, “Then if any man says to you, See, here is the Christ, or, here; do not put faith in him; For there will come up false Christs, and false prophets, who will do great signs and wonders; so that if possible even the saints might be tricked. See, I have made it clear to you before it comes about.”

When Joel was shown what was to come upon Israel ‘at the end of days’ his response was, Joel 2.12-, “But even now, says the Lord, come back to Me with all your heart. Keep from food, with weeping and with sorrow. Let your hearts be broken, and not your clothing, and come back to the Lord your God: for He is full of grace and pity, slow to be angry and great in mercy… ” God did have pity, .18-, “Then the Lord had a care for the honour of his land and had pity on his people.” Let us, too, now, intercede for the tribulation saints, as did Joel, of old, and his fellow Judeans!

Who are these ‘two witnesses’? There are these two clues, Rev 12:17, “And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went off to make war with the rest of her seed, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus,” and  Rom 11:17, “But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and became a partaker of the root and of the fatness of the olive tree.”

On the one hand the ‘Old Testament’ will be ‘a light bearer’ an on the other, those who have the ‘testimony of Jesus”. If the ‘tribulation saints’ as a whole will be the ‘light bearers’ or if there will be only one saint and one of those Jews who ‘did not flee’ is not clear. However, when the last two martyr are killed, Rev 6:11-, “Then a long white robe was given to them, and it was said to them that they should rest yet a while, until also their fellow servants and their brothers, who were about to be killed as also they were, should complete their course,” they may have to lie on the street until, the command, the rapture, “Come up here.” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies watched them. Time will tell.

                                                                        CHAPTER 12

Revelation, chapter 12, is as important as Romans, chapter 11. Both make a distinction between natural Israel and, spiritual Israel–if one could consider the CHURCH being spiritual Israel, “And if ye are of Christ then of Abraham ye are seed, and according to promise—heirs,” Gal. 3.29. Both ‘Israelites’ are God’s beloved, Rom. 11.-28-, “As regards, indeed, the good tidings, they are enemies on your account; and as regards the choice–beloved on account of the fathers; for unrepented of are the gifts and the calling of God.” However, the problem remains, is it possible to define the CHURCH? There are, who knows, how many different denominations each with a doctrine peculiar to itself.

As an introduction to this chapter I would like to quote from 1Co 1.24-, “And to those called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men are. For see your calling, brethren, that not many are wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but the foolish things of the world did God choose, that the wise He may put to shame; and the weak things of the world did God choose that He may put to shame the strong.”

The question I pose, “Were one to produce a three minute TV trailer, showing extracts concerning the mysteries of God’s plan of salvation, where would one find a better script than what is written in this chapter”?

True, indeed, the works of artists are interpreted in many ways. Moreover, a critic, not knowing he is talking to the artist who produced the work of art, might say that the artist’s interpretation of the work of art, under discussion, is way off the mark. The Holy Spirit, however, moves prophets. 2Pet 1.-18, “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.

“Knowing this first, no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” Likewise, John had nothing in mind when he wrote the things he saw–he only wrote what he saw.

Who was the woman clothed with the sun, verse one? “And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun and the moon under her feet and upon her head a crown of twelve stars. And she, being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.”

We know, from Joseph’s dream that, that woman is Israel, Gen. 37.9-, “And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me”. Mary, the mother of Jesus, was an Israelite.

And the red dragon, .3, “And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child (Herod’s attempt, Matt. 2.16, “Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked by the wise men, was greatly enraged. And he sent and killed all the boys in Bethlehem, and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had carefully inquired of the wise men) as soon as it was born”.

A similar reading of Satan is portrayed in Rev 17.8. “The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.”

Its interpretation is, .10, “And they are seven kings: five are fallen, one is, and the other is not yet come. And when he cometh, he must continue a short space. And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth. He is of the seven, and goeth into perdition. And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.”

The Red Dragon, Satan, was a figurehead, in God’s economy, Isa. 14-12-, “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!” The seven heads are the seven empires. The five that had fallen are Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medes and Persians, and Greece. The Roman Empire is still to fall.

The woman of Rev 17 See Daniel’s Seventy Sevens’

The seventh empire, through which Satan will govern the world, will be that of Antichrist with his ten kings–the ten horns. Satan, the eighth, will again receive power and, will reign, at the end of the thousand years of peace. Rev 20.7-, “And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.” His end, “…and he shall be tormented day and night forever and ever”, verse 10.

And the woman gave birth to a ‘MAN CHILD’, verse five, “And she brought forth a man Child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God and to his throne.”

Had they accepted Jesus as their Messiah He would have ruled. He was, however, identified as their King, the day He entered Jerusalem, riding on an ass, Sag 9.9, “Be full of joy, O daughter of Zion; give a glad cry, O daughter of Jerusalem. See, your King comes to you: He is upright and has overcome; gentle and seated on an ass, on a young ass.” Instead of crowning Him King, they crucified Him. After his resurrection He was ‘caught up unto God, and to his throne’, his ascension at the right hand of God. Heb 10.12-, “But when Jesus had made one offering for sins forever, He took his place at the right hand of God; And has been waiting there from that time, till all who are against him are made a footrest for his feet’.”

Verse six, “And the woman went in flight to the waste land, where she has a place made ready by God, so that there they may give her food a thousand, two hundred and sixty days.” Jesus told his disciples concerning this flight, Matt. 24.15, “Whenever, therefore, ye may see the abomination of the desolation, that was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (whoever is reading let him observe) then those in Judea–let them flee to the mounts.”

Paul refers to this abomination, which precedes the Lord’s coming, 2Thess 2.3-, “Let not any one deceive you in any manner. Because–if the falling away may not come first, and the man of sin be revealed–the son of the destruction, who is opposing and is raising himself up above all called God or worshipped, so that he in the sanctuary of God as God hath sat down, showing himself off that he a God– the day doth not come.”

Isaiah, too, had a vision of this flight and instructed Moab to accommodate them, Isa. 16.1-, “Send ye a lamb to the ruler of the land, from Selah in the wilderness, unto the mount of the daughter of Zion. And it hath come to pass. As a wandering bird, a nest cast out, are daughters of Moab, at fords of Arnon. Bring ye in counsel, do judgment, make as night thy shadow in the midst of noon. Hide outcasts, the wanderer reveal not. Sojourn in thee do My outcasts, O Moab. Be a secret hiding-place to them, from the face of a destroyer, for ceased hath the extortioner. Finished hath been a destroyer, Consumed the treaders-down out of the land. And established in kindness is the throne, and one hath sat on it in truth, in the tent of David, Judging and seeking judgment, and hasting righteousness.”

Daniel is comforted in that his people will escape during that time of distress. Dan 12.1-, “And at that time stand up doth Michael, the great head, who is standing up for the sons of thy people. And there hath been a time of distress, such as hath not been since there hath been a nation till that time, and at that time do thy people escape, every one who is found written in the book.” This will be at the time Antichrist ‘shows himself off that he a God’ and brings an end to the continual sacrifice, verse 11,  “And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.”

The false prophet, Rev. 13.14-, “And those who are on the earth are turned from the true way by him through the signs which he was given power to do before the beast; giving orders to those who are on the earth to make an image to the beast, who was wounded by the sword, and came to life. And he had power to give breath to the image… ” will,  no doubt, do away with the daily sacrifice and erect the image, everyone is to worship, within thirty days–at which time the fleeing will begin (compare verse six, “And it opened its mouth in blasphemy toward God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, and those dwelling in Heaven. And it was given to it to war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given to it over every tribe and tongue and nation.” and, Dan 12.11, “And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the desolating abomination set up, a thousand two hundred and ninety days shall occur”).

A time will come when Antichrist will set himself within the ‘holy land’, Dan. 11.45, “And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him.”

Then Rev 12.7-9 will be fulfilled, “And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”

Verses ten, eleven and twelve: “And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore, rejoice ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and of the sea! For the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.”

Can one imagine the activities in heaven? Satan has become a ‘foot-rest’! Heb. 10.12 and 13 is being fulfilled, “But when Jesus had made one offering for sins for ever, he took his place at the right hand of God. He has been waiting there from that time, till all who are against him are made a foot-rest for his feet.”

It will be a matter of months and that which God had in mind, before creation, will be fulfilled–a house full of children. Eph 1.3-, “Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who did bless us in every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. This is as He did choose us, in Christ, before the foundation of the world, for our being holy and unblemished before Him in love. Having foreordained us to the adoption of sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, in which He did make us accepted in the beloved.”

Up, up and away

My dear, it is written, “A place has been prepared for us.”

Verses thirteen to sixteen, “And when the dragon saw that he was cast forth to the earth, he pursued the woman who did bring forth the male. And there were given to the woman two wings of the great eagle, that she may fly to the wilderness, to her place, where she is nourished a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. And the serpent did cast forth after the woman, out of his mouth, water as a river, that he may cause her to be carried away by the river, and the land did help the woman, and the land did open its mouth and did swallow up the river, which the dragon did cast forth out of his mouth.”

Satan’s first target will be the Jews. This will so to speak be the semi-final. The final will be after the thousand years of peace and, we know the outcome. Yet, thousands upon thousands will ‘put their money’ on the Dragon. They will have an eternity to count their losses. Rev 20.7-, “And when the thousand years may be finished, the Adversary shall be loosed out of his prison, And he shall go forth to lead the nations astray, that are in the four corners of the earth–Gog and Magog–to gather them together to war, of whom the number is as the sand of the sea. And they did go up over the breadth of the land, and did surround the camp of the saints, and the beloved city, and there came down fire from God out of the heaven, and devoured them. And the Devil, who is leading them astray, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where are the beast and the false prophet, and they shall be tormented day and night–to the ages of the ages.”

John did his best to explain how the Jews were transported–‘they were given two wings of the great eagle’. Time will tell what the ‘water, as a river’, was which John saw, being ‘cast after the woman’. All we know is they will take off and, land safely, in Amman, Jordan. A place has been prepared for God’s chosen people.

