How it all ends, the book of Revelation. Our 14th installment. Do you understand the final war? If I ask you in a quiz what the final war is you might think of Armageddon, or maybe you think of the one that’s right after the millennium, but those are not really it. Those are just skirmishes. The final war, in one of the greatest and clearest, and most sweeping prophetic passages, which you probably already have studied or will, Daniel 9:24-27, God explains that all of human history swirls around the Jewish people, the people God has chosen called Israel. God says all history swirls around them and the city that God has chosen, which is called Jerusalem, is mentioned over 800 times. It’s the most mentioned place in the Bible.
Jerusalem, the Jews, and the third temple are the trigger, the fuse that ignites that war we call and the Bible refers to as Armageddon, but actually it’s a bigger battle. I call it a cosmic battle, World War III. Although they’re saying in the news that what we’re seeing in Ukraine is the beginning of World War III, I guess that’s true. Everything we’re seeing, according to Jesus, about wars and rumors of wars and the birth pains, all of them are leading to a crescendo. So, that’s true.
However, the real World War III the Bible talks about involves Iran attacking Jerusalem and Satan’s expression of his endless hatred for the Jewish people. That’s what God calls this massive battle that’s going on. It’s Satan knowing God’s placed His name on a group of people and a city, Jerusalem and the Jewish people and the nation of Israel. Satan knows God put His name on them so Satan wants to get rid of them to show that God can’t keep His word, that God can’t be trusted and he wants to defeat God. That’s the big war. What we see today is one expression of that, the conflict between Satan and God and that war in Heaven.
Where we are, we’re only at the third of the seven stops on our journey. It’s the main message in the center of the book of Revelation, the Tribulation events, they go back and forth between Heaven and Earth. That’s exactly what we’re going to see as we look at chapter 14. That’s the red block there, the Tribulation. The next big event is going to be Christ’s coming, but what triggers all that is what we see in Revelation chapter 11. Okay.
Revelation chapter 11 tells us something’s going on. In your Bibles, if you’re there it says in verse 1 of chapter 11, “Then I was given.” So John, remember he’s narrating. He’s actually there. John is in the future. He’s seeing it happen. That’s a little hard for us. It hasn’t happened. It’s in the future. That’s because we are bound by time, but John briefly is allowed to come up where God is.
Do you remember how the Bible describes God’s presence? God continually sees the end from the beginning. He sees it all at once. Have you ever thought about that? God does not see like we do, at this moment. Oh, now that moment is gone. We’re in this moment, now we’re in the next moment. We’re in this continual progression of moments. No, God sees it all. The whole spectrum from beginning to end all at the same time, it’s fascinating.
In physics, that’s called dimensionality, which means that for each dimension, the further up you are you see more and more of them. Time for us is a dimension that we’re bound by. If you’re above it, you would see time and also length and breadth and height. All of those things are dimensions and when you’re above it, you would look down and you’d see the whole thing. How many dimensions there are? We don’t know, but there’s certainly one beyond ours because you see people going beep beep, beep beep. Angels appear and they disappear. Do you think they went off to some distant place? No. God says that we live before His face.
I’ll show you how as a little boy I pondered this because remember I think in pictures. I could not figure out how I could live before the face of God. One day I was in my room at my desk looking at my little ant farm. It was about the size of my Bible. An ant farm is very narrow, two pieces of plastic or glass with a lid. It’s all sealed and has a little hole that you drip in water and give them food. Most of the time you were looking and they lived completely in your sight. It was so thin they couldn’t have any of their little trails or nests that I couldn’t see, it wasn’t thick enough for them to put up walls or curtains. I saw all of them, but they couldn’t see me, they constantly lived their life before my eyes, before my face. None of them saw me there. I would poke at it and they just kept walking. I’d do something like shine lights at them and they didn’t ever notice me, but they were before my face all the time.
