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Sermons about Tribulation
The Book of Revelation is not a difficult book to understand. It’s laid out quite nicely, succinctly, chronologically even beginning in Chapter 1 with John upon the Island of Patmos, exiled for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ (Chapter 1 Verse 9). And instead of complaining against God for his circumstance, he tells us that he is in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day…and I dig that…why? Well because it is when you are sowing to the Spirit, walking in the Spirit, taking up your cross and denying your flesh as Jesus commanded…it is then that you hear, man…your ears are unclogged, your heart is unhindered (its only then that you are unstoppable!) and John tells us in verse 10 of Chapter 1 he heard a loud voice, as of a trumpet behind him and he responds…he turns and looks and he sees One like the Son of Man…hair like wool and eyes like a flame and this Son of Man identifies Himself as the First and the Last, the One who was dead and yet behold…is alive forevermore. Only One Person in all of history fits that bill. And so John opens His Book with a glorious vision of Jesus Christ…there with him, exactly precisely where he should be so that he would receive great revelation, man. And Jesus lays out the entirety of the revelation for him right?…there in Chapter 1 verse 19. Jesus says, “write the things which you have seen.” We just covered that. He has seen Jesus, man, in His glorified state and John writes us such a wonderful description there in Chapter 1. Then Jesus says, “write the things which are,” speaking of the church…or more precisely, the church age found in Chapters 2 and 3 and John lays out for us the 7 descriptive churches of Asia Minor. Descriptive? Yes, descriptive of the progression of church history beginning with that first church plant in Ephesus around 33AD and culminating with the last church, the church of the Laodiceans which began around the mid 1900’s and continues today. The lukewarm church. The church that has one foot on the gas and one foot on the brake man…the commodity of Christianity rather than the all consuming fire of Christ…where Jesus stands at the door and knocks because He is without the church. And as we marched together through Chapters 2 and 3, we watched as God rolled out the scroll of church history from Smyrna, the early persecuted church, to Constantine’s Pergamos which led to what we know today as Roman Catholocism in the church of Thyatira. On to the reformation church in the church of Sardis and arriving at the faithful church in the church of Philidelphia. What made them so faithful man? Jesus told us in Revelation Chapter 3 verse 8…you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name…and as we completed our study through the history of the churches, as Jesus said to John, write the things which “are,” as the church age had begun at the time of John’s revelation, we saw that the first three churches, Ephasus, Smyrna and Pergamos were gonzo…off the scene and no longer in operation today…but the final four churches, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea are all on the scene when? When the Lord returns! You see they are all in operation today and how do we know that? The Lord speaks to these churches, unlike the first three churches, in terms of His coming and in terms of the Great Tribulation! Then Jesus said to John, “write the things which will take place after this.” And where do we find the “after this?” Or the “meta tauta” in the Greek? Revelation Chapter 4 verse 1…begins with “meta tauta.” And what a wonderful scene it is as John sees a door standing open in heaven and a trumpet blast and immediately he is in the spirit in heaven man (one minute alone and desolate, the next, in heaven!) a wonderful picture of the rapture of the church as John describes a heavenly scene for us in Chapters 4 and 5. And we are so comforted as the Great tribulation begins in Chapter 6 and carries through Chapter 19 because how many times is the church mentioned during this time? ZERO times, that’s right! Why? Because the church is gone…the meta tauta has begun…the after this is commenced…after what? After the church age man… So entirely simple…and we’ve been studying now the Great tribulation for weeks. Chapters 6, 7, 8 and 9 describe for us the calamity that has come upon the earth as God’s righteous wrath is poured out on a Christ rejecting world. And for the last few weeks as we’ve looked at Chapters 10 and 11 we’ve seen great wonders as we’ve approached the mid point of the Great Tribulation. The mighty angel and the little book in Chapter 10 and the two witnesses in chapter 11 culminating with the scene going back into heaven as John’s attention is fixed upon the temple of God…and the wonders that he sees continue in Chapter 12. Chapter 12 Verses 1 – 2 • Folks have divided for centuries on the subject of who or what this woman is however contextually, as we’ll see as we move through this Chapter, I believe that it is quite clear that this woman represents the nation of Israel. First, look at verse 1. John says that he sees a great sign, or your Bible might say, “a great wonder.” It’s the word semeion in the Greek and literally means a token or a symbol… • And what’s even more interesting is that we have seen this before haven’t we? Sun, moon, twelve stars…and this is why I lean towards this great sign or great wonder, this woman as John sees her…as being Israel herself. The wife of God as described by Hosea and Isaiah…it’s all the way back in Genesis 37…Joseph dreams a dream… • In Genesis 37:9, Joseph tells his family, “look, I have dreamed another dream. And this time, the sun, the moon, and the eleven stars bowed down to me.” And the Bible says that as he told it to his father and his brothers they scoffed at him saying, “what is this, shall your mother, and your father and your brothers indeed come to bow down to earth before you.” So they knew it…who the 12 stars were…the 12 tribes of Israel and the sun and the moon represented their parents, specifically Jacob himself as the sun…and Jacob of course had his name changed by God to Israel. • And so not only does this work contextually, but also it works considering the entire counsel of God’s word. The Bible is always the best commentary on the Bible and so I believe this wonder, this sign, this woman to be Israel and notice she is about to give birth and of course through Israel came the Messiah, Jesus…the one who would defeat sin and Satan…and coincidentally…well look at the next verse… Revelation Chapter 12 Verse 3 • The dragon man…a type, a sign, a wonder, a symbol of Satan himself and actually what John sees invokes all kinds of implications such as from where the antichrist will reign as John sees seven heads wearing seven crowns possibly referring to the city that throughout history has been called the City of Seven Hills or Rome…and ten horns referring to Satan’s political base, the ten nation confederation that will emerge from the revived Roman Empire which will be led by the Anti-Christ (Daniel Chapter 2)…. Revelation Chapter 12 Verse 4 • And so no doubt this dragon is most certainly Satan as we know that Satan was chief of all created beings in heaven. The angel of light, the angel of worship…the musician…and when he launched his rebellion against God, one third of the angels sided with him and were cast out of heaven…and to where were they cast? Jesus said in Luke 10, “I saw Satan fall to the earth,” and here the stars, the fallen ones, those cast from heaven are cast…to the earth… • And notice, the dragon waits on the baby, for what purpose? To devour Him as soon as He is born…understand, since time began, Satan has been hard at work strategizing and plotting and planning how to thwart God’s plan of redemption. In your life too! God’s very plan for you life…His will for your freedom and your hope…Satan wants it man…like a screaming baby in a toy store, he demands it! And we cannot be ignorant to his ways the Bible would say but we should take up the armor of God man…prepare…be ready…so that when he strikes…we are, as it were, caught up in God… • So why is he after this child of Israel? Well its simply really…if he can stop Israel then there’s no Jerusalem and if there’s no Jerusalem then how is it that Jesus could return to rule and reign over His people from where…Jerusalem!? Consequently, Satan is no match for Jesus…and so what does Satan do? Attacks His kids man…you and I and especially the Jews so as to keep the Messiah from returning to Israel…why? Because at that time its GAME OVER for him…he knows that. He has known from the beginning and now survey history and understand the horrible mystery of anti-semitism! Why such aggression and hatred for the Jew throughout history, even continuing today? Now you know right? Take out the people, take out the place…capture the promise…but he will fail, desperately… • And as the time draws nearer…we’ll see Satan doing just that…desperately…attacking the Jew, attacking the church…attempting to stifle his own demise…but he fights from a position of defeat…a position of weakness…and he is no match for the Holy Spirit man…no match for the church…take