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Lowell Brueckner

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Gospel Awakening

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Rachel and Mike
This is the first message I have ever posted on this BlogSpot from our son, Mike. It was his opening message that he preached, after taking on the senior pastorate at Church of Hope in Elk River, Minnesota. Very early in his ministry, Mike was a chaplain in a Christian high school. Later he became a youth pastor and, as he states in this article, he was asked to take on the children’s ministry besides, in that same church. 



Here are a few words from Mike’s own personal testimony: “When people ask me where I’m from, I'm not sure what to say. I was born in Mexico. For the first seven years of my life, I lived in Minnesota, moved to Germany, lived there for twelve years and now I'm back in Minnesota. I spent half a year in Alaska, too. That's where I’m from.”


“I grew up on the mission field and I have to say that I wouldn't trade that opportunity for anything in the world. When I am asked what caused me to continue in God's work after leaving home, I have to agree with the answer that my older brothers and sisters give to the same question: It's the reality of God – it’s as simple as that.”
  

Revelation 22

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Chapter 22

1.  Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb
2.  through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
3.  No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him.
4.  They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.
5.  And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.
6.  And he said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. And the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place.”
7.  “And behold I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”
8.  I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me,
9.  but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.”
10. And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near.

It’s interesting to note that heaven provides security and healing, even though enemies are destroyed in the Lake of Fire forever, and sickness will cease to exist. In the last chapter, verse 12, there is a high wall and an angel guarding each gate of the city. If you have ever had a doubt that sometime in eternity, sin or the consequences of sin might revive, this vigilance is recorded to assure the reader that God has secured eternity. The Creator insures and reassures that these maladies will never again return. 

Earthly cities attempt to beautify themselves with trees, parks and rivers or lakes, but the heavenly city seems to be, essentially a park… a well populated park! There is no mention made of buildings, but in this chapter, John is taken inside the city to see, first of all, a river. It is called the River of the Water of Life. The source or fountain of the river is the throne of God and the Lamb. The river is as bright as crystal (1).

Revelation 21

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Chapter 21



1. Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.

2. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

3. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.

4. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

5. And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”  Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

6. And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.

7. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.

8. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”



The New Jerusalem



In Genesis 1:2, the verb that describes the action of the Holy Spirit at the dawn of creation is moved in a number of major versions of the Bible, such as the KJV: "The Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." Moved suggests an extremely broad action to a Hebrew word, which should be much more specific. The first definition for that word in the Strong’s Hebrew dictionary states: A primitive root; to brood. It is the same verb used in Deuteronomy 32:11, where it is usually translated flutters… “Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, that flutters over its young…”



If the Holy Spirit is seen brooding over creation, it adds passion to His movements. Then, when the trinity communes in Genesis 1:26 and states, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness,” we see man’s creation, not only as the main event in creation, but an uncovering of the heart of the Creator. The entire biblical revelation of the purpose of the existence of mankind is that of a being, who is capable of having intimate communion with God. I will not yield to the temptation to go into details that will clearly prove the point, but will simply declare it to be fact, hoping for your acquiescence. When we are talking of creation, we are specifically speaking of the creation of man, male and female, and the rest of the work was to provide an ideal ambiance for his existence.  



In John 14, verses 2 and 3 (AMP version), Jesus speaks to His beloved disciples: “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places (homes). If it were not so, I would have told you; for I am going away to prepare a place for you. And when I go and make ready a place for you, I will come back again and will take you to Myself, that where I am you may be also.” In John 17:24, He pours his heart out to His Father: “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me…” And now, as we draw near the end of the New Testament, John the beloved disciple sees, “the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (2). This is the perfect, eternal ambiance for His followers. He told them that He would prepare a place and here it is, prepared as a bride. It fits their new nature like a glove.


Revelation 20

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Chapter 20



1. Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain.

2. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years,

3. and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while.

4. Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

5. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection.

6. Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.



Leading up to the Millennium



We have a very short account by John, concerning the millennial reign of Christ upon the earth, but the prophets had much to say about it. We will not be able to give an exhaustive study on the subject, because that would easily require a book. However, we will go back to the prophets and pick up more details about this tremendously important period of human prophecy. After six millenniums of man’s rule, the return of Christ brings them to an end and then, He will reign on earth for a final one thousand years. This gives much more sense to God’s creation, after Adam sinned so early in human history and chaos has followed ever since. God will show us an ideal reign through the Prince of Peace, the last Adam. There will be paradise on this planet!