Did you know in a real sense your life right now is inside an ant farm that’s bound by the physical universe in which you live and the progression of time? You are sitting and I am standing this very instant right in front of the throne of God. In fact seated on His throne watching you as you got up this morning, and as you got near the edge of your bed, He waited to see if you would land in that circle and say, God, I am Your servant. You started the day last night. The evening and the morning are the next day. You started last night, and I’m just joining in with what You started. What do You want me to do today? See, that’s the whole idea of Paul. “I beseech you therefore, brethren,” brothers, and sisters in Christ, “that you present your bodies a living sacrifice.” We’re still alive, but we offer ourselves back to God. We’re living in front of the face of God.
Look at what happens in chapter 11. John is up there seeing the future as God does and he was given a reed. He actually could go blip blip in and out of our dimension. He goes into the future and he measures. Look, he measures. “Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there.” What is this? This is the End of Days third temple in Jerusalem.
I showed you a few pictures of the temple of Solomon, what it probably looked like on the left. Also, an archeological view of what the temple of Herod, the second temple, looked like on the right. What we see in the scriptures is that the third temple has arrived. It’s there in the future. It’s there during the Tribulation. When God asked John to measure the temple’s holy place and Holy of Holies at Jerusalem, He reminded John that God owns that city.
Did you know if you’re ever going to be in business there’s a great axiom, a truth, a principle of business? You can’t manage anything you can’t, what? Measure. They always tell you that in business seminars. If you’re an effective manager, you’re not managing some department if you’re not measuring all the things; the employees, their output, their cost, and their productivity. You’re measuring that. Business is about managing by measuring things. Okay. God says that belongs to Me. That’s why I’m measuring it. I own that city, I own that temple that will be built during the Tribulation.
By the way, Daniel saw that temple in Daniel 9:27 and 12:11. Jesus saw that temple in Matthew 24:15 And Paul saw that temple in 2 Thessalonians 2:4. I’ll tell you what, if Daniel and Paul and John and Jesus all saw something you can be sure it’s real. They all talk about the very same place that we’re seeing. It’s called the third temple. Why is that? The first temple was Solomon’s, he built it from 970 to 950 approximately.
The second temple was Herod’s. He enlarged and aggrandized Zerubbabel’s temple from the return of the exiles. He did that starting in 20 BC then died and it finally got finished. Remember they said over 40 years the temple has been under construction. Yeah, they were still working on it. When you get to go to Israel, any of you that do, you can see right where they stopped. When you walk through what’s called the Rabbinic Tunnel, which goes from what we call the Wailing Wall, the Western wall, and it punches through under the city. You follow the Herodian’s stones that are unbelievably large. Some of them were 580 metric tons. We always tell the groups to take out their credit card and you can’t stick a credit card between the 580 ton blocks, they’re so closely lined up together. You keep walking on them and they’re beautiful and they’re finished, but you get near the end. You’re almost under what we would call the Antonia Fortress, it’s called the Sisters of Zion Convent today in modern Jerusalem up above. You’re down below in the 1st century level and all of a sudden the rocks aren’t finished anymore. They still have protruding little holders they used to move them and cart them along. They just stopped building Herod’s temple. They ran out of money and they just left it. That was the second temple. It was of course destroyed during the siege of Jerusalem in AD 70.
The third Temple’s right here in Revelation 11 and it’s built sometime. The temple faithful they’re called, a group of Jewish people that want to build their temple, in Jerusalem they have their own little place where they’re making the high priest garments. They’re building replicas of all the temple fixtures and every year they have this thing and they call it a cornerstone. It’s a huge rock that they’ve made out of limestone and they put it on a cart and the whole temple faithful group, hundreds of them, all pull that rock and try and take it up on the Temple Mount like they’re putting up the cornerstone of their new temple. Every year the rioters, the one that controls the Temple Mount, the waqfs it’s called, the Arab presence, resist them. Every year the police have to come and they have to surround these people with their cornerstone and they pull it back and put it back in the storage room. They do it every year and cause a riot every year because they want to build this temple. It’s not because they’ve read Revelation 11. They don’t even believe Revelation 11. They just want to do it and something is going to happen, someone is going to happen. We’re going to meet him later on today.