up the whole armor of God and stand, why? Because you are able… Revelation Chapter 12 Verses 5 – 6 • Jesus told the Jews in Matthew 24 that when they saw the abomination that causes desolation that they should flee…run for it man because hostility like they have never seen is about to be launched against them by the AntiChrist and we know that occurs at the mid-point of the Great Tribulation…we’ve looked at that in weeks past as we’ve studied through Revelation and notice here John says that the Jews will flee into the wilderness where they will be for 1,260 days or 3.5 years…and meanwhile it’s Wrestlemania in heaven!!! Revelation Chapter 12 Verses 7 – 10 • Such an odd truth but certainly one found in Job Chapter 1 and here in Revelation Chapter 12 that Satan somehow still has access to heaven but notice…no longer as John says here his place was no longer and he was cast to the earth, cast down as it were and by who? Michael! I love that! Jesus doesn’t have to toy with little old Satan…he’s no match for the Lord you see and so it’s like He says, “Michael, handle My light work!” And then Michael says, “for sure, Lord…” because who is that proclaiming condemnation upon Satan and great glory unto the Lord in verse 10? • Well, the loud voice says, “our God and His Christ,” it’s Michael! And his message is sure! “Now has come”, not now is created or now is originated…it never was interrupted…but rather in the Greek there the idea is “now is finished” or “now is historically fulfilled” and thus Satan is cast down…”the serpent shall bruise His heel but He shall squash the serpent’s head,” remember Genesis 3:15? From the beginning of mankind, man…here it is, condemnation and defeat finally pronounced upon Satan and now more than ever his condition is made clear…that he is out, man…found out…he is overcome, yes by Jesus but look, also…creation! Even YOU, you’re more than a conqueror according to Romans 8! Revelation Chapter 12 Verse 11 • Satan is overcome! More literally conquered in the Greek. It’s that word nikao and how is he dominated, knocked out, pinned? By the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony, AND…they did not love their lives to the death. What an interesting combo man! I even see the Triune God in that victory statement! • The obvious first…the blood of the Lamb…oh man, that is Jesus of course right! By His taking upon our sin in His perfect form, even as a man, He has become our propitiation unto God the Father…the worthy sacrifice and in Him we are made entirely clean and the power and the ultimate penalty of sin is demolished in the life of the Spirit filled born again rescued child of God…and then the word of their testimony…Jesus said in Acts Chapter 1 that you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be witnesses to Me eeeeeerywhere! • Man that boldness here, the word of their testimony so powerful even to overcome the wiles of the devil, that speaks of the Holy Spirit just pumping man…flowing! And then they did not love their lives to the death! Something so odd here…you know what word is used here by Michael for love? Its agape! Man how telling! • Not they weren’t fond of their lives…phileo…because that wouldn’t jive with Jesus man…He said that He came that we might have life and life abundant…man zoe life…surging life…life filled with the power and the presence of GOD! But that they will not agape mortal life, not the temporal glory of a fallen creation but their hearts yearn, their minds are focused, their actions are concentrated…on the life that is to come! That speaks of God the Father man! And so you have those that overcome…rescued by Jesus, filled with the Spirit and committed to the plan, purpose and glory of God on high! • And they crush Satan under their feet man, just as it says in Romans 16:20…like a roach….crunchy even…and they rejoice! Revelation Chapter 12 Verses 12 – 17 • Many here have guessed at what is meant by the eagle’s wings…could be America helping out Israel but I doubt it…You find in several other places in the Bible this imagery of an eagle but it is always God speaking of His divine provision for His people…Exodus 19:4 and Deuteronomy 32…and so I believe this is simply God providing miraculous protection for His people while the enemy is sick with wrath against them… • And notice when he does not prevail against her he turns to the next best thing…those that have given their lives to the Lord during the Great Tribulation and man that is just one of the distinctives of the enemy. If he can’t get you, then he’ll go after them…your children, your husband, your wife, your friends…but he is not to be feared, he is to be overcome…by the blood of the Lamb, the word of testimony and absolute eternal perspective. • Notice step one. Before you are rescued by Jesus…you’re lost. Open your hearts and lives to the Lord, man…How much love does it take to give All for you? All of it, man…all of it. God loves you so much that He gave…He gave all…and through His sacrifice, His suffering, His sufficient offering, you are able to be freed. Free, man…and what’s more…once free…you go hulk style all over the evil around you! You become a weapon of freedom…by learning, growing, deepening your intimacy with God…one on one…by refusing the waste of sin and coveting the indwelling of the Spirit and then the vision of heaven is opened to you. The Matrix as it were…eternity fills your days…and abundant life…abounds. Won’t you call upon Him tonight? • He’s waiting for you…
Revelation Chapter 11 Verses 11 – 12 • So the beast that ascended out of the abyss has made war against the two witnesses and has killed them. And the Satanic Christmas has continued for three and a half days; and then something crazy happens. As the world watches on…from their televisions, from their computers, from their smart phones and iDevices…these two that have been lying dead in the street of the great city Jerusalem…stood on their feet. • And John doesn’t tell us that they uttered anything but we do have a hint of something here in the Greek. John says that “the breath of life from God entered them,” (your Bible may say “the Spirit of life.”) Either translation is fine really but understand that word there in the Greek for “breath” or “Spirit” is pneuma…a word that is used 385 times in the New Testament and it is specifically used to describe the Holy Spirit in most of its contextual applications. • Mary was found with child by the Holy Spirit (pneuma). I baptize you with water, John proclaimed, but there is One coming after me who is mightier than I, whose sandal I am not worthy to strap …He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit (again pneuma). Jesus said, “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (once again pneuma). • That’s just one puzzle piece here in the Greek that we use to put together to get a picture...The other is that word “life” which is a specific word. A word that means much much more than heart beating, lungs expanding, muscles working…man that word in the Greek is a wonderful word…a word that means “surging with abundance…power…purpose…sufficiency…,” it’s that word that we’ve heard so many times before from Jesus Himself, “I have come that they might have life…and have it abundantly.” Zoe in the Greek. Life not just alive but life as God has intended, purposed…life as God desires for you and for me…not just the mundane routine of the day, but the excitement of eternal perspective and the power of the Most High just flowing! • And so what the world sees here that causes them to get so out of whack and afraid is not just these two stand to their feet and rub off the dust of the three days…no…by John’s description they are most likely perfectly healed…perfectly powerful…standing not just up…but tall and strong! Filled John writes here with the pneuma zoe ek theos…the Holy Spirit of surging life from God Himself! And the world trembles man! • And that is precisely what you are after! Deep down, why you’re here now, why you pursue God in your own time at home in your devotions and prayers…why you fellowship on Sunday mornings in church…we are all in hot pursuit of the power and purpose and love and grace and intimacy that comes only through the Holy Spirit of God filling us up! These two witnesses are a picture, an example of precisely what you’re looking for…and exactly what you can be right now! • John says they rose man! Filled with the Holy Spirit. Alive in absolute power and abundance. Standing tall and strong and completely healed…and notice, God is speaking directly to them as John says “they heard.” He didn’t say the world heard. He didn’t even say that he heard. He said “they” heard. Man they have an intimate, real, active, alive connection with God the Father and they hear Him! How wonderous it is to hear Him! • And notice God commands the impossible…they proceed to complete the impossible. God says “come up here” and they take off Iron Man style. Absolutely and unequivocally impossible yet without hesitation, filled with the Holy Spirit…all of a sudden “impossible” bows to them…all the while…their enemies watch and wonder…and are filled with fear. • I know it’s impossible to get along with your boss. I know it’s impossible to serve your neighbor. I know it’s