One can only trust and pray that somehow or other they will come to the knowledge concerning these matters predicted, by Jesus, while sitting on mount Olive, Matt. 24.15-, “Whenever, therefore, ye may see the abomination of the desolation, that was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (whoever is reading let him observe).”

Rev 12:17, “And the dragon was angry against the woman, and went away to make war with the rest of her seed, those keeping the commands of God, and having the testimony of Jesus Christ”. Christianity will be entering its last lap. The end is in sight!

Imagine the scene in the heavenly Jerusalem. Heb 12.22-, “But ye are come unto mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect.”

Then there are the three angels, Rev. 14.-9-, “And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, ‘If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand…” In one accord, they, in the heavenly Jerusalem, will be encouraging the saints. On this track, it’s not the one who comes first, it’s a matter of enduring, Matt. 24.13, “But he who did endure to the end, he shall be saved.”

Yes, many of those, on ‘the last lap’, will be put to death. They will be amongst those who will be before the throne, Rev. 7.14-, “And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. Moreover, he said to me, ‘These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them’.” Of the many, on the track, one will be the last one to be put to death. Rev. 6.9, “And there was given to every one a white robe, and they were ordered to take their rest for a little time, till the number was complete of the other servants, their brothers, who would be put to death, even as they had been.” And, then, the end will come!”

While John was witnessing the events he heard a voice of encouragement for those who will be on that track, Rev 14.13, “And I heard a voice out of the heaven saying to me, `Write: Happy are the dead who in the Lord are dying from this time!’ `Yes, (saith the Spirit), that they may rest from their labours–and their works do follow them!’”

Millions have died since John had heard that voice and, many more are still to die. The comforting words, however, are, ‘They rest from their labours–and their works do follow them.’ Far better to receive one’s reward after the resurrection than to receive it now, Matt. 6.2-, “Whenever, therefore, thou mayest do kindness, thou mayest not sound a trumpet before thee as the hypocrites do, in the synagogues, and in the streets, that they may have glory from men; verily I say to you–they have their reward! `But thou, doing kindness, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doth, that thy kindness may be in secret, and thy Father who is seeing in secret Himself shall reward thee manifestly.”

Verse seventeen, “And the dragon was angry against the woman, and went away to make war with the rest of her seed, those keeping the commands of God, and having the testimony of Jesus Christ”. Who are the ‘rest of her seed’? We know ‘she’ is Israel–natural Israel–the woman clothed with the sun, verse one. Those, of natural Israel, who understood and, fled, Matt. 24.14-, “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand). Then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains.” they will escape ‘the great tribulation’ under Antichrist’s reign.

The ‘true church’ is the ‘rest of her seed’, Gal. 3.26-, “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one/someone in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise.”

The apostate church, that which withheld Antichrist, 2Thess 2.-5, “And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time,” has been ‘taken out of the way’, Rev 17.16-, “And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.”

The rapture will put an end to the great tribulation! It will however, usher in the wrath of God, 1Thess. 5.9, “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ”. Those earmarked, for God’s wrath, are not the Jews neither the true church but, Antichrist and his followers; those who had received his ‘mark’, the ‘666’.

                                                                CHAPTER 13

This chapter, in turn, introduces Satan–‘enclosed within seven heads’–he is the beast with the seven heads, “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.”

This vision is, to my mind, a mimicking of chapter twelve and, in a sense, also, of John’s portraying of the incarnation of our Lord, Joh 1.1-18 (original), “In a beginning was the Word, and the Word was nigh unto the God, and the Word was a God… And the Word became flesh, and did tabernacle among us, and we beheld his glory, glory as of an only begotten of a father, full of grace and truth.”

The difference, however, between the two, is ‘The Man Child’, Jesus, is from above–the Antichrist ‘rises up out of the sea’. Rev 17.15 portrays ‘the sea’ as, “And he saith to me, `The waters that thou didst see, where the whore doth sit, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues’.”

Antichrist is not divine, as was Jesus before his incarnation, Php 2:6-, “Although from the beginning He had the nature of a God He did not reckon His equality with a God a treasure to be tightly grasped. Nay, He stripped Himself of His glory, and took on Him the nature of a bondservant by becoming a man like other men.” He, Antichrist, will, no doubt, be from the tribe of Dan, “And when Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and said unto Jacob, ‘Give me children, or else I die.’ And Jacob’s anger was kindled against Rachel: and he said, ‘Am I in God’s stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb?’ And she said, ‘Behold my maid Bilhah, go in unto her; and she shall bear upon my knees, that I may also have children by her.’

“And she gave him Bilhah her handmaid to wife: and Jacob went in unto her. And Bilhah conceived, and bore Jacob a son. And Rachel said, ‘God hath judged me, and hath also heard my voice, and hath given me a son: therefore called she his name Dan (a judge).’” Gen. 30.2-. Noteworthy, Judah was Jacob’s fourth son and Dan, the fifth. Jesus is (the Lion) from the tribe of Judah. “Dan is a young lion, springing out from Bashan (Syria).” Deut 33.22.

Joseph’s blessing pronounced on Dan was, Gen. 49.16-, “Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel. Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, which biteth the horse’s heels, so that his rider shall fall backward. I have waited for thy salvation, O LORD.” This is a rather remarkable ending to Dan’s blessing, “I have waited for thy salvation, O LORD.” After Antichrist’s casting into the ‘lake of fire’ salvation will come, Rev 21:1-, “nd I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. And there was no more sea.

“Then I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having been prepared like a bride having been adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of the God is with men, and He shall dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and the God Himself shall be with them. And He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying out; neither shall there be any more pain, for the former things have passed away.’

“Then He who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’ And He said to me, ‘Write, for these words are faithful and true.’ And He said to me, ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give from the spring of the water of life freely to him that is thirsty. He that overcomes I shall give to him these things, and I shall be God to him, and he shall be to Me a son.”

Dan is not of the 144 000 sealed as mentioned in Rev. 7.4-. Dan, out of him the ruling judge, the Antichrist? Only time will tell. The ‘church’, the ‘apostate church’, would have ‘fallen backwards’ by then, too.

Judah’s blessing , ‘Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise… The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.’

Antichrist’s ‘resurrection’–the healing from the fatal wound–will be similar to that of Lazarus’ resurrection–still human. Lazarus came out of the tomb bound, Joh 11.44, “And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with grave clothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, ‘Loose him, and let him go’.”

Jesus, on the other hand, was resurrected with a glorified body. He passed through his grave clothes, “Then Simon Peter came after him and went into the hole in the rock; and he saw the linen bands on the earth, And the cloth, which had been round his head, not with the linen bands but rolled up in a place by itself.”

The seven heads, of the beast (Satan being the beast–the eighth head, after the 1 000 years) are the seven world empires with relation to Israel. They are Assyria, Egypt, Babylon, Medes and Persians, Greece, Rome and, the seventh will be that of Antichrist and the ten kings, Rev. 17.12-, “And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.”

The sixth head, Rome, is the empire through which Satan is ruling the world presently. A time will come when a ‘unified’, so-called, church will rule. When a woman becomes the leader, that woman will be the woman of Revelation 17, the one preventing Antichrist’s appearance, 2Thess 2.5-, “And now it is clear to you what is keeping back his revelation till the time comes for him to be seen. For the secret of evil is even now at work: but there is one who is keeping back the evil till he/it is taken out of the way.” A woman for it is written, 1Ti 2:11-, “A woman should quietly learn from others with entire submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach, nor have authority over a man, but she must remain silent,” hence ‘The Apostate Church’.

The woman of Rev 17

The apostate church will not be considered worthy to suffer in the great tribulation. It will be removed from the scene. “And then will come the revelation of that evil one, whom the Lord Jesus will put to death with the breath of his mouth, and give to destruction by the revelation of his coming; Even the one whose coming is marked by the working of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders,” 2thess 2.8.

She represents the apostate church–the tares of Matt. 13.27-, “So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, ‘Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? From whence then hath it tares?’ Jesus’ reply, ‘Let them come up together till the getting in of the grain; and then I will say to the workers, “Take up first the evil plants, and put them together for burning: but put the grain into my storehouse.’”

Rev. 17.16- will be the fulfilment of Jesus’ reply, “And the ten horns which you saw, and the beast, these will be turned against the evil woman, and will make her waste and uncovered, and will take her flesh for food, and will have her burned with fire. Because God has put it in their hearts to do his purpose, and to be of one mind, giving their kingdom to the beast, till the words of God have effect and are complete.”

It could be that, during his clean-up operation, he, Antichrist, will be fatally wounded. His coming back to life will be his trump card in that he will, no doubt, only be resurrected after having been ‘three days and three nights in the heart of the earth’. Christianity has accepted Good Friday as the day of Jesus’ death and Easter Sunday as his resurrection. It is very different from the three days and three nights in the heart of the earth, Jesus foretold, Matt. 12.40, “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the stomach of the great fish, so will the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”

Many believers will then be persuaded that he, Antichrist, is the Christ. A quote from the ‘Nuwe Afrikaanse Bybel’, Matt. 27.62-, “Die volgende dag, die dag na die Vrydag…” will leave no doubt in the minds of a future generation that Jesus was indeed crucified on Friday instead of Wednesday, the day before the Passover Sabbath and therefore not the Christ.

What a combination! The beast looked like a leopard resembling the Grecian Empire that was split in four: Greece, Turkey, Syria and Egypt. These are the four heads of the Leopard, Dan 7.6,  “After this I saw another beast, like a leopard, which had on its back four wings like those of a bird; and the beast had four heads, and the power of a ruler was given to it”. Verse 8 predicts the coming of Antichrist, “I was watching the horns with care, and I saw another coming up among them, a little one, before which three of the first horns were pulled up by the roots: and there were eyes like a man’s eyes in this horn, and a mouth saying great things”. The beast had bear’s feet resembling the Medo-Persian Empire. It had the mouth of a lion resembling the Babylonian Empire.