The Anti-Christ finally resolves the Arab-Israeli conflict. Clinton tried, remember Camp David, and everybody’s tried over the years. The Anti-Christ does it and he allows the Dome of the Rock to stay. He gives permission for the Jews to build their temple right next to it. How do we know that? Look back, look at the wording. “But leave out the court,” verse 2, “which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for 42 months.” You see there’s this outer court. If you were building a Jewish temple and there was an Islamic shrine you would not consider that to be holy, neither one would, but the Anti-Christ gets them to work together. He allows them to reinstitute sacrifices. Interesting.
Then there’s a final temple. We’re going to run into that in our second to last hour. That is God’s visitor center. It’s the millennial temple. It’s huge. I’ll show you a picture of it. It’s 25,000 cubits. 25,000 cubits is 37,000 feet. That’s seven miles wide and seven miles this way. It’s kind of like when you go to Washington DC and that area between the Washington Monument and it goes all the way down the avenue. You can see the reflecting pool and all that. It’s only seven miles wide, seven miles long, this huge plaza with a temple in the middle. Those are the four temples, the ones the Bible talks about.
There’s a future Jewish temple during the Tribulation. It’s in Jerusalem. Jesus saw in Matthew 24. Paul saw it in 2 Thessalonians 2. Daniel saw it in Daniel 9, and John sees it in Revelation 11. It marks the career of the Anti-Christ. You say how do you know that? Verse 2 tells us, “leave out the court…and do not measure it.” It’s been tread “underfoot for 42 months. And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy.” Oh, now we’ve got something else, the two witnesses. So, we have a temple and then we have God sending these two evangelists that are fire calling, they’re invulnerable, unbelievable. We’ll talk about them. “They will prophesy 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.” They’re mourning the Anti-Christ, the condition of the world, and the unbelief of Israel. “These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the Earth. And if anyone wants to harm them, fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies.” These guys are amazing. “If anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this manner.” Moses and Elijah both had these similar powers. No rain can fall, verse 6, during the days of their prophecy. “They have power over waters to turn them to blood,” like Moses. “To strike the Earth with all plagues,” like Moses, whenever they want to. They can make it stop raining. They can send plagues. They are primarily God’s instruments trying to point Israel back to Him.
The career of the Anti-Christ is here stated to be 42 months or the last three and a half years of the seven year Tribulation. This is a period when God protects the Jews in the wilderness. We’re going to see that in the next chapter, 12 verses 6 and 14. The coming world leader, commonly known as the Anti-Christ, has 33 titles in the Old Testament. Remember the book of Revelation doesn’t have anything new. It’s just codifying and making a beautiful cover picture from all those amazing prophecies. In the Old Testament, the Anti-Christ is promised to come with 33 different titles and he has 13 different titles in the New Testament. One of these titles is “the prince who is to come,” from Daniel 9:26 and 27. The prophecy is that the people of this prince would destroy the city and the sanctuary. This reference is to the Romans. What it says in Daniel is the same people that are going to come and destroy Jerusalem in AD 70, their prince who’s going to be from the same people is going to come and allow this new temple to be built. That’s where we get to the idea of the revived Roman empire.
Do you want to know the problem with the revived Roman empire? If I had my map that I showed you last week of the Roman empire, remember that one with the Mediterranean in the middle, and I showed you Patmos and all that? If you look at that map today, half of all the Roman empire is Islamic. The areas in the Bible times that were the Roman empire, all of Northern Africa, all the way around, the Levant as it’s called, the Holy Land, all the way up into Turkey, that whole stretch is Islamic and guess what? Because of the Arab Spring and the millions of Islamic people that all ran and boated. Do you remember they were floating and going in life vests and all those tragic pictures of the people that were drowning? They flooded Europe, millions of them.