impossible to love your spouse and serve them…its impossible for you to lead worship, or not only go street witnessing…but go alone! It’s impossible for you to teach the Bible you might say…but remember, Jesus said with men…you and me plugging along, it is impossible…but with God…not so…all things are possible. Impossible will come and bow at your feet when God is surging through your veins man…and then you hear Him, the command is seemingly impossible, and guess what, effortlessly you begin to soar! • Man that is what we are all after! To be more than just dust taxiing through life…so how? What’s the deal? What’s the cost? Again, these two witnesses are a good picture…they were beat up man…emotionally and physically, ostracized even…left out, not invited to the party and then when hard times come upon them…the world rejoiced…and the same will happen to you when you step out of this culture for the sake of the Lord. When you take a stand man and start living in the Kingdom…no I don’t want to hear your dirty joke…no I’m not interested in talking bad about the boss…no I can’t work late, I have a family to pastor…yes I’m going to church several times a week and yes I’m carrying around my Bible…do you want to pray with me? Do you know the Lord? Can I tell you about Him and what He’s done? • What’s going to happen? The same thing that happened to these two…but don’t forget, don’t lose heart…three and half days later, they rose man…healed…surging…and when you begin to live counter-culturally and as a light for the Lord, man a spring in your step will come…joy in your heart will arrive…you’ll find yourself revived man and the approval and presence of the Lord will be upon you! • If you find yourself stagnant in your walk today…witness! Find opportunity to talk about your faith and watch your countenance soar! Watch the life, zoe life, return man! Jesus said that He came to save us and to seal us and to give us abundant life and then He told us how…go and make disciples! So get at it and you will stand to your feet again! Surging with strength and the Holy Spirit and alive again man…hearing from the Lord and busting through impossibilities! Just like these two witnesses… Revelation Chapter 11 Verse 13 • An odd statement by John for sure when he says here that the rest of the world was afraid and so they gave glory to God. Understand, this is not worship…this is, in a better translation, acknowledgment of power…in the Greek the word for glory is doxa, same word for the glory ascribed to Solomon by Jesus…the same word as the glory of the world as shown to Jesus by Satan upon the exceedingly high mountain. And so understand they are not worshipping here, they are simply acknowledging here, after seeing the two witnesses and hearing their testimony, they believe you see…they just don’t repent. They don’t have faith…they have not placed their hope and trust in God…they just acknowledge Him as fact at this point…the condition of many who today consider themselves Christians… • And John, seeing their continued depraved condition, knows that there is yet more calamity coming…. Revelation Chapter 11 Verses 14 – 15 • The mid-tribulation point of view would say that this is the point at which the church is raptured however I cannot agree with that perspective for several reasons that we have already covered as we have studied the Book of Revelation in depth, line upon line, throughout the past months. However here is even one more reason why I ascribe to the Pre-tribulation rapture…notice here is the last of the seven trumpets…and notice this one is not sounded by God. • Turn over to 1 Thessalonians Chapter 4. Look at verses 16 – 18. Please note that Paul tells us here who’s got the trumpet…God. But over here back in Revelation Chapter 11, the trumpet is not being sounded by God, it is being sounded by an angel…and Paul would say comfort eachother. Comfort? Yes, just as Jesus said, (Luke 21:36), “pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.” Escape these things you see, not escape some of them…where is the comfort in that? That’s concerning! Horsemen and desperation and wars and half of mankind destroyed…comforting…psyche! • And so I believe quite firmly that is not the point of the rapture of the church as some would suggest but an angel and notice the loud voices in heaven sing out, “the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ,” which is an interesting look at the persons of God however this is a quite poor rendition of the Greek, in my opinion. • What John actually heard here was, “the kingdoms of this world are becoming…” the verb in the Greek is in the aorist active indicative tense which means it is an event that is so certain, it is spoken of as already occurring, however not yet come to pass…We see this in other places of the Bible such as Isaiah 53…”He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised by our iniquities…” Isaiah writes in seemingly the past tense there doesn’t he? Why? Because it is an event so certain, it was as if it had already happened. • You know what else is like that? God’s provision. God’s presence. God’s deliverance. His strength and His wisdom. Whatever situation we are in tonight, rest assured that His faithfulness is so sure, you can right now, even in the midst of the situational storm and circumstantial struggle, right now you take God’s faithfulness right to the bank! Count on it! And that is the song sung here by the angels…that God’s kingdom is coming man…we all have prayed it haven’t we? And simply in the fact that God’s kingdom is proclaimed…there is great great worship! • Tribulation still going on…hardships all around…but God’s kingdom is proclaimed man…and wondrous worship erupts…same goes for us…look at what John sees… Revelation Chapter 11 Verses 16 – 18 • Those who destroy or more literally, “those who corrupt,” check out what happens to them…the time is come for them to be destroyed…however those who serve the Lord and are filled with wisdom, they are rewarded! Take heart…those of you who reject corruption and decay and stand in a place tonight of pain for the sake of righteousness, your reward is coming…and it will be worth it… Revelation Chapter 11 Verse 19 • Hey check it out…we found the Ark! Ah I know that the Ark on earth was simply a copy of what was in heaven but man don’t people just get so enthralled and preoccupied with things like this? Where’s the Ark, is the shroud real, could these be the actual nails that held Jesus on the cross…what a waste of time…get the real deal man…set your hearts and minds on things above…that’s where its all hidden by the way…everything you’re looking for that we already talked about…its all hidden man in the very presence of God… • Your wonderful blessed marriage. Your powerful witness to those you work with. Your purposeful ministry to your family and friends. Your own sufficiency…its all waiting for you in heaven with the Father, and you can tap in right now through the blood of Jesus man…direct access right to the Holy of Holies in heaven, because its open to you if you’re heart is open to Jesus.
Revelation Chapter 11 Verse 3 • When you look at this statement literally in the Greek, what John wrote was not exactly, “I will give power to my two witnesses,” but rather, “I will give my two witnesses.” Notice how in your Bibles the word “power” is in italics? That indicates that the Bible translators have added that word for the sake of contextual understanding…and truly in context we do need to understand that these two witnesses are very powerful. We’ll read about that in just a moment… • But it strikes me that even in the midst of an utterly lost world, filled with haters and backbiters and rejecters of God…here He is…giving. You see this throughout the Bible. One of God the Father’s primary character traits. “For God so loved the world, that He gave…” We serve a longsuffering and loving Father, man. And it just strikes me still right here that even though the world is full of men and women that refuse to repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts (all of those things we read back in Chapter 9 verse 21), God’s grace shows up! • So unlike man. I mean think about it. Someone out there, out there in the world, you don’t know them, even if you did you wouldn’t associate with them because of their lifestyle, what they’re in to…and they steal your son, your only son, your only child…and they torture him, mock him, use him and abuse him, and then…they murder him. And as they stand in your presence, they remind you arrogantly that they are not sorry…and so you give to them? Wouldn’t happen would it? God is so much higher than man. He is so much stronger than man. His love is unsearchable and His ways are past finding out… • And here He is, in the midst of the Great Tribulation, once again…giving. And John writes here that He has sent two witnesses into the world and their mission is to prophecy three and a half years, clothed in sackcloth. The garment of affliction. Why? Because the world will hate them. While the temple is being built, while the false peace of the ruling elite is upon the earth, here are these two proclaiming that the “emperor has no clothes!” John says they will prophecy which literally means in the Greek