Will Antichrist be from the tribe of Dan? Will he be from Greece? From Turkey? From Syria? Alternatively, from Egypt? And, who will make up the ten kingdoms? Time will tell! We do know that the tribe of Dan took possession of a Syrian city, Laish, “And they took that which Micah had made, and his priest, and came to Laish, to a people living quietly and without thought of danger, and they put them to the sword without mercy, burning down their town,” Jud 18.27.

John saw a second beast, .11, “And I saw another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and his voice was like that of a dragon.” This beast, the false prophet, reminds one of the saying, Rev 10.9, “And he said to me, ‘Put it in your mouth; and it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey.” He may have the appearance of a lamb–that of a prophet–but his message, if believed, will result in eternal damnation. 14.11, “And the smoke of their pain goes up for ever and ever; and they have no rest day and night, who give worship to the beast and his image, and have on them the mark of his name.” JESUS’ ‘MARK’ IS PEACE.

                                                              CHAPTER 14

The Lamb, ‘in conversation’, with the 144,000 on mount Zion reminds one of The Hill of Transfiguration, Luke 9.-30-, “And, behold, there talked with Him two men, which were Moses and Elijah: Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which He should accomplish at Jerusalem.” The 144,000 will have a special mission to carry out during future events. In the vision, it is a glorified Jesus speaking to them concerning their task soon to come about. Is not the Psalmist, 45.15-, describing this event–the marriage feast of the Lamb? “She shall be brought unto the King in raiment of needlework: the virgins her companions that follow her shall be brought unto Thee. With gladness and rejoicing shall they be brought: they shall enter into the King’s palace. Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth.”

‘Instead of thy fathers’? The Jews, the fathers, in the time of Jesus, rejected Jesus. In the latter days, there will be these 144,000, as it were, ‘giving away’ the ‘bride’ at the ‘marriage feast’ of the Lamb. The ‘bride’ is the CHURCH, Rev. 19.7-, “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, ‘Write, blessed are they, which are called/invited unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.’ And he saith unto me, ‘These are the true sayings of God.’”

The marriage ceremony, as such, is an event that is performed in heaven where the bride, the raptured CHURCH, is presented, Eph. 5.25-, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it. That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the saying,  ‘That He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.’” The marriage feast, however, will be on earth during the 1 000 years of peace together with the 144 000. Jesus’ parables, Matt. 22.2-, “The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king, who made a feast when his son was married…” and, Matt. 24.27-, “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins, the friends of the bride, who took their lights, and went out with the purpose of meeting the husband…” could, in a way, allude to this future feast.

Whilst Jesus was in conversation with the 144 000, on mount Zion, John heard a song being sung up in heaven, Rev 14.2-, “And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder. And I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps. And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.” The 144 000 are thought of, not as glorified beings but, as earthlings. They, however, are considered worthy to sing that new song, too.

What a feast it will be! Truly: Blessed are they that will be invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb. Better still, ‘Blessed ‘are’ the bride of the Lamb’, “Beloved, now are we the sons of the God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is. And every man that hath this hope in Him purifieth himself, even as He is pure,” 1Joh 3.2-. Now is the time to qualify for that occasion, not for being a ’guest’ but, ’the bride’.

It would appear that, after John had witnessed the ‘replay’ of the resurrection morning and the opening of the seven seals that he was shown a scene of our planet, Earth. Rev 7.1-, “And after these things I saw four messengers, standing upon the four corners of the land, holding the four winds of the land, that the wind may not blow upon the land, nor upon the sea, nor upon any tree.” He then sees a number of angels in the visions that follow. After seeing the 144 000 he sees another angel, “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,” verse 6.

What message could be so important that it needs an angel to deliver it?

One would expect that it would be a message of love. Is God not a God if love? The message comes loud and clear, “Fear God and give glory to Him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” verse 7. Why must one fear the  God? Is he not a God of love, the message that is delivered by so many preachers? The most popular references are, John 3.16 and Rom. 5.8, “For the God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life… But God has made clear his love to us, in that, when we were still sinners, Christ gave his life for us.”

Yes, the God did love and He did demonstrate the love in that He gave his Son. What is not highlighted, however, is that God’s love is conditional. The one who does not meet the conditions need to fear. God is not only a God of love; He is also a God of anger, “That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life,” John 3.15. Moreover “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness because that which may be known of God is manifest in them,” Rom. 1.18-.

Faith, too, needs to be demonstrated for it is written, James 2.17, “Even so faith without works is dead.” The very first ‘work of faith’ is baptism, Mark 16.16, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”

A second angel now delivers his message, verse eight, “And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.”

Write the seven letters to the seven churches, Rev. 1.20-, “The secret of the seven stars that thou hast seen upon my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands. The seven stars are messengers of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands. that thou hast seen are seven Churches.” If, the seven churches represent The Church, in history, then the ‘Laodicean Church’, would be the ‘Apostate Church’ and, the ‘Philadelphian Church’ would be the church hearing these messages, given by the three angels. It would have been the ‘Apostate Church’ that withheld the Antichrist from being revealed, 2Thess 2.3-, “Let no man deceive you by any means. For that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.”

The angels’ messages confirms that Antichrist and his ten kings have taken power from Babylon, the false church. He, and the kings are now indeed the seventh head of the beast. The Roman Empire had fallen. Rev 17.16-, “And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. God hath put this in their hearts, to fulfil his will, to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.”

The message to the Philadelphian church is, “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation (being tempted by the woman, (Rev 17:6-, “I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement,” it sure will be a ‘lesser tribulation’), which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown,” Rev. 3.10.

When the third angel had delivered its message then will be fulfilled that which Jesus said concerning his return. The end will be at hand, Matt. 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.” What end? No, not the end of the Jewish State but the end of the world, the end of this age, Matt. 24.3, “And as he sat upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, ‘Tell us, when these things shall be? And what shall be the sign of thy coming and of the end of the world’?”

The third angel not only had a message of warning, moreover, it indeed had a message of encouragement. Rev 14.9-, “And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, ‘If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation. And he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up forever and ever. And they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.’ Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.”

It will be extremely difficult, then. Do not give up! Be patient and obedient. It is at hand. Look upwards!

Special words of encouragement, to all believers, are the words that followed the third angel’s message. I’m sure John, too, was encouraged by them, Rev. 14.13, “And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth’. Yea, saith the Spirit, ‘That they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them’.”

Had Job, too, heard these words it would have been a great encouragement to him. He, indeed, was a man of great patience. When everything went against him, he said, Job 1.21, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”

One’s deeds speak louder than words, is what James is trying to bring home, James 2.14, “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him?” The proof of the pudding is in the eating thereof–the proof of one’s faith is one’s response.

Did Abraham really believe when God promised him an heir? “And Abram said, ‘Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir’. And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, ‘This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.’ And he brought him forth abroad, and said, ‘Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them.’ And he said unto him, ‘So shall thy seed be’. And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness,” Gen. 15.3-.

If he really believed, why did he take Hagar to wife? Gen. 16.2, “And Sarai said to Abram, ‘See, the Lord has not let me have children; go in to my servant, for I may get a family through her’. And Abram did as Sarai said.”

It was only after Abraham had proved his faith, by what he did, that he was justified, James 2.19-, “Thou believest that God in one; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works and by works was faith made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which saith, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God’. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.”

Rev 6:12-, ” And I saw when He opened the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the whole moon became as blood; and the stars of the heaven fell unto the earth, as a fig tree casteth her unripe figs, when she is shaken of a great wind.             And the heaven was rolled open as a scroll when it is rolled (seeing into another dimension); and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the princes, and the chief captains, and the rich, and the strong, and every bondman and freeman, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains; and they say to the mountains and to the rocks,                 ‘Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of their wrath is come; and who is able to stand?'”

No sooner had the third angel delivered his message than Jesus’ words came true, Mark 13.10, “And to all the nations it is necessary [for] the Gospel first to be proclaimed.” That was the sign of Jesus’ coming! John could not hide his excitement at the next vision that appeared, “And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for Thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And He that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped,” Rev. 14.14.

Babylon, the apostate church–the tares–had been burnt with fire and, only now could the harvest be reaped, just as Jesus said it would happen. Matt 13.30, “Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.”

Imagine the anticipation in the heavenly. Jesus, together with ‘the spirits of just men made perfect’ (Heb. 12.23), sitting on the clouds of heaven waiting for the angel’s ‘thrust in thy sickle, and reap! command. They were already so far away that it was necessary for the angel to cry with a loud voice. What is, however, the ‘flip-side of the coin’? One could pray that the last martyr (‘And there was given to every one a white robe. And they were ordered to take their rest for a little time, till the number was complete of the other servants, their brothers, who would be put to death, even as they had been’, Rev. 6-9), will be granted to see Jesus sitting on the cloud. Stephen, before he died was granted to see the unseen, Acts, 7.55, “But he was full of a holy Spirit and looking up to heaven, he saw the glory of God and Jesus at the right hand of God.” Upon seeing Jesus, he/she, the last martyr, would cry out too, with joy, “Lord Jesus! Take my spirit!”

The ‘rapture’, as such, will cause much confusion in the day-to-day activities. In the eyes of many, it will be a matter of, good riddance! There will, of course, be those who will come to their senses but, alas! it will be too late; the end had come! If only they had taken notice of what was Written.

The myth that planes will crash because their pilots ‘just disappeared’ or, trains crashing for the same reason, remains a falsehood. The participants in the rapture, would not have had the ‘mark of the beast’ and, as such, would not have been allowed to fly in an aeroplane, never mind being a pilot. ‘If only’! If only’, of the saddest words often uttered. If only one could appreciate how one fails God in one’s behaviour.

Could it be possible that one can glorify God in that which one suffers? Yes, indeed, not only possible but, most likely; it’s our calling, 2Tim 2.4-, “So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure. This is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer.”