The birth rate of modern secular Europe is 1.8 children per couple. So, two people produce 1.8 children. I always wonder about the 0.8 part. Do you know what I mean? That’s an average. What we’re saying about Europe is they’re not able to perpetuate European civilization. They have a very low birth rate, they’re declining. Japan is declining. Russia is declining. Many countries are declining. Their birth rates aren’t enough to keep them at least level. They were going down until the millions of Islamic refugees came.
Guess what? The average Islamic family has six to eight children. You just plug that into your Excel chart on your Microsoft software you guys have. You have a European birth rate of 1.8. You have an Islamic birth rate of eight, or 6.8 or something. They have projected that France will be a majority Muslim within 30 years. England, within 20 some years. Belgium, Italy, Spain, Portugal, all of them within your lifetime if the Lord tarries, they’re all going to be Islamic. They’re going to be a majority of Muslims. Western Europe is no longer going to be Judeo-Christian, it is going to be Muslim.
Do you know what’s fascinating? If you look at that map of the Roman empire, and if the Bible scholars are right that this coming world leader has something to do with the Romans. Bible scholars see the future prince as from an area of the Roman empire, which is now more than 50% Islamic and within 20 years is going to be majority Islamic. Isn’t it interesting that when the Anti-Christ kills enemies of the state, how does he do it? Beheading. When ISIS marches out the people in the orange outfits that are bound and have to get on their knees with their hands bound and they bow forward and they videotape. Do you remember any of that a few years ago? How did they kill them? Beheading. That’s the Islamic way of capital punishment. None of this electric chair stuff and lethal injection or firing squad. You behead them. That’s what the Anti-Christ does. So, it’s very possible.
Do you want something interesting to think about? The coming world leader, if he is from the area of the Roman empire, could very easily be a Muslim. Fascinating. He negotiates with his own, the Muslim people, to allow the Jews to live in peace and build their temple. He is amazing. We’ll talk about him, it’s just fascinating to study prophecy.
The two witnesses arrive, we already read that in verse 3. Again, God introduces us to His team members. This time the two witnesses are especially testifying to Israel, that’s their purpose, their need for the Messiah. They serve for 42 months or 1,260 days, which is three and a half years until the Anti-Christ slays them. You notice that God said, and we already covered this in Smyrna, that just because you serve the Lord doesn’t mean you escape death. It doesn’t mean you escape persecution. It doesn’t mean you escape all the troubles. These two witnesses are invulnerable until they finish the course. Remember Paul said, I fought the good fight. I’ve kept the faith. I’ve finished the course. I’ve run all the agonizing laps of the stadium that God wanted me to run and now they’re marching me outside to a mile marker I don’t remember. We were just in Rome and there’s mile marker number 13 I think of the Roman road system where they marched citizens out that had to be executed. They took them way outside the city so no one would see it and Paul was taken out there and beheaded because he was a Roman citizen.
He wrote half the Bible. He didn’t escape martyrdom. Same for the members of the church in Smyrna. The same for the two witnesses and very possibly the same for the 144,000. We’re going to bump into them today. They go into all the world during the plagues, they don’t get killed by the plagues. They go into all the world during all those horrible things. By the time we get to chapter 14, they’re all in Heaven now. How did they get there? Most likely like the apostles, like the people of Smyrna, like the two witnesses, they suffer. Don’t think that serving the Lord somehow makes us impervious to, as again Mark Strout says there are many trials.
The messianic Jewish revival comes because of their work. In verse 4 John draws from Zechariah 3 and 4, the Old Testament minor prophet. Zechariah chapter 3, chapter 4 talks about the two olive trees and the lampstands that spark a revival in the Old Testament times, speaking of a future, and now we’re seeing it. Zechariah says there’s going to be a future revival here in the Tribulation among God’s chosen people of promise.
This is everything that the two witnesses, the Bible tells us about them. They are measuring the outer court of the Gentiles so that means a temple is allowed to be there and for 42 months it’s overrun, trampled. The two witnesses are empowered. They can call down fire from Heaven and shut the heavens with no rain as Elijah did. They can turn water into blood like Moses, they can smite the Earth with plagues.