We have just studied the Battle of Armageddon and the destruction of world empires. The beast and the false prophet have been thrown for eternity into the Lake of Fire. There are other events preliminary to the Millennium. One is the Judgment of the Nations, as described in Matthew 25: 31-46. Notice when this takes place: “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne” (Mt.25:31). This will involve the treatment given to Christ’s brothers, according to the flesh, the Jews, during the Great Tribulation. The participants will be divided into two groups, described as sheep and goats. They have carried out the law of their nature, apparently unconscious of the source of their actions, and either aided or neglected the Jews in their tribulation plight.


Revelation 19:10-21

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Dear Friends, please note that I am adding the following two paragraphs to the last article of Rev. 19:1-9. I just put them here for your convenience. Thank you. Everything I do is in flux, and always open for improvement and correction 😃 . The new article starts below with verse 10

“Write this!” (9). This command is common in the book of Revelation, as the canon of Scripture comes to an end. The first human writer, who recorded the words of God, was Moses and God on various occasions, commanded him to write. Israel’s history and literature was written for future generations. God commanded the prophets to write. Luke told Theophilus concerning the Gospels, “Just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you” (Lk.1:2,3). Even Pontius Pilate wrote on the cross, “Jesus of Nazareth, king of the Jews” in the three most important languages of the day. Paul told the Colossians, “When this letter has been read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and also read the letter from Laodicea” (Col.4:16). So the Gospels and the epistles prospered in the early church and hundreds of copies were written to pass along.



That, which is written, is preserved beyond the spoken word and is validated over the spoken word. The Holy Spirit is the Author of all Scripture and He has shown His concern for future generations, seeing to it that His Word has been preserved through writing. It alone holds absolute authority over everything that concerns the people of God. Jesus spoke the written word, in replying to the temptations of the devil. In history, the devil always mounted persecution against the translators of the word, as well as those who have had the word in their possession. To this day, he is attacking those who possess, read and practice the written word. Beware of those, who deny or belittle the whole, or any part, of the written Word. Liberals, who still like to call themselves Christians, question the veracity and authenticity of the Bible. Society largely considers it an antiquated book. Let us give it its rightful place in our hearts, minds and lives and give thanks continually to God, because today we have the full revelation of God’s word. He has faithfully preserved it to this present generation. “These are the true words of God.”

 
Revelation 19:10-21



10. Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

11. Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war.

12. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself.

13. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God.

14. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses.

15. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.

16. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.


Revelation 19:1-9

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Chapter 19



1. After this I heard that seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,

2. for his judgments are true and just; for he has judged the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her immorality, and has avenged on her the blood of his servants.”

3. Once more they cried out, “Hallelujah! The smoke from her goes up forever and ever.”

4. And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who was seated on the throne, saying, “Amen. Hallelujah!”

5. And from the throne came a voice saying, “Praise our God, all you is servants, you who fear him, small and great.”



Heavenly hallelujahs and an amen



These verses describe heavenly praise. Warren Wiersbe comments that this is the heavenly “Hallelujah Chorus”, referring, of course, to that well-known part of Handel’s “Messiah”. Wiersbe would agree wholeheartedly, I’m sure, even though he used this comparison, that the praise that John heard in this chapter far exceeds any comparison with songs that are merely earthly, no matter the fame that they have received.



I know some people who claim that the words hallelujah and amen are religious terms. Sadly, they show their lack of spiritual understanding and, for that reason, their lack of appreciation for heavenly things. Let me ask you a couple questions: What do these words mean to you? Do you think that they are English vocabulary? I believe that they are words that can only receive a proper definition from a “heavenly dictionary". They were given to the Hebrews because, “the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God” (Ro.3:2). They cannot be justly translated into human language and therefore, in the church in every part of the world, Christian pronounce these words, as they were in the original Hebrew language.