Peter was forewarned too, concerning his glorifying God, John 21.19. “This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, He saith unto him, ‘Follow me’.”

Adverse circumstances should be an opportunity to glorify God in one’s response, Rom 8.37- “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, ‘For thy sake we are killed all the day-long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.’ Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Similarly, as it is written, Eph 5.17-, “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore, be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is… Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Really, must one give thanks in all things? Yes, all things and, all situations, 1Thess 5.18‑, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

Once one is ‘on the cloud’ one can truly say, “Hallelujah! I have been saved; saved from the wrath of God.” 1Thess. 5.8- reads, “But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for a helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.” Tribulation? It is God’s opportunity for settling of scores, “Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you,” 2Thess. 1.6.

The next angel to appear announces God’s making up for all the tribulations his children had to endure, Rev 14.17-, “And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, ‘Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe’. And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great wine-press of the wrath of God. And the wine-press was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the wine-press, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.”

God did demonstrate his love but, woe to them who slight God’s love, Heb 10.28-, “He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses. Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden underfoot the Son of God, hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know Him that hath said, ‘Vengeance belongeth unto Me, I will recompense,’ saith the Lord. And again, ‘The Lord shall judge his people’. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of a living God.” Antichrist has power only to kill the body. God, after killing, has power to cast one into hell. “Fear Him!” was Jesus’ warning, Luke 12.5.

                                                               CHAPTER 15

The rapture has taken place; the spirits of the just men made perfect have resurrected bodies. The tribulation saints too, have put on the incorruptible, 1Cor 15.51-, “Behold, I show you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.”

What now? Behind the scene are the seven angels eagerly awaiting to complete God’s wrath on those who had taken the mark of the Beast, Rev 15.1, “And I saw another sign in heaven, great and strange; seven angels having the seven last punishments, for in them the wrath of God is complete.”

First things first! Rev 15:.2, “And I saw a sea which seemed like glass mixed with fire; and those, who had overcome the beast and his image and the number of his name, were in their places by the sea of glass with God’s instruments of music in their hands. And they give the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, ‘Great and full of wonder are your works, O Lord God, Ruler of all. True and full of righteousness are your ways, eternal King. What man is there who will not have fear before You, O Lord, and give glory to your name? Because You only are holy; for all the nations will come and give worship before You; for your righteousness has been made clear.”

The tribulation saints together with the souls of ‘the fifth seal’ (Rev 6.9-, “And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held”), had taken up the place prepared for them. These were they, Rev 7.14, “Which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”

It would appear that the song of Moses and that of the Lamb were the voices John heard, coming from heaven, where the multitudes were singing, “And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Zion, and with Him a hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder. And I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.”

There are two songs of Moses. The first one was sung after their crossing through the Red Sea, Ex. 15.1-. The second was given them just prior to them entering their Promised Land, Deut. 32.1-. Of more importance, I would like to believe, is the song of the Lamb. The first verse is recorded in Rev. 5.9, “And their voices are sounding in a new song, saying, It is right for You to take the book and to make it open: for You were put to death and have made an offering to God of your blood for men of every tribe, and language, and people, and nation.” There they were, ‘born again’ Jews and Gentiles–glorified Christians–rejoicing in the Rock of their salvation singing The Song of the Lamb.

After the songs were sung, John saw the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven being opened, Rev. 15.5. We know what housed the tabernacle of the earthly testimony, Heb. 8.5, “Moses, when he was about to make the Tent, had special orders from God, “See,” He said, “that you make everything like the design which you saw in the mountain.” The testimony was kept in the Holy of holies, Heb 9.1-, “And inside the second veil was the place which is named the Holy of holies; having a vessel of gold in it for burning perfumes. And the ark of the agreement, which was covered with gold and which had in it a pot made of gold for the manna, and Aaron’s rod which put out buds, and the stones with the writing of the agreement (the testimony).”

We know, too, the reason for that agreement (testimony), Gal. 3.19-, “Why, then, the law? On account of the transgressions it was added, till the seed might come to which the promise hath been made, having been set in order through messengers in the hand of a mediator…” If the first testimony were an image of that in heaven, one could ask why then the pot of manna and Aaron’s rod which budded? Concerning the manna the answer is clear, Jesus said, John 6.-51, “I am the living bread which came down from heaven.” He, Jesus, did come from heaven but, He had to die and, He knew what it meant to die on a cross. He sought support and taught his disciples to pray that it may come about, Matt. 6.11- “Give us this day our daily bread.” The manna symbolised the True Bread from heaven–our daily bread.

‘They’, the non-followers of Jesus, rejoiced in the bread Moses gave them (their daily bread), John 6.30, “They said therefore unto Him, ‘What sign showest Thou then, that we may see, and believe Thee? What dost thou work? Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat’.” Hopefully his disciples did pray the prayer Jesus taught them. If only they knew how He needed their support, they would not have slept during his night of sorrow and heaviness, Matt. 6.38, “Then saith He unto them, ‘My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with Me.’ And He went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, ‘O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt’.” Of such magnitude was Jesus’ heaviness that, that event is again recorded in Heb. 5.7-, “Who in the days of his flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto Him that was able to save Him from death, and was heard in that He feared.”

Peter, with hindsight, reminds us, the true followers of Jesus, to make use of ‘our daily Bread’. 1Peter  2.1-, “Having put aside, then, all evil, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envyings, and all evil speakings, as newborn babes the word’s pure milk desire ye, that in it ye may grow, if so be ye did taste that the Lord is gracious.”

Jesus’ mission was twofold. Not only was He to restore Israel to its former glory but, and this is very important, He was to be the hope of glorification of the Gentiles, too. Isa. 49.6, “And He said, ‘It is a light thing that Thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give Thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.”

This message is a repetition of Isa. 11.-10-, “And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.” This mystery was only made known after Jesus’ ascension, “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in,” Rom. 11.-25-.

What are we to understand concerning Aaron’s rod that budded (that blossomed) and, bore fruit? Why an almond rod? The word for almond, in Hebrew is ‘shaked’, from ‘shakad’, ‘to be ready,’ ‘to hasten,’ ‘to watch for an opportunity to do a thing,’ to awake because the almond tree is the first to flower and bring forth fruit.

Aaron’s rod was a dry rod, similar to the eleven tribes who each brought a rod. Num 17.6-, “And Moses spoke unto the children of Israel, and every one of their princes gave him a rod apiece, for each prince one, according to their fathers’ houses, even twelve rods. And the rod of Aaron was among their rods that budded, blossomed and bore fruit.” For this reason, his descendants were appointed high priests.

Jesus was appointed high priest, Heb. 5.5, “So also Christ glorified not Himself to be made a high priest; but He that said unto Him, ‘Thou art my Son, today have I begotten Thee’.” Jesus is the first begotten–raised from among the dead. Not only is He the first to ‘bud’ but He too, will bear fruit, “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, He shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for He shall bear their iniquities”, Isa. 53.10.

We have considered the manna and the almond rod, now we can consider the testimony. Important to note, the testimony agreement/covenant was an agreement God made, with Israel, during the time of Moses. “For finding fault with them, He saith, ‘Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt’…” Paul called it a curse, Gal. 3.10, “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse. For it is written, ‘Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.”

Paul, being a Jew, adds verses 24 and 25, “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.”

Of importance is Heb 7.12, “For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.” The message, on the Mount of Transfiguration, was loud and clear,  “While he was still talking, a bright cloud came over them: and a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my dearly loved Son, with whom I am well pleased; give ear to Him.” Matt 17.5. And, Jesus did give a new commandment, John 13.34-, “Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek Me: and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you. A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” and, 15:12,17, “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you…These things I command you, that ye love one another.”

In his epistle, John reintegrates this command, 1John 4.20, “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from Him, that he who loveth God loves his brother also.” An interesting but controversial Scripture is Rom 3.31. “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.”

Young’s Literal Translation sheds light on the fact that there is no definite article before ‘law’ mentioned twice in this verse, “Law then do we make useless through the faith? Let it not be! Yea, we do establish law.” The ‘Analytical-Literal Translation of the New Testament of the Holy Bible’ also high lights this fact by the use of brackets, “So do we nullify [the] Law [law] through faith? Absolutely not! _But_ we establish [the] Law [law].”

Faiths, or, Christians, are not lawless; the laws of God are written in their hearts, Heb 10.16-, “This is the agreement which I will make with them after those days, says the Lord; I will put my laws in their hearts, writing them in their minds. He said, ‘And I will keep no more memory of their sins and of their evil-doings. Now where there is forgiveness of these, there is no more offering for sin. So then, my brothers, being able to go into the holy place without fear, because of the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way which He made open for us through the veil, that is to say, his flesh.”

They, the Jews, are to wait until the Feast of Atonement is fulfilled–until their sins are forgiven to have God’s laws written in their hearts, too. Heb 8.8-, “For, protesting against them, He says, ‘See, the days are coming when I will make a new agreement with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah. Not like the agreement which I made with their fathers when I took them by the hand, to be their guide out of the land of Egypt; for they did not keep the agreement with Me, and I gave them up, says the Lord. For this is the agreement which I will make with the people of Israel after those days, I will put my laws into their minds, writing them in their hearts: and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”

Alas! They will be God’s people. Christians will be God’s children, John 3.1-, “See what great love the Father has given us in naming us the children of God; and such we are. For this reason, the world does not see who we are, because it did not see who He was. My loved ones, now we are children of God, and at present, it is not clear what we are to be. We are certain that at his revelation we will be like Him; for we will see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him makes himself holy, even as He is holy.”

There is a spiritual law, Rom. 8.1-, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.” John saw that testimony, that agreement, opened, Rev 15.5, “And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened.” That, which happened then, was to be expected, “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 forever and ever.”