That’s why God never tells us who they are. He just tells us what they do. There are all kinds, some people think it should be Elijah and Enoch because both of those were translated to Heaven. They’re great candidates. Why did Jesus show Himself and talk about all that was ahead on the Mount of Transfiguration with Moses and Elijah? There are clues, but God doesn’t name them so we don’t need to know. The beasts from the abyss, that’s the Greek word abyssos, kill them. The Earth dwellers celebrate. They’re resurrected after three and a half days. That’s the complete history of the two witnesses.
They serve in verses 5 and 6 and like I said I already read everything that happens. God’s protecting them. We don’t need to speculate. The clue is probably the Mount of Transfiguration because Christ is in this brilliant, blinding glory like He’s going to be. Remember how Paul describes the Second Coming in 2 Thessalonians 1:7? In flaming fire, He descends from taking vengeance on His enemies and consuming them. That’s what they were talking about.
Look at verse 7. “When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit.” That’s another one of the titles of this 33 in the Old Testament, and 13 in the New Testament. Here’s one of them. The beast, not just any beast. Remember there are others. Daniel is talking about beasts looking at the Persian Empire and the Babylonian Empire, all that. This is the beast, not one of the many beasts, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit.
Wait a minute, is the Anti-Christ human, or is he one of these, like yesterday’s Abaddon, destroyer, Apollyon? No, he is a human, but he is an example just like when you look at Paul, you can see what someone 100% filled with the Holy Spirit can do. When you look at the Anti-Christ, you can see what someone 100% filled with the unholy spirit, with the spirit of Satan can do. He’s a human, but the Anti-Christ is indwelt from the one from the bottomless pit. It’s just the incarnation we could say of Satan. He makes war against the two witnesses, he overcomes them, and he kills them. The worst human to ever live. He is the beast in chapter 11 of Revelation ascending from the bottomless pit and then he’s later introduced, we’ll see today, as the Anti-Christ in Revelation 13.
Next, look at verse 8, and we already covered this yesterday, but it says “and their dead bodies,” verse 8, “will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt where also our Lord was crucified.” It is Jerusalem. “Then those from the peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations will see their dead bodies for three and a half days.” Either we have everybody in the world traveling to the Middle East, to Jerusalem, all going on a Holy Land trip, or as we talked about they’re all watching it on social media. Their dead bodies for three and a half days will not be allowed to be put into the grave. It’s a global event, verse 10. “And those who dwell on the Earth will rejoice over them, make merry, and send gifts to one another.” What a hard heartedness celebrating the massacre of two holy, righteous, sackcloth wearing representatives of God. The whole world, it says, rejoices because these prophets tormented those who dwell on the Earth.
“After the three and a half days the breath of life from God entered them.” Can you imagine? The people in Jerusalem are all serving the world and everyone will take turns. They get their phone out and they live stream it. Somebody is going to be sipping their coffee and they’re celebrating the end of these bad guys. They’re probably walking right up to them and they’re showing how the Anti-Christ killed them and all of a sudden they stand up. They don’t just stand up, they’re fully alive and they go floating up. Can you imagine the scene? The world is horrified as they’re all watching as it’s shown in all the places they have TV’s going. Have you ever eaten out and there were eight TVs? I like to sit there and count how many televisions there are. Americans can’t eat at these restaurants unless there’s a television. Every direction you look. Can you imagine what it will be like when all televisions are synchronized with that person’s feed? Unbelievable.
The whole world watches, that’s global digital media. Earth dwellers rejoice. By the way, the word Earth dwellers is code, it’s God’s description of a lost person. You know how Christians sing this world is not my home, I’m just passing through, my treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue? An Earth dweller is the opposite. This world is everything and they’re going to cling to it, the Earth. This is where they want to live. This is where all their treasures are. This is Mother Earth. You understand where their life comes from and everything. That’s what God calls lost people 11 times. Look at the references. 3:10, 6:10 of Revelation. 8:13, twice in 11:10, 13:8, 13:12, twice in 13:14, 14:6, and 17:8. Wow. An Earth dweller is not a positive term to God.