that they will speak the truth! • This temple…is the temple of Satan! This ruler is the Anti-Christ, this world is about to fall…you have all been deceived! And the world will hate them man…because in proclaiming the truth there will also come the proclamation of God’s condemnation upon their actions and their lifestyles. And folks, we see it today, people will not tolerate that, will they? • But who are these two? We can only speculate. The Bible doesn’t name them. But the prophecy is given in Malachi Chapter 4 verses 5 and 6 of God sending Elijah before the great and dreadful day of the Lord and his mission will be to turn hearts…and so many have concluded that one of the prophets could be Elijah. In just a moment we will read how these prophets have the power to spit fire, dragon style in order to consume their enemies, and that does remind us of Elijah who had the power to call fire down from heaven to consume his enemies. • And you may recall that Elijah was raptured in the Old Testament. In other words he was just taken by God, he didn’t see death, why? Maybe because God had further work for him… just as Malachi prophesied. And so one of these witnesses could be Elijah himself returned. But what about the other one? We’re really speculating now…I can only offer you my thoughts. I tend to lean towards this being Moses. Why? Well first of all, on the Mount of Transfiguration who was there with Jesus? Elijah and Moses…right. And in the Book of Jude we are given clues about Satan wanting the body of Moses for some reason. Why? Maybe he knew…and wanted to stop Moses’ return. Just a few thoughts. We really don’t know who these two are because John doesn’t name them…it’s not like he’s seen photographs of Moses or Elijah so maybe he just doesn’t recognize them… • But notice, it is also interesting that God sends two. That’s kinda His way if you survey the Bible. He sent two spies into the promised land to scope it out, He sent two angels into the empty tomb of Jesus, Jesus Himself sent out His disciples two-by-two in Mark 6:7…why? Well, 2 Corinthians 13:1 says, “let everything be established upon the witness of two or more.” And so maybe God desired for them to be heard…without slander from the Jews…because according to their law…having two witnesses rather than just one would demand audience. • Maybe because Jesus said, “where two or more are gathered, behold I am in their midst.” Interesting thought because as we continue to read we will see that these two witnesses are also a fulfillment of prophecy concerning the presence of the Holy Spirit. Look at verse 4. Revelation Chapter 11 Verse 4 • Notice, the quotations have ended. The angel is no longer speaking so this is John continuing the description and what interests me the most here is yes that what John says here is prophecy fulfilled, but what I notice is that John knows prophecy. What do you mean, Matt? • Look, the two olive trees and the two lampstands are references to a vision Zechariah had that he recorded for John and for us in the fourth Chapter of his Book, hundreds of years earlier. The vision speaks of the oil that flows into the lamps situated in the Most Holy Place in the temple. You see for the presence of the Lord to remain, the lamps had to be continually lit…the oil supply had to be uninterrupted, and oil of course is a picture, a type of the Holy Spirit in the Bible. • Well the angel there in Zechariah four showed Zechariah a vision of two olive trees that continually supply oil into the Most Holy Place…and the meaning was that God’s presence with His people will be something that He will provide, not man and thus the most quoted verse in Zech 4:6, “not by might, not by power, but by My Spirit says the Lord of Hosts…” • And John looks upon these two witnesses and whispers through his pen, “there they are.” But the detail that interests me the most here is that the quotations have ended and therefore we know this is John just telling us what he saw and understood and man I just dig that because the fact is if John didn’t know the Book of Zechariah, man he would have missed this whole scene! He would have gone and popped some popcorn and grabbed his soda and watched but no, he’s getting so much more out of this…and because of what he got, man WE get! • And the same goes for us! All day, God’s faithfulness and works are all around us…lining entirely up with His word but we miss so much because we simply don’t know His word! And because we miss, our wives miss, our kids miss, our neighbors miss…not John! He knows the word of God and when it comes to pass, man he is blessed. And he blesses us! • He might just have skipped the next verse set where we see their detailed description if he wasn’t so hype about who these two were…look at what John records for us… Revelation Chapter 11 Verses 4 – 6 • A few additional clues here. James tells us in James 5:17 that Elijah prayed and it did not rain for 3 and a half years. And who was it that pronounced the plague on Egypt that turned the water into blood? Yup, Moses…just some clues. The Bible doesn’t tell us by name who these two are… Revelation Chapter 11 Verses 7 – 8 • Notice they aren’t approached, they are untouchable until they finish their testimony…and I see many applications here. One, that you and I cannot be harmed until an appointed time. Two, each person in this room has a testimony to give, a testimony of purpose and redemption that will set many souls free. And third, probably the most controversial, I see these two having great power and being very well protected, until they stop breathing fire. And I believe that is what has happened to the church and what happens to ministries all the time. And it’s tragic. • Someone gets saved. Comes alive. On fire, burning hot for the things of the Lord and eternity. And then it gets hard. People turn against you. Not everyone approves of you anymore. Folks don’t like being held accountable. And so you soften up the message. Begin to be preoccupied with filling seats and such, and before you know it…the testimony of the church is watered down, why? Because the cares of this world and the approval of men has become the testimony, not the all consuming fire of Jahovah God…and the beast makes war against the church…wrong! It should be the other way around! We should be storming the gates of hell man and overcoming the wiles of the enemy! Right? What has happened to us? What has happened to Jerusalem? • It’s so dark and different by now that John calls it Sodom and Egypt! Why? Sodom, all kinds of sin! Egypt, all kinds of idolatry. What happened? Well it already happened! They rejected Jesus man. Not only Jesus as their Messiah but they rejected His work in their hearts and lives…and the result…is always Sodom and Egypt. Where is Sodom now? GONE. How is Egypt now? Utter turmoil. Such is the life of the one who disallows the power, presence and leadership of Jesus. • And notice, they kill the olive trees. The supply of the Holy Spirit, the endless flow of oil, they kill them… Revelation Chapter 11 Verses 9 – 10 • Understand, for hundreds of year no one could accept that all peoples, tribes, tongues and nations could see these two lying dead there on the streets of Jerusalem. When Chuck Smith began teaching the Bible verse by verse, he had to imagine a way for this to be possible. Then in 1965, Early Bird was launched into orbit. The first commercial communication satellite and then shortly after in 1967, the first national network of satellite television was created called Orbita in the Soviet Union. Then Anik 1 was launched in North America in ’72 and finally Ekran , the first direct-to-home geostationary satellite was launched in 1976. • Now, not forty years later, thousands “eyes in the sky.” Isn’t that interesting that we call a satellite an “eye in the sky?” Whose eye? Everyones’ man! And now there is no more imagination needed…we, this generation, us…we are seeing it with our own eyes! Precisely how Revelation Chapter 11 verse 9 will unfold…on our big screens in our living rooms! John couldn’t see this, have this in his day. Chuck couldn’t have seen this when he started preaching! It’s us! This generation! The stage is set! All is in order. And the Lord’s return…the calling up of His bride into heaven…right now! • And do you know what is going to happen when all the Jesus freaks disappear? The world will rejoice! Why? No more accountability! No more of this God talk! No more of this prophecy…just like they do when the beast slays the two witnesses…they have a Satanic Christmas of sorts…and this is the only time we read of the people rejoicing in the Great Tribulation. “Hey, the ones who made us uncomfortable with their truth, leave them in the gutter and let’s celebrate because they are dead!” • If you feel beaten down and left out…man YOU rejoice, you’re in good company! And keep reading! Get into the word of God and you’ll be encouraged, strengthened because what we’ll see next week…is that you can’t keep a good man down. Though a righteous mans falls 7 times, he will rise again but the wicked stumble and are knocked out cold when difficulty strikes. Proverbs 24:16. Next week we’ll keep reading and we’ll see these two rise again with the breath of life from God Himself!