Nicodemus was ‘pricked in his heart’ when he saw the miracles Jesus did during the Passover and heard his teachings so much so that he paid Jesus a visit. John writes, John 2.24-, “But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, and needed not that any should testify of man: for He knew what was in man.” However, He did commit Himself to Nicodemus. He did ignore Nicodemus’ opening remarks, 3.2, “The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, ‘Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that Thou doest, except God be with him.” The sad part of the visit is: Nicodemus did not pursue the matter concerning ‘rebirth’, .9, “Nicodemus answered and said unto him, ‘How can these things be?” However, Jesus did give Nicodemus a glimpse of what was written in the testimony that was in the heavenly tabernacle. And, John added, :6, “For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

The seven angels were given the seven golden vials full of the wrath of God. Why the wrath of God, someone may ask? It was given them because it is written, John 3.19, “And this is the test by which men are judged: the Light has come into the world and men have more love for the dark than for the lLght, because their acts are evil.” Antichrist and all those who did not pay attention to the messages brought by the three angels and, received the mark of the beast, were about to receive that which they deserved. Not only did they reject the advice given by the angels but they also killed the ‘two witnesses’ who had tried, for forty-two months, to bring them to their senses.

The seven angels’ seven golden vials are the last ‘woe’ mentioned in Rev 11.14, “The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.” Before the third woe, the seventh and last trump must be sounded, 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 forever 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 that 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.”

The last trump is the signal of Jesus’ return on the clouds of heaven–the rapture, 1Co 15.51-, “Behold, I show you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” What John recorded in chapter fifteen was the fulfilment of Rev 11.14, and 10.7, “…when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished.” The seventh trump had sounded; the rapture had already occurred. Time shall be no more; time to repent.

                                                           CHAPTER 16

Had God forgotten his people, the Jews? No! By no means had He forgotten them. The question that does arise is, “Had they heeded the warning to flee Jerusalem when it became clear that Antichrist was an impostor? Matt 24.13, “And this good news of the reign shall be proclaimed in all the world, for a testimony to all the nations; and then shall the end arrive. `Whenever, therefore, ye may see the abomination of the desolation, that was spoken of through Daniel the prophet standing in the holy place, (whoever is reading let him observe). Then those in Judea–let them flee to the mounts; he on the housetop–let him not come down to take up anything out of his house; and he in the field–let him not turn back to take his garments. And woe to those with child, and to those giving suck in those days; and pray ye that your flight may not be in winter, nor on a Sabbath; for there shall be then great tribulation, such as was not from the beginning of the world till now, no, nor may be. And if those days were not shortened, no flesh would have been saved; but because of the chosen, shall those days be shortened.”

The place that will be prepared for God’s people has been predicted in Rev 12.6, “And the woman did flee to the wilderness, where she hath a place made ready from God, that there they may nourish her–days a thousand, two hundred, sixty.” After the wrath of God had been poured out on all the non-believers–those who have the mark of the beast–the time for God’s people’s salvation will be at hand. Rom 11.25, “For I do not wish you to be ignorant, brethren, of this secret–that ye may not be wise in your own conceits–that hardness in part to Israel hath happened till the fulness of the nations may come in. And so all Israel shall be saved, according as it hath been written, `There shall come forth out of Zion He who is delivering, and He shall turn away impiety from Jacob, and this to them is the covenant from Me, when I may take away their sins’.”

Should the question not be rephrased? Should God be concerned concerning those who disobey his commands? Blessed are those who fled when they saw the abomination standing in the holy place. Woe to them who deliberately ignored the warning concerning the next event. According to the Script it will be Rev 16.1-, “And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, ‘Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.” May God have mercy on the recipients of those seven vials.

Imagine the concentration of the onlookers of the visions, shown John. One would be Jesus, the Lamb that had been slain and, who had opened the seven seals of the book, revealing these future events. In chapter fourteen, when things were rough, one can see Him taking-up ‘the microphone’ and giving a word of encouragements for future martyrs. Rev 14.13, “And a voice from heaven came to my ears, saying, ‘Put in writing, There is a blessing on the dead who from now on come to their end in the Lord: yes, says the Spirit, that they may have rest from their troubles; for their works go with them.’”

Now, in chapter sixteen, one witnesses a similar circumstance. Again Jesus takes ‘the microphone’, this time it is not a word of encouragement, rather, a warning to those tribulation believers who might be considering, for some reason or another, to ‘throw in the towel’, .15, “See, I come as a thief. Happy is he who is watching and keeps his robes, so that he may not go unclothed, and his shame be seen.” To throw in the towel at that late stage would be fatal. The tribulation, a walk in the garden, compared to the seven vials–the final wraths of God–that would follow the ‘last trump’. Those saints are to hold on for his coming, on the clouds of heaven, is at hand. Look up!

So, whilst reading the above understand. Understand that before Jesus’ return on the clouds of heaven there will be first the ‘lesser tribulation’, that of the ‘Apostate Church’ then the ‘deceit’ of the ‘friendly Antichrist’ and his false prophet followed by the great tribulation. Don’t throw in the towel; ‘he that endureth to the end, that one will be saved, saved from the ‘wrath of God’. We, Christians, wrongly refer to ourselves as being ‘saved’. Some of us even believe that ‘once saved, always saved’ as if we have been guaranteed that we ‘will endure to the end’. The truth is, once we are on the cloud we are saved, 1Th 5:9, “For God has not predestined us to meet His wrath, but to obtainment of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

At least when Adam and Eve were ‘found naked’ God provided temporally clothing until such time that believers could ‘put on Christ’, Gal 3.27, “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” Worst still, Heb. 10.29, “But will not the man by whom the Son of God has been crushed under foot, and the blood of the agreement with which he was washed clean has been taken as an unholy thing, and who has had no respect for the Spirit of grace, be judged bad enough for a very much worse punishment?”

After the sixth vial is poured out the great river Euphrates’ water dries up in preparation for the battle of Armageddon, Rev 16.12. The nine unclean spirits, .13, then go on ‘a worldwide campaign’ promoting the underlying principles of Antichrist and the false prophet. People will be deceived and will follow Antichrist and the false prophet believing that the long expected battle of Armageddon will be in their favour. The battle of Armageddon, I believe, will be nuclear powered–the elements will melt, 2Pet 3.10, “…and the elements shall melt with fervent heat…” and “…Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet,” Zech 14.12.

                                                           CHAPTER 17 AND 18

The seventh angel now walks up to John and invites him to have a better understanding concerning the ‘apostasy’ that preceded the event of Antichrist. John now witnesses a visual of Paul’s writing concerning the Apostate Church. “Now as to the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, and our meeting with Him, it is our desire, my brothers, that you may not be moved in mind or troubled by a spirit, or by a word, or by a letter as from us, with the suggestion that the day of the Lord is even now come. Give no belief to false words: because there will first be a falling away from the faith (the Apostate Church–the church of the Laodiceans) and the revelation of the man of sin (Antichrist), the son of destruction. Who puts himself against all authority, lifting himself up over all which is named God or is given worship; so that he takes his seat in the Temple of God, putting himself forward as God,” 2Thess 2.1-. Jesus, too, referred to a ‘man of sin’, Matt. 24.14, “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand).”

Daniel did prophesy concerning an abomination of desolation, Dan 11.31, “And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate.” Josephus gives a vivid description concerning that event and more so in 2Maccabees 6. A similar situation will happen during Antichrist’s reign. In a subtle way, Antichrist will mislead the Jews into believing he is their promised Messiah. Dan. 9.27, “And he hath strengthened a covenant with many–one week, and in the midst of the week he causeth sacrifice and present to cease, and by the wing of abominations he is making desolate, even till the consummation, and that which is determined is poured on the desolate one.” After having their temple rebuilt he will, no doubt, during its dedication, enter the Holy of holies and, 2Thess 2.5 will be fulfilled, “Who puts himself against all authority, lifting himself up over all which is named God or is given worship; so that he takes his seat in the Temple of God, putting himself forward as God.”

Again, John ‘was in the Spirit’, .3, “And he took me away in the Spirit into a wasteland: and I saw a woman seated on a bright red beast, full of evil names, having seven heads and ten horns.” One can’t help but to seek for a connection between this woman and the woman of Zech 5.-11, “And He said unto me, ‘Build it a house in the land of Shinar.’ And it shall be established, and set there upon her own base.” Has the time, for this woman ‘of wickedness’, arrived to fulfil the parable of the tares? If indeed there were to be a link between this woman and the apostasy, one could expect a future unification of the ‘so called church’, eastern and other religions.

She, the future leader–the last ruler of the sixth head–of this unified ‘church’ (that, in spite of Paul’s instruction, “But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence,” 1Tim. 2.12), is, like the rest of the beast’s five heads that have fallen, a puppet. Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, the Medes and Persians and Greece had come and gone. The time for Rome’s demise has come and Antichrist, the seventh head, is about to perform a coup d’état. He, too, is but a marionette, in the hands of the eighth head, Satan, .11, “And the beast which was, and is not, is himself also an eighth, and he is out of the seven, and he is going away to destruction.”

Who is this ‘woman’? The angel describes her as a woman, -2-, “…with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.” Fornication, according to law, is an intercourse between two consenting adults, who are not married to each other. On a Spiritual level, fornication is a Christian having a relationship with Mammon, Matt. 6.24, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other… Ye cannot serve God and Mammon.”

There is a difference between making use of Mammon and that of being a servant of Mammon. A ‘born again’ person has been ‘united’ with Christ and would be deemed a fornicator were he/she to have a ‘relationship’ with ‘Mammon’–the things of the world, Col 3.1-, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead…”

The woman–the apostate church–is said to have committed fornication. The apostate church will enter into a compromise with ‘the kings of the earth’ for, no doubt, financial gain, .3-6, “So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication. And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.” John found it overwhelming that the CHURCH could have attained such grandeur.

Antichrist, Satan’s next puppet, waiting in the wings, has a script of his own. He must get rid of this ‘church’, ‘infiltrate’ and annihilate the Jews. In so doing he will be paving the way for Satan to fulfil his age-old dream, Isa. 14.13-, “For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven. I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” The reality is, Satan has limited power, .16-17, “And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. For God hath put in their hearts, to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.”