Remember what it says in Hebrews 11? These all look for a Heavenly city. They said we’re pilgrims and strangers on Earth. We don’t feel comfortable here. Now, there is a great test. Mark’s last hour was talking about Abraham and the test of his faith and everything. Do you know what a great test today is for us? How comfortable do you feel here?
I thought it was really interesting when we were raising our children, Bonnie and I were blessed with eight wonderful children. They all got their mother’s good looks and they got the sin nature for me. That shows you the balance in our family. Our youth pastor used to have to talk to me about our kids because whenever they acted like me and got in trouble, he’d come and talk to me. It was kind of hard because I’m his boss, but he’s watching over my children. I remember one time the youth pastor came and he said, you know what? Your children are different. He said they seem out of sync. They were one of the few homeschooled kids in the youth group and every other kid in the youth group, all of them were marching to the same thing. The public school was doing this and everybody was clamoring to either have the latest thing that everybody else had or do the latest thing everybody else was doing. He said, and your children are out of sync. I thought that was a compliment, a backdoor one, but what he was saying is they don’t act like they feel at home here. Do you know what the Bible says? This world isn’t our home, we’re pilgrims. That means we’re going somewhere else. We’re strangers. That means we don’t fit in.
That’s why Peter said the Early Church was persecuted. You all know that, right? Look back at 1 Peter 4 and see what Peter said. If I can find it, 1 Peter 4. Ah, it’s verse 12. 1 Peter 4:12. “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice.” No, that’s not the one I wanted. It’s the one that says they think it’s strange that you, oh, here we go. Verse 4, it’s 1 Peter 4:4. “In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you.” Because you’re not going along with all the stuff they’re going along with and that’s part of why the Early Church got persecuted.
The Roman empire started having public displays in their theaters of immorality. We have R-rated and mature-rated media on Netflix and everything else so you can watch someone committing fornication or adultery or whatever. That was not on the screen, that was in person. They used to have entertainment of sexuality. Remember they already didn’t wear any clothes in the gym so people would come to the theater to watch the latest thing of immorality. You know what? When people got saved, they stopped going to the theater. Then when they started doing the bloody, gladiatorial stuff, Christians stopped going to that. Christians would not be entertained with gratuitous violence, bloodshed, immorality, nudity, or anything to do with the occult. There, you just got rid of almost everything the Roman entertainment was about. Earth dwellers love that.
They also send gifts, in the middle of number seven there. That’s global connectivity and communication. When God resurrects the two witnesses and takes them to Heaven in the cloud, the stunned world watches in utter disbelief. Then look at what happens in verse 13. I love it. Some get shaken. Remember I told you that when Ukraine started and all these terrible times came, there came an unbelievable interest in the Bible? People got shaken. Look at 11:13. “In the same hour” as the two witnesses were going up, “there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. In the earthquake seven thousand people were killed and the rest were afraid.” Look at this “and gave glory to the God of Heaven.”
Look at this, some get shaken enough to glorify God. The earthquake prompts a response of faith in some who glorify God and probably are a partial fulfillment of what Zechariah 12:10 and 13:1 predicted, as well as Paul in Romans 11. After the two witnesses finish their ministry and God resurrects them and the Earth just convulses, a bunch of Jewish people come to faith. What a blessing.
I have to talk a little faster. Hardened Earth dwellers shake their fists at God. Look at what it says in verse 8. They are letting their bodies stay there and they’re rejoicing over them. The people’s response to all God does shows their utter disregard for the Creator. Remember Psalm 2 says “the nations were angry.” Fallen human hearts are so deceitful and Jeremiah 17:9 says the heart is “desperately wicked” and who can know it? That’s a reminder of how evil we can be. Stonehard and damnably impenitent is what we see. Especially right there in the 18th verse, “The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, And the time of the dead, that they should be judged, And that You should reward Your servants the prophets.” Wow. “And those who fear Your name.” Wow.