We have seen great calamity upon the earth ever since the beginning of Chapter 6 and the time of the Great Tribulation. Horrific scenes such as the four horsemen we saw at the beginning of Chapter 6 and with them came a false peace upon the earth of sorts, where one man would come onto the scene and assume power and have an answer… And answer to what? Well poverty, currency, economy, politics, foreign relations…and answer to why millions of people just vanished…but his answer will involve evil…as the red horse will bring war, or as John puts it…it will be acceptable for people to just simply kill people… The black horse rides in bringing desperation, if you recall, but not for everyone…John tells us that the black horse doesn’t harm the oil and the wine…giving us a hint that there is an elite group, or nation, or peoples that are just fine during this…in other words…at peace. And its humanistic in that regard, because peace is relative isn’t it? Haven’t there been so many on the scene through the years touting and protesting for “world peace?” Well what if two argue over a parking space somewhere? What if two fight on the screen and we herald it as sport? What if two nations, two small nations, continue with aggression while the rest of the nations just chill. Would all of those situations be called “world peace?” Wouldn’t the entire world have to be peaceful and resting for the term “world peace” to be correct? The obvious answer is “yes.” And so “world peace” is a fassade, it is a trick you see…so that those in luxury and comfort can stand in judgment over the rest of the world crowning themselves “progressive” and superior in intellect and thought because they are out there parading on the platform of “world peace” that is not possible in a world that contains sin! And so too, this time, this tribulation, although there is death, there is desperation, there are even horrid signs and wonders such as the locusts that have come out of the abyss there in Chapter 9 that are grotesque and given power to wage a 5 month long zombie apocalypse upon the earth…even as the earth itself is struck by fire in the form of hail eating up the vegetation and even the sun is struck there in Chapter 8…even so, there will be a pseudo peace upon the earth. Because there will be one operating under the power and the influence of Lucifer himself that will seemingly have all of the answers. He will have direction that seems rational, plausible and although it entails the rejection and killing of people, that will be completely acceptable to the decrepid and deceived folks that are left upon the earth. You don’t thing that is possible? That an entire people will approve of mass killings? Have you studied history? But remember, the oil and the wine will not be harmed…and a false peace, an elite peace of sorts will reign…what will that look like? We don’t have time for a complete, in-depth study on eschatology but we have time for a little one. During this period of time, the Great Tribulation, the 7 year period right before the end of all things, the Antichrist will head a confederacy, an elite group, and according to Daniel Chapter this confederacy will consist of 10 nations. At first, he will pretend to be Israel’s deliverer, he will have the answers to the ethnic tensions between the Jew and the Arab that have existed ever since Issac and Ishmael, the brothers…one the father of the Jews, the other the father of the Arabs, both sons of Abraham. According to Daniel Chapter 9, the Antichrist will make an alliance with the Jew and after he has conquered the nations from the south, north and east, with the popular support of the entire world…at that moment, as detailed for us in Daniel Chapter 11, he will reveal his true evil character and his hatred for Israel and for God. How will he do it? Just as Jesus said he would in Matthew Chapter 24. Under the guise of Israel’s protector and deliverer, he will enter into the rebuilt temple and will commit the abomination of desolation, and this will occur at the midpoint of the Great Tribulation. Jesus said in Matthew 24, “therefore when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of thought Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand)…run.” And all those listening to Him would have looked puzzled…the abomination that causes desolation? That already happened. Antiochus IV, the Syrian King…who named himself, took the title “Theos Epiphanes,” which literally means, “manifest god,” was written of by Daniel…this Syrian king ruled between 175 and 165 BC and Daniel tells us in Daniel Chapter 11 that Antiochus Epiphanes gained his throne by “coming in peaceably and seizing the kingdom by intrigue.” Wow, sounds familiar. Daniel continues in Chapter 11 of his book to tell us of the excursions of Antiochus into the adversarial nations surrounding Israel under some sort of agreement or covenant with the nation of Israel but then in verse 28 of Daniel Chapter 11 we read how Antiochus broke that treaty and turned against his previously established holy covenant which concluded with him desecrating the temple which we read about in verse 31 of Daniel Chapter 11. So what was Jesus saying? Precisely what Daniel would go on to say after laying out the story of Antiochus in Chapter 11…that Antiochus was just a type…a type of one to come. And the one coming, would do the same thing! And so Jesus said, “when you see,” referring to a future event and then what did Matthew add? “Let the reader understand.” The reader? Oh yes, so in other words this revelation from Jesus given during this conversation in Matthew 24 was not for them that heard it but rather for us who would read it and unpack it how? Revelationally…by studying the Revelation of Jesus Christ! By having the Word of God, open on our laps, our minds aware and awake to the times in which we live and our spirits alive by the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. We are the readers. This is the revelation! But that’s only half the story… As we get into Chapter 11 and onward through Chapter 19, we will see the second half of the Great Tribulation. We know that we are at the halfway point by the clues given to us here in Chapter 11, the number of days and such…and in that we know that the antichrist is making his way right now, into the temple to betray the nation of Israel, proclaim himself to be god and commit the abomination of desolation within the Holy of Holies… But meanwhile, in heaven is John and the rest of the church and John is about to interact with yet another angel… Revelation Chapter 11 Verse 1 • So John is told by the angel to measure the temple of God, the altar and even those who worship there. This presupposes, or implies, that there indeed, at this point in the Great Tribulation a functioning temple! Precisely aligned with the prophecy of Daniel, the teachings of Jesus, the writings of Paul… • And its interesting today, right now…on the scene…we can look it up online and see the pictures, watch the videos…there are institutes in Israel that are supporting by folks all around the world that are making preparations for the fourth temple. And guess what, they’re about done… • The garments of the priests, complete and hanging on hangars…just waiting…the breastplate of the High Priest, the golden grown that he is to wear…all ready. The Holy Temple Visitors Center…can you believe this…opened just a few weeks ago! March 27th! Ready to go! We got the garments, we got the crowns, we got the procedures, we got the animals for the sacrifices, we got the applause of world as money is flowing in, we even have the Visitors Center!!! What else? What about the priests? Yep, got them too! Two Yeshivas, or schools, have been open for years training young men with the last name “Cohen” and what does “Cohen” mean in Hebrew? “Priest!” Check out templeinstitute.org when you get a chance. You’ll see all of this and it’s amazing! • Why rebuild the temple we might ask of the nation Israel? I mean the people have lived without a temple for nearly 2,000 years, and seem to be doing fine without one. Well here’s why. Out of the 613 divine commandments that you find in the Torah, one-third of them or 202 are totally dependent on the existence of the temple and the Orthodox Jewish community believes that the current state of Judaism is what it is, and they use the term spiritually bankrupt, because of their lack of a temple. They have instituted “remembrances” in place of the missing commandments and believe that in order to restore Judaism to its magnificence and fully restore the Jews as a nation to God, the temple must be rebuilt. • Does this mean that we will see the temple rebuilt before the rapture of the church? Is this what we are to look for? Not necessarily, why? Because there is a rather large obstacle in the way; A mosque known as the Dome of the Rock. But, huge but here, just in recent history a discovery and a conclusion has been made that unpacks the end times scenario with clarity…look at verse 2… Revelation Chapter 11 Verse 2 • How long is 42 months? You got it, 3 and a half years. Mid-way point in the Great Tribulation. • What is meant here by “leave out the court which is outside the temple, because it has been given over to the gentiles, or the heathen?” Until only a few years ago, no one really knew. • You see in the late 600s, a man named Omar built a mosque on the 35 acre platform over the rock believed to be the site where Abraham nearly sacrificed his son. However right about that time, a man named Mohammad emerged on the scene proclaiming that an angel had appeared to him and dictated to him new revelation and he presented the Quran, exalting himself to the position of God’s only prophet…and what does the Quran say of Abraham? That it was Ishmael that was the chosen son of Abraham who was nearly sacrificed at that site… • When was Genesis written? Who wrote the Book of Genesis? Moses right? When did Moses die? Around 1400BC. So 2000 years later, what has been written from antiquity and is fact regarding Abraham, Issac and Jacob…is now Abraham, Ishmael and Esau? And it was an angel that did all this…you got it, a fallen angel. Paul warned us about this in Galatians Chapter 1, well before it happened in the year 600 AD. • But now this site, which was believed to be the original site of the Jewish temple, had been claimed by this new religion, Islam as their most holy place which renders a rebuilding of the Jewish temple impossible because the Muslims would immediately invade Israel if anything happened to that mosque, what we know as the Dome of the Rock. • Ah, but about thirty years ago, after spending 16 years studying the temple mount area, a physicist and archeologist at Hebrew University named Dr. Asher Kaufman came to some remarkable conclusions. In 1983 he released the results of his findings within the March/April issue of Biblical Archaeological Review. In that he declared with sound evidence and conclusive analysis that while the Mosque of Omar has been assumed for years to be built directly over the site of the Jewish temple, the actual location of the Jewish temple foundation is one hundred meters to the north! • What is one hundred meters to the north of the Dome of the Rock? A small gazebo like structure, below which was found, and is now exposed, bedrock of the original temple! Now why is bedrock important? Because the rock upon which the Mosque of Omar is built is very jagged and uneven…it doesn’t even make sense to build upon it…but one hundred meters to the north…flat, leveled…perfect for a structure you see… • And not only more logical, Kaufman’s conclusion reveals other answers to mysteries that have been set aside for centuries…You see according to the Mishna, the highly esteemed book of Jewish oral traditions, when the priest stood in the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement, he could look through the veil, through the door, and see the Eastern Gate directly before him. • In 1970 it was concluded once and for all that the original Eastern Gate is directly below the present Eastern Gate…now guess what you cannot see directly from the Dome of the Rock? You got it…however go 100 meters to the north…the Eastern Gate is in plain view! • What does all of this mean! It means that the Orthodox Jews are very active and excited! Why? Because the temple can indeed be rebuilt and the Dome of the Rock can certainly remain right where it's at! And you know what that would make the mosque location? The outer courtyard of the temple or more traditionally stated, the Court of the Gentiles! • Now can you believe that there’s even more…one last knockout punch that absolutely assures us that God’s Word is on point?! The angel says there to John in verse 2 that the court has been “given” to the Gentiles. Notice he doesn’t say that they took it…its that word didomi in the Greek literally meaning “given with permission” kinda like a gift… • Here’s the mind blower! During the Six-Day War of 1967, the Israelis launched a preemptive strike against the Arabs and recaptured the city of Jerusalem. General Moshe Dayan could have easily booted the Muslims off the perceived temple mount at this time saying, “you lost, too bad, get out…” I mean it was a war! The Jewish nation had won…they had overcome the Arabs entirely! But he didn’t do that! • In a gesture that he himself never explained, he let them retain control of the 35 acre parcel. Thus, the outer court of the temple remains today, check it, “given” to the gentiles. • Amazing isn’t it! How history catches up the Bible. How succinctly true and on point the scripture is? I’m so encouraged by the details of the Bible man and how they are all so perfectly on point! One further detail and then we’ll close…and get into the two witnesses next week… • Who will rebuild this temple? Who will be the one to declare the peaceful, world-peace solution of coexistence there with the Jewish temple right next to the Muslim temple…you guessed it…the AntiChrist man…that will most likely be a huge part of his peace plan but they will not live happily every after…only 42 months says the angel…and then the AntiChrist will betray everyone except himself, just as Lucifer did in heaven…and the second half of the Great Tribulation will commence which we are at the very cusp of in our study through this wonderful book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ.