While the judgments of God are falling upon the world, there is great joy in heaven, expressed by loud voices of a great multitude. They are voices of prophets, apostles and saints in general, who are now rejoicing in heaven. They begin with the first Hallelujah, which we try to translate, as best we can, Praise the Lord.  In heaven, doubt does not exist, as to the outcome of what is taking place on earth. In spite of everything, the heavenly multitudes give praise to God! He is the fountain of salvation, glory and power and everything is securely in His powerful hand. He is our God and, because that is so, He works salvation, glory and power towards our well-being (1). We, who are still on earth, should continually mix our praises with those in heaven.


Revelation 18

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Chapter 18

1.  After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was made bright with his glory.
2.  And he called out with a mighty voice, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place for demons, a haunt for every unclean spirit, a haunt for every unclean bird, a haunt for every unclean and detestable beast.
3.  For all nations have drunk the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have grown rich from the power of her luxurious living.”
4. Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues;
5.  for her sins are heaped high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.
6.  Pay her back as she herself has paid back others, and repay her double for her deeds; mix a double portion for her in the cup she mixed.
7.  As she glorified herself and lived in luxury, so give her a like measure of torment and mourning, since in her heart she says, ‘I sit as a queen, I am no widow, and mourning I shall never see.’
8. For this reason her plagues will come in a single day, death and mourning and famine, and she will be burned up with fire; for mighty is the Lord God who has judged her.”

Double retribution: “Fallen, fallen”

In chapter 15, we saw the introduction of the seven angels with the seven bowls of wrath and chapter 16 related the act and result of each one being poured out. Similarly in chapter 17, we received an introductory description of Babylon and in this chapter, its actual destruction is detailed.

This is a future, figurative Babylon and I tried to describe it in the last chapter as basically a religious system, but heavily involved with the financial and political situation in the world. Her destruction is total and everlasting. “She has become a dwelling place for demons, a haunt for every unclean spirit, a haunt for every unclean bird, a haunt for every unclean and detestable beast” (v.2) I thought of the fall of literal Babylon, as it was depicted in Isaiah 13, and wondered if that record wasn´t left for us to ponder, as a precedent to the fate that John predicts for this final city.

Here are a few observations from eye witnesses, who visited the ruins of historic Babylon a couple centuries ago. Compare their testimonies with verse 2: “There are many dens of wild beasts in various parts. There are quantities of porcupine quills. In most of the cavities are numberless bats and owls. These caverns, over which the chambers of majesty may have been spread, are now the refuge of jackals and other savage animals.”… “The natives believe that the ghost of Nimrod walks amidst them in the darkness, and no one would venture on so hazardous an experiment (that is, to enter the ruins at night)”…  “All the people of the country assert that it is extremely dangerous to approach the mound after nightfall, on account of the multitude of evil spirits by which it is haunted.”

Revelation 17

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Chapter 17



1.  Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great prostitute who is seated on many waters,

2.  with whom the kings of the earth have committed sexual immorality, and with the wine of whose sexual immorality the dwellers on earth have become drunk.”

3.  And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness, and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of blasphemous names, and it had seven heads and ten horns.

4.  The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her sexual immorality.

5.  And on her forehead was written a name of mystery: “Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth’s abominations.”

6.  And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. When I saw her, I marveled greatly.

7.  But the angel said to me, “Why do you marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman, and of the beast with seven heads and ten horns that carries her.



The prostitute and mother of prostitutes

One of the seven angels of the bowls of wrath reveals the fall of Babylon to John, therefore its fall takes place during the time of the outpouring of the bowls. Verse 19 of the last chapter points us to a spiritual principle, concerning God’s measurement of sin. In that verse, Babylon the great has measured up to the full and the time of her judgment had come. Zechariah, in his seventh vision, brings the same principle to our attention, illustrated by an ephah, a Jewish measurement of about one bushel of dry material (Zech.5:5-11). He sees a receptacle which contains that amount and symbolically, it represented the collective sins of a people in Zechariah’s land that had come to its fullness.



The sins of the people in the time of Noah reached this point and in Genesis 15:16, God tells Abraham that the sins of the Amorites was not yet complete. That would happen in another four generations. Daniel told King Belshazzar, “You have been weighed on the scales and found deficient” (Dn.5:20, 22, 27). Belshazzar’s ephah is full of deficiency! Jesus said to the Jews of His day, “Fill up, then, the measure of the guilt of your fathers” (Mt.23:32).