Chapter 12 has God’s ‘words’ in a nutshell, “And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth… And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night… Therefore, rejoice ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and of the sea! For the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time… And the dragon was wroth with the woman (Israel), and went to make war with the remnant of her seed (the ‘true’ church), which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.”

Yes, Antichrist will ‘get rid’ of the apostate church–he will burn her with fire, .16. He’ll infiltrate but, will not, annihilate the Jews–a place of safety has been prepared for them, 12.14, “And to the woman (Israel) were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.” He will, however, be allowed to ‘make war’ on the tribulation saints. They are the ones who are as it were, standing in the wings, ready for the next event, in God’s ‘script’, Matt. 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.”

The end will come after the three angels have ‘done their act’, 14.6, “… having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth…” The finale–the rapture–and, then the curtain is drawn! At last, …then will the secret of God be complete; the adoption of children unto Himself” Rev 10.7.

The seventh–last trump–had sounded, Rev 14.15, “And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him that sat on the cloud, ‘Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for Thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” Moreover, 1Cor. 15.52, “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” A day of rejoicing it will be.

The question that begs to be asked is, “Who is that woman–that great city–which reigneth over the kings of the earth,” Rev. 17.18‑? It may become clear were one to rephrase the verse, “And the woman which you saw is the great city, the one having kingship over the kings of the earth.” I believe that a time will come that all religions who believe in the God of the Bible, will unite and form, what one can call, a United World Church. It might sound politically correct. It is, however, very different from a bride ‘meet’ for the Lord Jesus Christ. Eve was a help, meet for Adam; bones of his bones, and flesh of his flesh– Homo sapiens. The bride of the Lord Jesus Christ is to become flesh of his flesh–celestial beings.

This United World Church could consist of the seven main religious groupings, Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Churches, Judaism, Protestants, Eastern Beliefs, African Traditionalists and Islam–The ‘seven hills’ referred to in Rev. 17.3, “And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains (seven kingdoms) on which the woman sitteth.” She, the woman, is that great city, the one having kingship over the kings of the earth, verse 18. Which city would be acceptable as the ‘capital’ for a United World Church? The only ‘neutral’ city would be a rebuilt Babylon. It would not be the first time that Babylon attempted a unification of peoples.

Babylon’s total destruction has not been fulfilled, Isa. 1319-, “Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees’ Excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there. But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there…” Yes, Babylon was destroyed in the time of the Medes and the Persians. It was not a total destruction.

A time will come when Jer 51.-7- and .-63-, will be re-examined, “Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul: be not cut off in her iniquity; for this is the time of the LORD’s vengeance; He will render unto her recompense. Babylon hath been a golden cup in the LORD’s hand that made all the earth drunken. The nations have drunken of her wine.” and, “And it shall be, when thou hast made an end of reading this book, that thou shalt bind a stone to it, and cast it into the midst of Euphrates: And thou shalt say, ‘Thus shall Babylon sink, and shall not rise from the evil that I will bring upon her’…” Compare Rev. 18.21, “And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, ‘Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found anymore at all.’”

The time of the great harvest, the rapture, had dawned. However, before the rapture can take place the ‘tares’ of Matt. 13.24’s parable must come to pass, verse 40, “As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world”. That will be the coup, orchestrated by Antichrist and his ten kings, Rev. 17.16-, “And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.”

Consideration should be given to Zechariah’s vision concerning Rev. 17’s ‘woman’. Zech 5. 11, “And He said unto me, ‘Build it a house in the land of Shinar’. And it shall be established, and set there upon her own base.” The woman, of Rev. 17, could be the fulfilment of that mystery, .5, “And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS.” Then only will Isa. 13.21 be fulfilled, “But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there.”

Note John’s writing, Rev. 18.2. “And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.” Heavens advice to believers who are partakers of the activities of this unified church, .5, “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, ‘Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.’”

Where are ‘heaven’s people’ to flee? Ponder Rev. 3.10, “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.”

It is not a question of fleeing it is rather a question of holding on to Faith’s set of guidelines of which the armour is the most important, Eph. 6.10-, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might… Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.” The promise is: I will keep My eye upon you.

                             CHAPTER 18: THE FALL OF ‘BABYLON’ AND THE RISE  OF ANTICHRIST

The fall of ‘Babylon’ will put an end to present-day religion. Orthodox Judaism will flourish in that the temple will be rebuilt under the protection and, no doubt, the funding of the new ruler, their ‘Messiah’. The believers, who were not of ‘Fallen Babylon’, will be facing a time of great temptation. Antichrist will launch a religious revival. It will be a time of apparent peace, “For when they shall say, ‘Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape,’” 1Thess 5.3. There will be many false prophets, “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect,” Matt. 24.24.

It could happen, during the inaugural ceremony of the new temple, that ‘Messiah’ will enter the Holies claiming himself God. 2Thess 2.3-, “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition. Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.”

The Jews are to flee to the mountains, Matt. 24.15-, “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place (whoso readeth, let him understand). Then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains:” Also Rev. 12.13-, “And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time from the face of the serpent.”

Concerning her ‘place of nourishment’, provided by Moab, Isa 16.3-, “Take counsel, execute judgment; make thy shadow as the night in the midst of the noonday; hide the outcasts; betray not him that wandereth. Let mine outcasts dwell with thee, Moab; be thou a covert to them from the face of the spoiler: for the extortioner is at an end, the spoiler ceaseth, the oppressors are consumed out of the land.” This time round Moab is warned against what their ancestors did during the Babylonian captivity, Oba 1.-14-, “Neither shouldest thou have stood in the crossway, to cut off those of his that did escape; neither shouldest thou have delivered up those of his that did remain in the day of distress.”

Daniel foretold these happenings, Dan. 9.27, “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” The key to the understanding of this prophecy is the recognition that ‘seventy weeks’ .24, could just as well have been translated as ‘seventy sevens’. The jubilee year, Lev 25.8, explains concerning these ‘sevens’, “And thou shalt number seven Sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven Sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years.” Based on this, Daniel’s prophecy could be understood as 70 such sevens. Verse 10 defines a ‘seven’ as being 50 years, “And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.”

A period of  3 500 years (70 sevens) have been determined upon Daniel’s people and upon the holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy, 9.24. The first jubilee feast was almost certainly 50 years after their first harvest in their promised land. On the other hand, did they ever keep the jubilee feast? The first reference, concerning the jubilee feast, is that of Dan. 9.24, the ‘seventy sevens’ (Daniel’s 70 weeks).

From the covenant Nehemiah and the people made, Neh 10.31, “And if the people of the land bring ware or any victuals on the Sabbath day to sell, that we would not buy it of them on the Sabbath, or on the holy day. And that we would leave the seventh year, and the exaction of every debt.” suggests they might have neglected these Sabbath laws. The 70 years, the Babylonian exile, was, “To fulfil the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her Sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept Sabbath, to fulfil 70 years.” 2Ch. 26.21. The people of the Babylonian exile stood proxy for the whole of the determined period, 3 500 years.

                                                                        CHAPTER 19

The scene John is about to witness is similar, in a way, to that of chapter four and five. There John was observing the fulfilment of the feast of the first-fruit which the priests were busying themselves in the temple. Here, in chapter nineteen, salvation (the in-gathering of the harvest–the rapture) had taken place.

On planet earth, Antichrist and his regime are being exposed to the wrath of God–the seven angels having the seven last plagues. Too long have the rights of criminals and the right to life been upheld under the pretence that God is a God of love, that He loves sinners.

Yes, God is a God of love–He demonstrated his love in sending Jesus. What Jesus said had now been fulfilled–in heaven and on earth, Mark 16.15-, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” And John heard a great gathering (among them were the souls he heard pleading for avenge when the fifth seal was opened in chapter four) in heaven saying, “Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God. For true and righteous are his judgements: for He hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand.”

One can but wonder at heaven’s ‘information technology’ (IT) and its ‘Programmer’ as one tries to visualise the rapid change of events, brought about by impulses of God’s thoughts, as displayed for John’s benefit; panoramas beyond compare. The heavenly Sanhedrin and the four ‘remote controlled monitoring systems’, too, are called upon to worship, .4, “And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia.”

John then hears a ‘pre-recorded’ message from a ‘concealed speaker’ within the throne, 19.5, “Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear Him, both small and great.” Then, after a long-long wait–from eternity–comes the announcement concerning the fulfilment of 10.7. “…the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.”

And Rev 9.6-, “And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, ‘Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth (He has prevailed-He has triumphed). Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.” Surely, she is a bride, meet, for the Lamb that was slain.

We know that under two or three witnesses a matter stands. Deut. 17.6, “At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death.” Not only are believers considered God’s children by adoption but also by marriage–the Bride of his Son. I believe the ‘marriage ceremony’ will take place in heaven. The marriage feast, however, will be on earth, Rev 19.9, “And he saith unto me, ‘Write, blessed are they which are called (invited) unto the marriage supper of the Lamb’. And he saith unto me, ‘These are the true sayings of God.”

The 144 000 were sealed and, kept safe for that event that will take place soon after the ‘wedding ceremony’ and Jesus’ return, to planet earth, on his white horse. His coming, on the white horse, heralds the battle of Azal, “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He doth judge and make war…” The 144 000 are those of which are spoken of in Psl. 45.16, “Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth.” They will be, so to speak, the ‘givers away of the bride’.

The ‘armies of heaven’, Rev 19.14, “And the armies which were in heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean,” included the ‘bride’ which are to rule with their Commander for the 1 000 years which precedes the great white throne judgement, 20.11. Were there a ‘Daniel’, among those who fled to the mountains the day Antichrist revealed himself for who he was, they would have anticipated the day of the ‘white horse’. This ‘Daniel’ would, as Daniel of old, have ‘understood by books the number of the days, whereof the word of the LORD came to Daniel the prophet, that he would accomplish 1 290 days in the misery of Jerusalem.’