Looking at the multitudes saved during the tribulation and thier suffering for Chrsit.
Revelation Chapter 10 Verse 1 • So we just finished a quite dismal couple of chapters. Chapter 8 was pretty bad as we saw the earth struck. The vegetation struck by the first trumpet. The seas struck by the second trumpet. The waters struck by the third trumpet and then even the heavens struck by the fourth trumpet. • Chapter 9 was even darker man. The fifth trumpet sounds and the John see’s a star that had fallen from heaven to the earth and that star was a “he.” We know that star to be Lucifer and he was given the key to the bottomless pit…just sounds bad… • Then as he uses that key, darkness upon the earth from the great smoke that arises out of the abyss and from that smoke descends grotesque locusts. Then five months of straight up affliction as the locusts swarm against men. • Finally the sixth trumpet sounded there in Chapter 9 and the four angels who are bound at the Great River Euphrates were released and once released…more darkness. Half of mankind is killed by this point and as the streets lay lined with bodies, locusts swarming about, demonic horses roaring about, all of creation affected by spiritual authorities…John tells us there at the end of Chapter 9 that he see’s man and their state. Dark. Rank idolatry continues even in the midst of the Great Tribulation. • But in contrast to Chapters 8 and 9, Chapter 10 is a bit of water break for us as we peer into the Great Tribulation. It’s a bit more bright and uplifting as we encounter “another mighty angel.” Especially because this word in the Greek for mighty is “ischyros” which is translated elsewhere in the Bible as not just mighty, but “mightier.” • We are journeying with John through the revelation of the Great Tribulation contained in Chapters 6 through 19 of the Book of Revelation, or better said, the Revelation of Jesus Christ. And as we walk with him, it’s easy to loose sight of the fact that this story is not about the torment or the horror of this period of judgment, but it’s a story of a Hero. One who has secured our safety, paid the price man…so that we “might be counted worthy to escape all of these things that will come to pass, and to stand in the presence of the Son of Man” as Jesus remarked in Luke 21:36. • And its that word “mightier” that reminds us of that face here in the first verse of Chapter 10. As all of these angels, these fallen angels are running a muck on earth, there are mightier that are about to get involved and ultimately Might Himself will save the day. • Maybe that encourages you tonight. I know dark times and troubling seasons are upon some of you and let this encourage you. That although the cards may be stacked against you, the walls closing in all around, through fixing your eyes upon Jesus and standing in the presence of the Son of Man, you too will see another, mightier angel coming down from heaven. • They’re there you know. All around you. Hebrews Chapter 1 verse 14 assures us that we have help at all times, even angels that encircle us ministering to us…and of course Jesus Christ Himself who is continually with us, will not leave us and has promised to never forsake us. And sometimes the angels will show up in the most beautiful of ways. In a kind word. A kind act. A cup of coffee with a friend or a solitary walk on a sunny day. • And you might say, “what does that have to do with angels?” Ah, much. Who do you think ministered to your friend and encouraged them to speak a kind word? Who do you think suggested in the ear of your homie that a cup of coffee would be an encouragement to you? Who do you think walked with you while you spoke to the Lord in the brightness of the sun on your walk? God dispatches His angels in the most wonderful ways in our lives and here at the beginning of Chapter 10 we see a beautiful picture, even in the midst of exceeding darkness. Chapter 10 Verse 2 • Many good Bible teachers believe this angel is Jesus Himself because the angel’s description is very similar to that of Jesus in Chapter 1 however the fact that John sees this angel place his feet upon the earth, appearing on the earth means quite clearly this is not Jesus Himself but rather a high ranking angel because Jesus doesn’t return until the conclusion of the Great Tribulation period in Revelation 19 and when He returns, it’s all over…there’s still plenty to go, 9 chapters, of the Great Tribulation. • And some have linked this event with Zechariah Chapter 14 where the prophet writes that the Lord will stand upon the Mount of Olives and the mountain will be split in two, but if you read all of Zechariah Chapter 14 you will easily conclude that its all over at that point because it is then that the Lord becomes the King over all the earth…which we know happens where in Revelation? Chapter 19. • So why does this angel resemble Jesus? I suggest because he comes from the very presence of Jesus…just like Moses in Exodus 34 as we read how he took on characteristics of the Lord simply from being in the presence of the Lord and this encourages me because the same thing is true for us. • If we spend time with the Lord then we will begin to look like Him, act like Him and even think like Him. We may even sound like him just as this angel as he cries out like a lion roars! Look at the next verse… Revelation Chapter 10 Verses 3 – 4 • Seven thunders uttered their voices which is quite mystical because that gives a clue or a thought that the sound of thunder to us is the sound of a voice…but Who’s voice? John Chapter 12. Jesus is troubled and He says, “My soul is greatly troubled, and what shall I say? Father save Me from this hour? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name.” And then a voice came from heaven, saying, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.” And the people who stood by and heard it said that it had thundered! • So Who’s voice could this be here in Revelation 10? It is the number seven…it is a thunder described by John as a voice…I suggest to you that it could be either God the Father Himself or the seven Spirits of God…at any rate…we don’t know. • And what did they say? We don’t know. Revelation Chapter 10 Verses 5 – 7 • Another reason why I believe this to be a high ranking, mightier angel and not Jesus Christ. Because here John tells us that he lifts his hand and swears not by Himself, but by God…and what is his proclamation? That there should be delay no longer. • There have been great signs. Great spiritual horrors happening to the earth, upon the earth and to the inhabitants of the earth. The 144,000 have been sealed so that they would be preserved but we have no clear indication that they have yet been dispatched. The scene has been gore and terror. But the angel proclaims here that there should be delay no longer. • Delay of what? Verse 7, the mystery of God. The 144,000 are about to be gathered on Mount Zion, Chapter 14, and sent forth from the Lamb Himself. The two witnesses are about to come on the scene testifying of salvation through Jesus, Chapter 11. The three angels that fly in the midst of the skies proclaiming God’s kingdom are about to arrive, Chapter 14. And Satan once and for all will be banished from even the realm of the spirit and will be cast down with all of his angels to the earth until the very end. Chapter 12. • You see God is about to show up. Yet until now, He has delayed. Until now, even with all of this stuff going on, people may very still be deceived about who God is…maybe some proclaim the gods…maybe some are talking about Allah still…I mean at this point there are no non-believers…impossible…but maybe who God is, His plan, what’s really going on…is still, at least for some, a mystery. It’s all about to get cleared up. • And that’s a word for us today, for me today. God, what is going on here? Why is this such a mess? Where are you? God’s plan in my life and in yours will remain a mystery sometimes so that we might learn submission and trust. In Bible talk that’s worship and faith…but take heart, the mystery of God will be finished one day soon and when it is…the clay will not complain against the Potter for fashioning it into a beautiful pot… • God even delays today on the world scene, He delays the rapture of His church…why? Because He is longsuffering, waiting for that last soul, any soul, that would receive Him and be spared from this…but He will not wait much longer, I’m sure of it… Revelation Chapter 10 Verses 8 – 9 • Next time someone tells you about a good book they read and they say, “yea I just devoured it in a day!” Hey, great opportunity to witness…Here John devours this book in one sitting, only quite literally. Revelation Chapter 10 Verse 10 • This is quite interesting because just like this book that the angel gives John, the Word of God is described in Psalm 19 and Psalm 119 as sweeter than honey. But if the sweet as honey Word of God that we take in through Bible studies and times of reading and times of personal study doesn’t create a sour taste, a bitterness in our depths…then something is wrong. • What do you mean, Matt? You see, the fact that we are saved, the Gospel of Jesus Christ man, the Father’s exceeding love for us…man that is so sweet…but the fact that people we love are dishonoring God, and in that dishonoring themselves, their