In the ephah is a woman representing the sin of the people and it is carried into Shinar, originally Babel, and later Babylon. The “ephah people” are taken into the land of false religion and idolatry. This woman becomes a part of the great Babylonian harlot. Scofield comments, concerning Babylon in Revelation: “The professing Gentile church at that time, condoning every iniquity of the rich, doctrinally a mere “confusion”, as the name indicates, and corrupted to the core by commercialism, wealth, and luxury, falls under the judgment of God.”

Update 2019: Articles Most Read


 
You will notice that all of these most read articles are dated from the year 2016, when I did an expositional study in Isaiah. Therefore, most of these articles are from that book. That year we had a great upsurge in visitors to our English blog and, naturally, they mostly read the current articles. Visits to some excellent older articles were outnumbered, and therefore I will continue to provide their titles, dates and links, which appear after the 10 most read articles up to June of 2018, followed by the update to June of this year. 

The order changes a bit, when the numbers are updated and also a new article appears among the ten. The update to 2019 also provides a short summary of each article and I do the same for the older articles below them. I hope, if you have not read these articles, that you will take time to do so.

Our grandson, John, created this blogspot in 2011 and so the statistics are dated from that time. As of today, the total number of visits to this English blog has risen to 149,749. This past year we have had 25,498 visits. When we add the visits to our Spanish blogspot, the total number of visits increases to 401,458 and the number over the last year to 75,378 (obviously, we have many more Spanish than English readers).
           

Revelation 16

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Chapter 16

1.  Then I heard a loud voice from the temple telling the seven angels, “Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God.”
2.  So the first angel went and poured out his bowl on the earth, and harmful and painful sores came upon the people who bore the mark of the beast and worshiped its image.
3.  The second angel poured out his bowl into the sea, and it became like the blood of a corpse, and every living thing died that was in the sea.
4.  The third angel poured out his bowl into the rivers and the springs of water, and they became blood.
5.  And I heard the angel in charge of the waters say, “Just are you, O Holy One, who is and who was, for you brought these judgments.
6.  For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and you have given them blood to drink. It is what they deserve!”
7.  And I heard the altar saying, “Yes, Lord God the Almighty, true and just are your judgments!”
8.  The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and it was allowed to scorch people with fire.
9.  They were scorched by the fierce heat, and they cursed the name of God who had power over these plagues. They did not repent and give him glory.
10. The firth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and its kingdom was plunged into darkness. People gnawed their tongues in anguish.
11. and cursed the God of heaven for their pain and sores. They did not repent of their deeds.
12. The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, to prepare the way for the kings from the east.
13. And I saw, coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs.
14. For they are demonic spirits, performing signs, who go abroad to the kings of the whole world, to assemble them for battle on the great day of God the Almighty.

Pouring out the bowls of wrath

The time has arrived for the seven angels to pour out the final bowls of wrath upon the earth. The time is easily dated in the last 3 ½ years of the Great Tribulation. The empire of the antichrist has been established and the entire population, except for the faithful servants of God, has received his mark and are worshipers of the antichrist image. The angels step out of the heavenly sanctuary (15:6), the throne room of God, at His command, to accomplish their task.

Revelation 15

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Chapter 15



1. Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and amazing, seven angels with seven plagues, which are the last, for with them the wrath of God is finished.

2. And I saw what appeared to be a sea of glass mingled with fire – and also those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name, standing beside the sea of glass with harps of God in their hands.

3. And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, “Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations!

4. Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.”

5. After this I looked, and the sanctuary of the tent of witness in heaven was opened,

6. and out of the sanctuary came the seven angels with the seven plagues, clothed in pure, bright linen, with golden sashes around their chests.

7. And one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God who lives forever and ever,

8. and the sanctuary was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power, and no one could enter the sanctuary until the seven plagues of the seven angels were finished.



There are three series of seven judgments in the book of Revelation. In chapter 6 and in 8:1, we learn of seven seals, which had the power to destroy a fourth part of all that they effected. They seemed to involve calamities that man brought upon himself. In chapter 8, 9 and 11:15, we studied seven trumpets bringing judgments, which showed signs of demonic activity, and they destroyed 1/3 of all, into which they delved. This chapter begins to relate the woes of seven bowls, which come entirely from the wrath of God and they bring unlimited destruction, upon everything and everyone on which they fall.