Daniel, the prophet was told, Dan. 12.11, “And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.” Those who remain in their place of safety for a further 45 days will be among them who will attend the marriage feast and enter the 1 000-year reign.

The battle of Azal will be the fulfilment of what was spoken by the prophets Zechariah, “Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when He fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south…”  And Zephaniah, Zep 1:7-, “Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord GOD: for the day of the LORD is at hand: for the LORD hath prepared a sacrifice, He hath bid his guests. And it shall come to pass in the day of the LORD’S sacrifice, that I will punish the princes, and the king’s children, and all such as are clothed with strange apparel…”

One can, on the one hand, have sympathy for the Jews yet; on the other hand owe them a favour, “So I say, ‘Were their steps made hard in order that they might have a fall’? In no way: but by their fall salvation has come to the Gentiles, so that they might be moved to envy,”

This World Council of Churches’ attitude toward the ‘true church’ will be similar to the happenings is the time of Stephen the first martyr, Acts 8.1-, “And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.” Only, this time round, ‘that Saul’ will, at heart, remain a Saul. Disguised, as a Paul, he will attempt bring to a fall the ‘true church’. However, this ‘MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH’, will instead, be ‘burned with fire, Rev. 17.16, “And the ten horns which you saw, and the Beast, these will hate the harlot, and will make her desolate and naked, and will eat her flesh, and will burn her up with fire.” 

John describes this event, Jesus’ feet resting on Mt Olive Rev. 19.19-, “And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshiped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant was slain with the sword of Him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.”

                                                                  CHAPTER 20

The long awaited 1 000 years of peace had began, the battle, of Azal, had been won and, ‘the guests’ have had their fill. Above all, Rom 11:-26- is about to be fulfilled, “In this way, all Israel will be saved. As it is written, ‘The Deliverer will come from Zion; He will remove ungodliness from Jacob’ (Isa 63:1, ‘Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? ‘I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save.’ ‘Wherefore art Thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the wine vat?’ I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people, there was none with Me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come. And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold. Therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto Me; and my fury, it upheld Me. And I will tread down the people in mine anger, and make them drunk in my fury, and I will bring down their strength to the earth’).”

Pray that Moab will heed God’s command at that time, Isa. 16.1-, “Send you the lambs for the ruler of the land from Selah to the wilderness, to the mountain of the daughter of Zion. For it shall be that, as wandering birds, as a scattered nest, so shall the daughters of Moab be at the fords of the Arnon. Take counsel, execute judgment; make thy shadow as the night in the midst of the noonday; hide the outcasts; betray not him that wandereth. Let mine outcasts dwell with thee, Moab; be thou a covert to them from the face of the spoiler: for the extortioner is at an end, the spoiler ceaseth, the oppressors are consumed out of the land.” The thousand years of peace had begun!

However, what is one to understand from the words spoken to Daniel, the prophet, Dan. 12.11? “And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.”

Furthermore, Jesus said, Matt. 24.15, “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand).” And those who understood Rev 12.6, what about them? “And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.”

Antichrist was granted 42 months, Rev. 13.5, “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.” In addition the strange words, Dan. 12.12, “Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.”

What about an earlier vision Daniel had? Dan 8:-8-, “The male goat (Alexander the Great of Greece) magnified himself exceedingly. And when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and instead of it there came up the appearance of four horns toward the four winds of heaven. And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, toward the east, and toward the beauteous land. And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and some of the host and of the stars, it cast down to the ground, and trampled upon them. Yea, it magnified itself, even to the prince of the host; and from Him the continual burnt offering was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down. And the host was given over to it together with the continual burnt offering through transgression; and it cast down truth to the ground, and it wrought, and prospered.

“Then I heard a holy One speaking; and another holy One said unto that certain One who spoke: ‘How long shall be the vision concerning the continual burnt-offering, and the transgression that causes appalment, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trampled underfoot?’ And He said unto me: ‘Unto two thousand and three hundred evenings and mornings (let’s say, six years and six months); then shall the sanctuary be victorious.’

“And it came to pass that I sought to understand the vision; and, behold, there stood before me as the appearance of a man. And I heard the voice of a man between the banks of Ulai, who called, and said, ‘Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision.’ So he came near where I stood; and when he came, I was terrified, and fell upon my face; but he said unto me: ‘Understand, O son of man; for the vision belongeth to the time of the end.’”

Also, one must consider the temple described by Ezekiel, Eze 40:2-’ “In the visions of God he took me into the land of Israel, and put me down on a very high mountain, on which there was, as it seemed, a building like a town opposite me. He took me there, and I saw a man, looking like brass, with a linen cord in his hand and a measuring rod: and he was stationed in the doorway. And the man said to me,

‘The Promised Land’

‘Son of man, see with your eyes and give hearing with your ears, and take to heart everything I am going to let you see; for in order that I might let you see them, you have come here: and give an account of all you see to the children of Israel.’ And there was a wall on the outside of the house all round, and in the man’s hand there was a measuring rod six cubits long by a cubit and a hand’s measure: so he took the measure of the building from side to side, one rod; and from base to top, one rod.”

Eventually, Eze 43:1-, “And he took me to the doorway looking to the east: And there was the glory of the God of Israel coming from the way of the east: and his voice was like the sound of great waters, and the earth was shining with his glory. And the vision, which I saw, was like the vision I had seen when he came for the destruction of the town: and like the vision which I saw by the river Chebar; and I went down on my face. And the glory of the Lord came into the house by the way of the doorway looking to the east. And the spirit, lifting me up, took me into the inner square; and I saw that the house was full of the glory of the Lord. And the voice of one talking to me came to my ears from inside the house; and the Man was by my side. And He said to me, ‘Son of man, this is the place where the seat of my power is and the resting-place of my feet, where I will be among the children of Israel for ever. And no longer will the people of Israel make my holy Name unclean, they or their kings, by their loose ways and by the dead bodies of their kings’,” Who is the ‘Glory’ of the God of Israel?

Concerning the ‘ruler of the land’, Eze 44:1-, “And he took me back to the outer doorway of the holy place, looking to the east; and it was shut. And the Lord said to me, ‘This doorway is to be shut, it is not to be open, and no man is to go in by it, because the Lord, the God of Israel, has gone in by it; and it is to be shut. But the ruler will be seated there to take his food before the Lord; he will go in by the covered way to the door, and will come out by the same way.” Will this ‘ruler’ be King David?

One must have a clear understanding concerning the ’Glory’ of God and, who this ’Ruler’ will be. I would suggest this vision has reference to the millennium, Dan 9:24, “Seventy weeks are decreed upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sin, and to forgive iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal vision and prophet, and to anoint the most holy place.”

The anointing of ‘the most holy place’ will be three years into the 1 000 years of peace, 2,300 days after the continual burnt-offering had been taken away, Dan 8:-14- “And he said unto me: ‘Unto two thousand and three hundred evenings and mornings; then shall the sanctuary be victorious’.” (Jesus said it would take three days to rebuild the temple). An insert of ‘Daniel’s Seventy Sevens’:

The ‘Seventieth Jubilee’

With 1Co 11:7-15 in mind it is clear that not only an individual can be ‘a glory’ “For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man… But if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.” Now, who other than Jesus, ‘our’ Lord, would be ‘the Glory of the God of Israel’ the One to enter by way of the ‘east gate’? It is written, Mat 22:43-, “He saith unto them, ‘How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, The LORD said unto my Lord…”

Concerning Israel’s ruler, Eze 37:-23-, “Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwelling places, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God. And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one Shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, observe my statutes, and do them. And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children forever: and my servant David shall be their prince forever. Moreover, I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them forevermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And the heathen shall know that I the LORD do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them forevermore.” A time too, will come that God’s ’tabernacle’; his City, will descend.

The best way to illustrate the above mentioned ‘problems’ would be by means of charts or, ‘time-lines’ with regards to the ‘seventy-sevens’ mentioned earlier. Dan 9:-24-, “Seventy weeks are decreed upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sin, and to forgive iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal vision and prophet, and to anoint the most holy place. Know therefore and discern, that from the going forth of the word to restore and to build Jerusalem unto one anointed, a prince, shall be seven weeks; and for threescore and two weeks, it shall be built again, with broad place and moat, but in troublous times. And after the threescore and two weeks shall an anointed one be cut off, and be no more; and the people of a prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; but his end shall be with a flood; and unto the end of the war, desolations are determined. And he shall make a firm covenant with many for one week; and for half of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the offering to cease; and upon the wing of detestable things shall be that which causeth appalment; and that until the extermination wholly determined be poured out upon that which causeth appalment.”

A further key, to the understanding, is again the two Afrikaans versions of verses 25 and 26, “Nou moet jy weet en verstaan. Van die uitgang van die woord af om Jerusalem te herstel en op te bou tot op ʼn Gesalfde, ʼn Vors, is sewe sewetalle; en twee en sestig sewetalle lank sal dit herstel en opgebou word, met pleine en slote, maar in tye van benoudheid. En ná die twee en sestig sewetalle sal ʼn Gesalfde uitgeroei word, maar sonder iets vir Hom; en die volk van ʼn vors wat sal kom, sal die stad en die heiligdom ver-woes, maar sy einde sal met ʼn oorstroming wees, en tot die einde toe sal dit oorlog wees, vasbeslote verwoestings.”

The New Translation reads, “Jy moet nou goed verstaan, vandat die opdrag gegee is dat Jerusalem herstel en herbou moet word, totdat ʼn regeerder kom wat deur God uitverkies is, sal sewe tydperke wees. Twee en sestig tydperke lank sal Jerusalem opgebou bly, met strate en verdedigingslote, maar dit sal moeilike tye wees. Aan die einde van die twee en sestig tydperke sal ʼn regeerde onskuldig doodgemaak word. Die stad en die heiligdom sal verwoes word deur die volk van ’n ander regeerder wat op die toneel sal verskyn. Die einde sal kom soos ’n oorstroming; daar sal oorlog wees tot die einde toe; rampe soos besluit is.” The Afrikaans versions correctly do not use the word ‘Messiah’ moreover, neither the definite article. The English translators wrongly suggest that the ruler, to come, is Jesus. The Afrikaans versions disagree concerning the death of the ‘ruler’ of verse 26 and the capitalising of the anointed ‘ruler’. That ruler will be cut off, but to no advantage to himself/herself.