wives, their husbands, their kids, themselves…the fact that folks are slipping everyday into hell…the fact that I waste my time man on trivial worldly distractions…all of those things, in light of truth, in light of the sweet Gospel of Jesus Christ, should be quite bitter in our very cores. • Ezekiel understood this. The mighty prophet of God. Ezekiel was timid, ineffective…and then God appears to him and gives him a scroll and says eat it and as he ate of it, devoured it, he writes there in Ezekiel chapter 3 that the Spirit of the Lord filled him. Paul wrote in Romans 10:17 that faith comes by the Word of God, man…and then what happens to Ezekiel? It was only after he ate the book that was sweet to his mouth but bitter to his belly that he was able to share boldly with those of whom he had previously been afraid. You see the bitterness in his belly moved him to live mightily for the Lord and he became, almost immediately, a watchman for the house of Israel. • If this word is not churning your soul to the point where you cannot spend all day wasted, you cannot sit in some fictional novel for hours upon hours on a Saturday, you cannot watch your family suffer from your selfishness, you cannot live another day bowing down to the evil of laziness while people slip eternally out of God’s presence and another child another child another child is stolen from Him…then something is wrong. You don’t believe even what we are studying in Revelation. Maybe in mind…but certainly not in heart. Because this book, when devoured will certainly turn your stomach sour to the things of this world man…and you will prophesy…truth will go forth from your lives… Revelation Chapter 10 Verse 11 • This idea of “must” here is not a command but rather it is a statement of inevitableness. It is inevitable that if you are truly taking in the Word of God you will have compassion on the sinner, you will have conviction of your own sin, and you will have a deep longing to worship…not in church man…in moments! That is the result of the churn in your soul, the bitterness in your belly…when the truth begins to sink in and the love of the Father is revealed and the essence of eternity overshadows the lie of the here and now…man everything changes…why? Because you change… • You come alive in the spirit man. So many Christians may have their golden tickets ya know…on their way to heaven having escaped the world just like the Israelites escaped Egypt…yet they remain roaming in circles in the wilderness, never arriving at the promised land which is a life lived flowing with milk and honey, with giants being defeated at their hand, with grapes the size of basketballs…do you know what that is? That’s fruit man! • God’s will and plan for each of us is to live a full, abundant life…a life lived keyed in on the reality and weight of eternity…not just for ourselves but for others…and the irony of it all is that there is no better life lived then a life lived with a bitterness in the belly…because then your days will matter, your life will matter, the promised land is full of bitter bellyites…and that’s it…the wilderness retains the weak… • Every day the Word should change you…not the Word has changed you…every day the truth of God, the Gospel of Jesus…every day, it is power so that you might be a watchman over God’s house…
Revelation Chapter 9 Verses 13 - 14 • This is notable. This voice. Who was it that was breaking the seals on the scroll that was taken from the hand of God? It was Jesus. And these seals brought forth the conquerer upon the white horse there in Chapter 6, war came with the red horse, despair came with the black horse, and death came with the pale horse. The fifth seal broken revealed the martyrs under the alter and the sixth seal brought great confusion and calamity upon the earth. Finally, the seventh seal opened in Chapter 8 brought silence. Utter sadness and inconsolable pain of the Lamb in heaven, man… • And what I notice is that tracks quite well with the pattern that we looked at in Romans Chapter 2 last Sunday of the inexcusable man. The man or the woman not seeking after God. Not trusting the Lord with all their heart. Not loving the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind and strength…and loving others as themselves. Paul tells us that they will be conquered…just like the white horse. Their lives will be marked by war, desperation and decay. Their family members and babies and husbands will be martyrs…just trying to love them, yet they lay slain and finally all reason, all righteousness, all that the Lord would speak and do for them…silent…as they can't even hear Him anymore. And the final product, Paul tells us is anguish. • That pretty much sums up the scene on earth right now and when the sixth angel sounded, John hears a voice from the four horns of the golden altar…who's voice? Well the golden altar in heaven is precisely what the Ark of the Convenant…more specifically the mercy seat upon the top of the Ark…was modeled after. And that was the place in which men would approach the mercy of the God, where the holy God would meet with sinful man…the place of mediation. • 1 Timothy 2:5, there is One Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus. So who's voice is this? Its Jesus! Notice what He commands…"release." That is the Lord's work in your life man. His will for your eternity…is your release. Your freedom, your liberty from sin and all of its destruction. Jesus prayed to the Father before going to the cross, the only place in His earthly ministry where we find His heart poured out, requesting His will be done…each other time He prayed, "nevertheless, Thy will be done." But there in John Chapter 17 we hear the Lord's prayerful plea and what is His desire? That we would be with Him. We would be released and set free, man. • But that plea has been rejected and so now, Great Tribulation. The tattoo that is inked on the story of the lives of folks that refuse the Lord's work in their life. And so now He releases the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates. • No doubt these are fallen angels or demons as they are bound and its interesting where they are bound. The Great River Euphrates. This is a place of great significance. The River Euphrates marks the spot of original sin as Genesis 2:14 tells us that it bordered the Garden of Eden. It marks the spot of the first murder as Adam and Eve had no doubt settled near the exterior border of the Garden where they had Cain and Abel. It marks the spot of the first revolt against God, the first act of fake worship, the first war as it were, the first dictatorship…all of these wrapped up in the sinful heart of Cain…and also, it marked the first nation that was founded against God…Babylon. • All of this associated with this place where Jesus now makes His command…"release." Man, those things were my resume in the world. As I myself embraced evil, running after selfish gain and living for myself…but then Jesus gave His command…"release." And His command was to me. "Matt, release all this junk. Where has it gotten you? What has it gained for you?" All the toys, all the friends, all the days about you…all of the destruction you've caused…all your turmoil, all your hate, all your fear, all your anger…I have something more for you, release it." And man when I released those demons, I found myself released…into the will and arms of the Most High. • That is the same Most High that now commands the release of these demons upon the earth. Why? Because the debt payment of the cross of Calvary has been rejected by all who are upon the earth and so they are left to pay the debt themselves…because God is not mocked…the wages of sin is death, man. Revelation Chapter 9 Verse 15 • From the beginning until now, we have arrived at even the specific hour in which this was all planned. Man, God is that big. I rest in that. That even this hour…He knew. Even this hour…matters. Nothing is left to chance in the will of God…much is left to chance in the will of man…which will you choose? • And notice, a third of mankind are going to be killed by these demons. Now this is a third of the remaining mankind mind you. If you add this to the number already killed since the Great Tribulation began you arrive at about 50% of all mankind will be dead after the sixth trumpet. 