By the time that the Bible student comes to this part of Revelation, he should have developed a correct theology concerning God’s wrath. No one with a normal personality derives any pleasure from the subject, but, on the proof of Scripture, he is obligated to acknowledge that wrath is necessarily a part of God’s character. I cannot imagine anyone lacking this understanding, who will find any profit from reading chapters 15 through 20.


Revelation 14

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Chapter 14



1.  Then I looked, and behold, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads.

2.  And I heard a voice from heaven like the roar of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder. The voice I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps,

3.  and they were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth.

4.  It is these who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins. It is these who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These have been redeemed from mankind as firstfruits for God and the Lamb,

5.  and in their mouth no lie was found, for they are blameless.



The Lamb and 144,000



Now, we will learn of several things which will occur during the 3 ½ years of the Great Tribulation and I will simply bring them to your attention. The tribes of Israel, the number of apostles and the 24 elders in heaven, all have to do with the number 12. Of course 144,000 is also a multiple of 12. This chapter begins with a picture of the Lamb on Mount Zion, accompanied by 144,000 disciples. They are in sharp contrast to those in 13:16, who receive the number and name of the beast. We have a great number of faithful, loyal followers of the Lamb, who hung in shame on Golgotha, but now stands triumphant with the choicest people on earth in the eyes of God. They may not be among the governmental rulers, the high ranking military officials, the intellectual giants, or the greatest examples of physical strength, but before heaven’s throne these are the finest of creation, the prime product of the earth.



I have already stated that the contents of this chapter seem to unfold during the Great Tribulation, which is evident by the fall of Babylon in verse 8 and the mark of the beast in verse 9. The Lamb and the 144,000 are positioned on Mount Zion (v.1), but the context seems to indicate that this is not literal Zion on earth, but heavenly Zion. Verse 3 shows that only the 144,000 could sing a new song and that song was sung before the throne, the living creatures and the elders. Zion is the southern hill in the city of Jerusalem and the seat of divine worship on earth. It became emblematic of the dwelling place of God in heaven.


Revelation 13

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Chapter 13

1.  And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads.
2.  And the beast that I saw was like a leopard; its feet were like a bear’s, and its mouth was like a lion’s mouth. And to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority.
3.  One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth marveled as they followed the beast.
4.  And they worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?”
5.  And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months.
6.  It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven.
7.  Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation,
8.  and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.
9.  If anyone has an ear, let him hear:
10. If anyone is to be taken captive, to captivity he goes; if anyone is to be slain with the sword, with the sword must he be slain. Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.

The end-time beast

Here we can see that the events of Revelation do not appear strictly in chronological order. Already in chapter 11 we have been introduced to the beast, who is now described to us in this chapter, as he rises out of the ‘sea’. It is essential to study Daniel’s prophecies before attempting to interpret the book of Revelation, especially as they relate to the beast and his kingdom. King Nebuchadnezzar saw this same prophecy in a dream, but in the form of a great image. The final kingdom is seen as the ten toes on the image.  

Revelation 12

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Chapter 12


1.  And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.

2.  She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth.

3. And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems.

4. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she bore her child he might devour it.

5.  She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne,

6.  and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days.

7.  Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back,

8.  but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven.

9.  And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world – he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.

10. And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.

11. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.

12. Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!”

13. And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child.

14. But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time.

15. The serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, to sweep her away with a flood.

16. But the earth came to the help of the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed the river that the dragon had poured from his mouth.

17. Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea.


Revelation 11

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Chapter 11



 1.  Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff, and I was told, “Rise and measure the temple of God and the altar and those who worship there,

2.  but do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for forty-two months.



Two witnesses
The rebuilt temple (a compromise)



I neglected to point out an important difference in translation in chapter 5, verse 9, when we covered it. The four living creatures and the 24 elders prostrated before the Lamb and sang a new song. In the song, the King James Version states, “(Thou) hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests; and we shall reign on the earth.”  That would give great weight to the argument that the 24 elders are the church in heaven. However, the better translation and the one followed by almost all versions, including the Greek/English Interlineal New Testament, does not use the pronoun we and us, but they and them. That might indicate that the church is not yet in heaven in chapter 5.