As to the ‘seventy weeks’ or, ‘sewentig sewetalle’ it has reference, I believe, to the ’sabbaths of years’ of Lev 25:-8- commonly known as the years of jubilee, “And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years. A jubilee shall that fiftieth year be unto you: ye shall not sow neither reap that which groweth of itself in it, nor gather the grapes in it of thy vine undressed.” Making an allowance for the above translations, one can now ‘taken as read’ that Gabriel told Daniel that seventy jubilees have been determined upon his people and upon the holy city.

The best way to solve the problem, as to when the ‘determined time’ begun, is by visualizing the events by means of charts and graphic representations. The following chart represents the information we have at hand, written in ‘plain English’,

‘In plain English’

One is not to lose sight of Rom 11:25-, “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.”

After Jesus’ victory at Azal He, the One with the ‘blood-stained’ garment’ will dismount his ‘white horse’ on Mt. Olive, Zec 14:4-, “And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east. And the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.”

He will not only gather those who fled to Moab’s mountains but all the Jews throughout the world, Eze 39:25-, “Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, ‘Now will I bring again the captivity of Jacob, and have mercy upon the whole house of Israel. And will be jealous for my holy name. After that, they have borne their shame, and all their trespasses whereby they have trespassed against Me, when they dwelt safely in their land, and none made them afraid. When I have brought them again from the people, and gathered them out of their enemies’ lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations; Then shall they know that I am the LORD their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen. But I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them anymore there. Neither will I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord GOD’.”

Those who have survived the 45-day war, Dan 12:-12, “Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days,” will together with those who fled to Moab and the rest gathered worldwide partake in the reclaiming and the allotting of their promised land. The temple will be rebuilt during those three years, in time for the fulfilment of Dan 9:24. “Seventy weeks are determined for thy people, and for thy holy city, to shut up the transgression and to seal up sins, and to cover iniquity, and to bring in righteousness age-during, and to seal up vision and prophet, and to anoint the holy of holies.” Only then will the ’wedding feast preparations’ commence; the guests will be invited, Rev 19:-9, “Then the angel said to me, ‘Write this: “How blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the lamb!” He also told me, ‘These are the true words of God’.” The 144 000 will, Psa 45:16, “Your sons will take the place of your fathers. You shall make them princes in all the earth/land (Palestine)” be the ones who will ‘give-away’ the ’BRIDE’.

One can only speculate who that uninvited guest could be, Mat 22:11-, “And the king having come in, to view those reclining, saw there a man not clothed with clothing of the marriage-feast, and he saith to him, ‘Comrade, how didst thou come in hither, not having clothing of the marriage-feast?’ and he was speechless. `Then said the king to the ministrants, having bound his feet and hands, take him up and cast forth to the outer darkness’.”

The next event, Rev 20:4, 6, “I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and such as did not worship the beast nor his image, and did not receive the mark on their forehead and on their hand. They lived, and reigned with Christ for the thousand years. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in this first resurrection: over them the second death hath no dominion; but they shall be, [nay] are, priests of God and of his Messiah; and they will reign with Him the thousand years.”

The 144 000 too, are princes. They will live in the Prince’s Portion and will rule their ‘own people’. Joseph’s 144 000 will, no doubt, be the rulers over the land of Dan, Gen 49:22, “Joseph is a fruitful vine, A fruitful vine by a spring; His branches run over the wall.” The sad part of this chapter, people cannot survive without corruption, Rev 19:15 – “…and He shall rule them with a rod of iron.” Satan will be loosed out of his prison; he’ll go out to deceive the nations.

John saw a great white throne; he saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened and the dead were judged. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. Those, who never had the privilege of hearing the ‘Good News’ will be judged according to their ‘works’, Rom 2:-15-, “…their sense of right and wrong giving witness; their minds are at one time judging them and at another giving them approval; in the day when God will be a judge.” They too will enter life on the ‘new earth’.

Jesus will not ‘cling this power’, 1Co 15:25-, “For He is to reign, until He shall put all his enemies under his feet. And the last enemy, death, will be abolished. And when all shall be subjected to Him, then the Son himself will be subject to Him who subjected all to Him, so that the God will be all in all.” Then only will the ‘homes’ of those, whose names are in the Lamb’s book of life, descend from heaven; the New Jerusalem, ‘adorned like a bride’.

       CHAPTER 21 and 22

“See, the tabernacle of God is among humans!”

The ‘cross’ was the place where Jesus prepared an opportunity for his followers to be where He will be:

Joh 14:1 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in the God, believe also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare an opportunity for you.
And if I go and prepare an opportunity for you, I will come again and I will receive you unto Myself; so that where I am, there you may be also. And where I am going you know, and the way you know.” They did know the way but did not understand (Isa 53)

The City of God, Rev 21:16, “And the city is laid out in a square, and the length of it [is] as great as the width. And he measured the city with the reed at twelve thousand [and] {twelve} stadia [about 1365 miles or 2200 kilometers]; the length and the width and the height of it is equal.” Not surprising that it would equal that portion God promised Abraham, Gen 15:18-. “In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, ‘Unto thy seed have I given this land. From the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates: The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.” In this city there is no death, any grief, crying, or pain; it’s God, the Father’s ‘family unit’s dwelling’.

There is a very interesting comparison to be made between ‘The City of God’ and, the city named ‘The Lord is there’, Eze 48:35, “…and the name of the city from that day shall be, The LORD is there.” This city will have a sanctuary from which ‘healing waters’ too, will flow. On both sides of this river there will also grow trees, Eze 47:7-, “Now when I had returned, behold, at the bank of the river were very many trees on the one side and on the other. Then said he unto me, These waters issue out toward the east country, and go down into the desert, and go into the sea: which being brought forth into the sea (The Dead Sea), the waters shall be healed. And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh.

“And it shall come to pass, that the fishers shall stand upon it from En-gedi even unto Eneglaim; they shall be a place to spread forth nets; their fish shall be according to their kinds, as the fish of the great sea, exceeding many. But the miry places thereof and the marshes thereof shall not be healed; they shall be given to salt. Moreover, by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed. It shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine.”

As to ‘The City of God’, for the reason that there is little punctuation in the original text, one finds a variety of translations, which may lead to having a wrong impression concerning the layout of the city. I favour the Webster translation, Rev 22:1-, “He showed me a river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On this side of the river and on that was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruits, yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.”

I picture these wide ‘Streets of Gold’ with its huge ‘Church Square’, in the centre of the city. Down the centre of these streets flows this living water with the fruit trees growing on its banks. The beauty of it all; the fruit will have no seed. Gone are the days of cooking and dishwashing. One walks down the street, collects some fruit, sits down on a bench, enjoy the view and enjoy the best meal ever, Rev 2:7, “He that hath ears, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches. To him who is victorious, will I give to eat of the tree of life which is in the paradise of my God.”

The leaves of the trees are for the healing of the nations. The trees in the neighbouring Jerusalem are exclusively for ‘the twelve tribes’. The nations will be dependant for their ‘medicine’ on the City of God. No provision is made for them. Still the same old story for them, Gen 3:18-, “Thorns and waste plants will come up, and the plants of the field will be your food. With the hard work of your hands, you will get your bread till you go back to the earth from which you were taken. For dust you are and to the dust you will go back.” And, Isa 65:17-, “For see, I am making a new heaven and a new earth: and the past things will be gone completely out of mind. But men will be glad and have joy for ever in what I am making for I am making Jerusalem a delight, and her people a joy. And I will be glad over Jerusalem, and have joy in my people: and the voice of weeping will no longer be sounding in her, or the voice of grief. No longer will there be there a child whose days are cut short, or an old man whose days have not come to their full measure: for the young man at his death will be a hundred years old, and he whose life is shorter than a hundred years will seem as one cursed.”

The nations are further burdened with, Zec 14:16-, “And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. And it shall be that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the LORD will smite the heathen that come not up to keep The Feast of Tabernacles. This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep The Feast of Tabernacles.”

Worse still, the nations’ kings and queens will be humbled, Isa 49:20- “The children of thy bereavement shall yet say in thine ears: ‘The place is too strait for me; give place to me that I may dwell.’ Then shalt thou say in thy heart, ‘Who hath begotten me these, seeing I have been bereaved of my children, and am solitary, an exile, and wandering to and fro? And who hath brought up these? Behold, I was left alone; these, where were they?’ Thus saith the Lord GOD’ ‘Behold, I will lift up My hand to the nations, and set up Mine ensign to the peoples, and they shall bring thy sons in their bosom, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders. And kings shall be thy foster-fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers; they shall bow down to thee with their face to the earth, and lick the dust of thy feet; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD, for they shall not be ashamed that wait for Me’.”

The coming of Jesus is a certainty. Two main events are still ‘outstanding’ before the archangel will ‘give the command’. 1Th 4:16-, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God. And the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we that are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so shall we ever be with the Lord” and, Rev 14:15-,”And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And He that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.”

I believe we’re experiencing the first event; the ‘falling away’. The falling away commenced at the time of Paul’s writing Timothy, 2Ti 1:15, “This you know, that all those in Asia have turned away from me, of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.” Those of the Circumcision won the battle, ‘baptism’ replaced circumcision in order that little girls, too, can become ‘children of the covenant’.

 Mat 24:-8-, “All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. 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.” Concerning when ‘this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world’ will happen, see chapters 17 and 18.

Rev 22:16-, “I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”

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