3+ billion people killed in a very short period of time…where are all the bodies? Everywhere…no doubt this is a gruesome scene…a gruesome scene that all may have transpired in just a span of one hour…even more horrific. Revelation Chapter 9 Verses 16 - 19 • Notice in verse 16 that John "heard" the number of them…he didn't count them. Two hundred million…that is so many that it would take you six years of non-stop counting to get them all…so what he saw was a major force… • Some commentators have ascribed what John saw to a literal army of men with their tanks and their bombs and their bombs and their bombs zombies, HA…but seriously as I read this I just can't arrive at this is any natural army. For one thing, the emphasis is not on the men, but the horses. It is the horses, with heads like lions mind you, that have the power to kill and that power is in their heads and their tails…lions head and serpent tails. • What John is seeing here is a demonic army, man, headed up by the four fallen angels that have been bound since the beginning for this very thing. • At any rate, I would think that after 5 months of horrible scorpion locusts, death fleeing and a zombie apocalypse…and then an army of 200 million horsemen with lions heads, serpent tails and over half of all mankind killed…plus all of the other calamity that we have seen…I would think that there would be a major revival right? But that’s not the case here…why? Because of the colors man. What? • You ever draw a picture, you know as a kid, and that picture is something…maybe elegant, maybe a mess (if you draw like me), but then you color it in and what happens…it becomes something completely different. Something distinguishable from other drawings. Its like the color gives it personality, life…meaning. And notice John gives us color here in verse 17. And as I read this man I was like…God…what’s with the colors? And then….crazy, the Lord led me to the veil of the temple. • You see, the veil of the temple, as we read in Exodus 26:31 was fashioned with three colors. Scarlet red, blue and purple. And so interesting what do we see here upon these horsemen? Red, blue and…yellow! What’s the significance? Just this. When Jesus paid the price for sin, that veil, those colors…were torn in two…ripped from the top to the bottom…a feat that Josephus tells us two horses tied to each side of the veil with ropes would not have the strength to do… • But you see it was torn from the top to the bottom as God the Father, through the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ, opened the Most Holy Place, the Holy of Holies, to all mankind. And the color, well the only peculiar color between these two sets that you find on the veil…purple. The most precious, the most costly, the color worn by kings you see…and for the kings and queens, made royalty by the invitation of the King Himself, for them that accept that perfect sacrifice, not just with our minds – understanding what happened, believing as fact what Jesus has done, but accepting Jesus as our Savior and or Lord, believing with our hearts you see…we are saved from the peculiar color we see here… • What do you mean by peculiar color? Remember both the horsemen and the veil, both made with red and blue…but the peculiar color of the veil…purple…beauty, costliness and royal…but the one peculiar color of the horsemen…yellow. Do you know what yellow is? It’s the cheapest dye. It’s cheaper than buying white because at the time, even white required cleaning and was labor intensive to bleach…but yellow, a pale yellow at that described here as sulfur yellow by John was the cheapest man…the color of the poor, the wardrobe of the peasant you see. • And so the doctrinal precept is clear in the colors. The royal blood of the Most High for those who would not only hear but respond and be saved…or the cheapest raiment for those who reject and live on in their sin…sold out to it man…the choice that poses us all and the reward described here for those that have chosen poorly and notice as we continue, their condition is completely sold out to evil even as evil is exacting its toll… Revelation Chapter 9 Verse 20 • Man, in the presence of God's most powerful and final judgment, man's heart is hardened still. The most frightening thing about Revelation 9 for me is not the judgments that God sends but that even in this time, men still will not see, they will not hear, they will not turn and repent so that God would heal them. • Its 2 Chronicles 7:14…it reads, "if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land." But even now, "God, get on with Yourself, I will not bow to You!" The arrogant call of dust, man! • And who are these dust bunnies? I love this, see this…John says there in verse 20, "the rest of mankind," notice, no mention of the church right…not "the rest of the sheep and the goats, the rest of the believers and the nonbelievers, the rest of the sinners and the saved," nope…mankind is all one kind at this time…the church is gone…there is no longer the world and the church…now its just the world man…see that? • And he says they did not repent…we went over this on Sunday a bit, we just read this in 2 Chronicles, what is it to turn to God on true faith? To also turn from sin. Man that's the key. But these folks, even in the midst of all this, did not repent…from worshipping demons…"but Matt I'm just listening to the music, you know the strong beat…I'm not listening to the words…or I'm just watching because the plot is so good, I turn my head during those raunchy parts…but you just don't understand He never listens to me, she never agrees with me, we have irreconcilable differences and I'm not the problem…he is…" need to repent of that…because all of that serves principalities that do not honor God…" Want your land healed? I sure do…turn from that which offers worship to unholy entities... • John says they did not repent from worshipping idols of gold, silver, brass, stone and wood…"well this one isn't for today, Matt. We don't have idols of gold, silver, brass and stone…" Oh no? Have you looked in your garage lately? Are you preoccupied with your next upgrade, is your time spent on distractions that cannot see nor hear nor walk…your kids can…your wife can…is your best time spent on them? The lost and hurting and overlooked out there can do all of those things…are you preoccupied with seeking, saving and serving the lost? Is all of your money tied up in making your monthly debt payments? Well we all need a car man and we all need a house…hmm. • What percentage of the world owns a car? Just one. Would you guess 75%, maybe 50%? The answer is 9%. And half of the world's car owners are where? America. One in every three people on this planet survive on less than $2 per day! More people on this plant have mobile phones than they do toilets? Half of the world's population do not even have access to clean drinking water…and we think it normal to tie all of our resources up in payments…so we can have things now…oh yes, this type of idol worship is most certainly for today…and notice these folks don't care…they are apathetic…I pray we are not as we should not fit in at all with this "rest of mankind." We must be a different "kind". • The Bible says that we are to fix our minds on things above in Colossians Chapter 3, not on the things of this earth…for we have died to the lust of the world and our life is hidden in Christ and when Christ who is our life appears, then we also will appear with Him in glory! Man this isn't life…our life hasn't even appeared yet! So hard to walk this out in Babylon where we have new cars for a couple hundred dollars a month, new clothes for a couple hundred dollars a month, new houses for a couple thousand dollars a month…and all of a sudden not only do we have no dollars left with which to sow into treasures in heaven but we are trading all of our life for this stuff…40 hours a week, 60 hours a week, 80 hours a week…man what is your life worth? A new Prius? No! You've been deceived…your time on earth is worth so much more than that…and your life man…ain't even here yet. • And these folks remain, even in all of this horrific calamity, hard hearted…not turning from demons and from idol worship…man demons are slaying them! Mom, dad, wife, kids…just got eaten up by demonic horseman…and they still worship them! Happens today…. Revelation Chapter 9 Verse 21 • And they did not repent, even in all of this, they did not change from their murders, phonos in the Greek, they didn’t turn from being fake, phony…or their sorceries, pharmakeia in the Greek, or their drugs…or their sexual immorality, porneia in the Greek, or their fornication…or their thefts, their looting of others… • And I ask myself, what is it going to take man…the whole world is caving in, signs and wonders from on-high, demons roaring about like locusts and horses, half of all mankind dead…five months of horrific zombie like conditions in the streets, yet “the rest of mankind” John says, ALL of them, continue in the very sin that got them here in the first place…you sit back and you say this is surely enough…all this and surely they’ll turn to God and away from all of this…but the hardness of a heart is beyond reason, beyond logic, beyond pleading…and persuading… • What about you? Is the pain and the decay and the death that has transpired in your life as a direct result of sin…is it enough? Have you had enough? Even you believers, your born-again Christians, you’re not sin-less…you just sin less…haven’t we seen enough suffering and strife in our walks yet? If you answer yes…then I call that “turning the corner” man. Placing all your trust, all of your heart in the Lord and simply simply simply, apart from anything else, living for Him. Denying emotions and feelings and even logic sometimes forsaking the whole world to be close to the Lord. • Allow the Holy Spirit in man…into your heart you unbeliever, into your circumstance and into your throne room you carnal believer, the throne that you occupy today…and put away all of these murders and drugs and thefts…and be free. • Where is the church in all this? Heaven. In the presence of the Lord, free from all this, safe and alive forevermore…why? They turned the corner…
Looking at the final wars of the gentiles in the tribulation and at the end of the millenium.