During the Time of the Gentiles, that is the Church Era, there will be redemption among every nation, that is, every governmental area; every tongue, that is, every language group; every tribe, that is, a clan with a common ancestor, and people, that is, an ethnic group or race. As explained in chapter ten, the Jewish period that Daniel outlined stopped at the crucifixion and the time for the redemption of the Gentile people began.



Still the great majority of saints in the early church were Jewish, before the conversion of Paul. It is clear then, that there was, for all practical purposes, an overlapping of these times. It is logical that the Gentile period might overlap the Jewish time schedule in the last seven years.


Children of the Day

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 Children of the Day (Prelude to chapter 11)

 

Day breaks in Aniak, Alaska
Because this is a book of prophecies of the end times, students of eschatology search from beginning to end, looking for the rapture of the church. They want to know where and when it occurs among all the events in the book. I used to hear frequently that John represented the church, when he heard a voice like a trumpet that said, “Come up here…” (v.4:1). I don’t hear that claim very much now and I don’t know the reason why. However, the majority of people, who hold the view that Revelation prophesies of future events and of a literal Millennium, still feel that the rapture takes place after the messages to the churches in chapters 2 and 3 and before the scene that takes place in chapters 4 and 5. That is called the pre-tribulation rapture view…. simply that Christ will come for His church before Daniel’s 70th Week. 

Others believe that the rapture takes place, when Christ returns as described in Revelation 19 at the end of the tribulation; that is the post-tribulation rapture viewpoint. Verse 7 of that chapter announces the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, after which Christ is presented, sitting on a white horse. They teach that, almost simultaneously, the church will rise to meet the Lord in the air and then will follow Him to earth. They will enter with Him into the Millennium and reign with Him upon the earth.

One things is for sure: Because of the spiritual nature of the writer, John, and because of the style of his book, the rapture is not easy to find here. The apostle Paul laid it out so clearly for us in his epistles (that I asked you to contemplate at the end of the last chapter), but that is not John’s way. With the help of Paul’s descriptions of the rapture, we must try to find the place, where it occurs in Revelation. A friend of mine, who taught expertly on this subject, used to say: “There is no other place like this place, anywhere near this place, so this must be the place!” There is humor in that remark, but it describes quite well the puzzle that we will try to solve.

Revelation 10

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Chapter 10

1.  Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven, wrapped in a cloud, with a rainbow over his head, and his face was like the sun, and his legs like pillars of fire.
2.  He had a little scroll open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea, and his left foot on the land,
3.  and called out with a loud voice, like a lion roaring. When he called out, the seven thunders sounded.
4.  And when the seven thunders had sounded, I was about to write, but I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Seal up what the seven thunders have said, and do not write it down.”
5.  And the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven
6.  and swore by him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and what is in it, the earth and what is in it, and the sea and what is in it, that there would be no more delay.
7.  but that in the days of the trumpet call to be sounded by the seventh angel, the mystery of God would be fulfilled, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.
8.  Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me again, saying, “Go, take the scroll that is open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.”
9.  So I went to the angel and told him to give me the little scroll. And he said to me, “Take and eat it; it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey.”
10. And I took the little scroll from the hand of the angel and ate it. It was sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it my stomach was made bitter.
11. And I was told, “You must again prophesy about many peoples and nations and languages and kings.”

A mighty Angel with divine characteristics

Since chapter 6, we have been involved with events that will take place at the opening of seals or the sounding of trumpets. In this chapter and following through 11 and 12, we will follow a chronology. This chapter begins with a description of a mighty angel, unlike any other in the book of Revelation. In fact, throughout the entire Bible, we do not find any angel similar to this one, with the exception of certain characteristics of the one called, specifically, the Angel of the Lord. We believe that the Angel of the Lord is a Christophany, or God, the Son, revealing Himself in the Old Testament.

Not all the commentators are in agreement, so there is room for other opinions, but because of the details surrounding Him, it seems to me that the majestic Angel in this chapter is Christ. Therefore, from this point, I will capitalize the “A”. It is somewhat puzzling that He should come in this form so late in the New Testament, when, from the beginning of the book of Revelation, He comes in His glorified form and is easily identified. However later, we also hear of the Lion of the tribe of Judah and the Lamb that was slain, therefore perhaps it is not so strange that He should manifest Himself as a mighty Angel, as well.