Look at verse 19. God’s wrath and justice are holy. This is fascinating. “The temple of God was opened in Heaven.” Do you remember when the Bible talks about Moses going up on Mount Sinai for 40 days, meeting with God in the thunder and cloud and smoke, and the children of Israel were scared and the ground was shaking? Do you remember all that? What did God show him up there? He didn’t just write the 10 commandments, He showed him the architectural plans for the tabernacle and temple. It says which God showed him. The book of Hebrews says that God showed Moses on the Mount, when he was up there. Look what we’re seeing here. There’s actually a temple in Heaven. It’s not there when we get to 21:22. It says God becomes the temple, but right now, while God is unfurling and unrolling and accomplishing His plan, there is an actual building that angels come in and out of carrying censers and all this stuff, and it has altars and everything.
The Ark. Remember Raiders of the Lost Ark? Well, we found the Ark. There it is. The Ark of His covenant is in the temple in Heaven, not the one that Solomon watched over its construction, the temple and the Ark was put in there. Not the one that Moses gave the plans and was built by the Jewish people in the wilderness, not that Ark. The Ark that Moses was shown to copy one for the Earth is up in Heaven.
Look at this. “There were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail.” That gets people’s attention. What it’s saying is that God’s wrath and justice are holy. In verse 19 do you remember how God tore open the temple curtain exposing the Holy of Holies when Christ was crucified? Do you remember the five mighty signs from Calvary? One of them was that the temple veil was torn. There was an earthquake. Do you remember that? It got dark for six hours. Do you remember what else the Lord did? He reached in the graves and it says saints that were dead and buried came to life, but didn’t come out. This is Matthew 27. They didn’t come out of the graves until Christ came out. The resurrection and the whole crucifixion event were huge, which I’m sure you’re studying in some class, the Gospels, God parallels one piece of that. Just like the temple veil was torn from the top to the bottom in the temple in Jerusalem, now God throws open the Holy of Holies for us to see. We see God opening the temple in Heaven as a reminder of His promised redemption as the end draws near, but always remember that God’s wrath is holy and just.
Really quickly, this worship we see in verse 19 was the opening of the Ark, the temple from verses 17 and 18, all this giving of thanks. Worship as described by the Bible is quickening our conscience by God’s holiness. That’s why every time worship in Heaven is talked about there’s holiness. When we think of God’s holiness our conscience just comes alive because God gave us our conscience and we want to be holy as He is. Holy. Our minds are nourished by truth. We can’t worship God unless we worship Him in spirit and in what? Truth, and so we need to be nourishing our minds in the Word.
He purifies our imaginations by His beauty. Did you know that we need our imaginations purified? Do you know what one of the great problems of many people is? They’re fantasizing. They are imagining sin that they could never do, but they imagine it in their mind. That is a real hindrance to worship. God wants to purify our imaginations by seeing that He is more beautiful than our desires and our fantasizing of things that dishonor Him.
He opens our hearts to His love. God is an endless supply of love. The only limiter of our love is how much we don’t let Him fill us. He wants to overflow us with His love. Then, worship is a submission to God. The word worship, proskuneo, means to kiss toward. If you get down and fall before a king, fall on your face or get on your knees or whatever, that’s a sign of your submission. Worship involves all those things: submission, opening our hearts, purifying, nourishing, and quickening our conscience.
Now we get to chapter 12 and we only have nine minutes to cover chapter 12 so here we go. There’s a galaxy wide, cosmic being, demonic warfare raging today. You say, how do we know that? Look at chapter 12 and this is where we see Satan’s army. For the war in Heaven, “a great sign appeared in Heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of 12 stars.” Immediately you say, I think I read that in Genesis and you did. That’s the dream that Joseph had.
“Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth.” That’s the nation of Israel, giving birth. “And another sign appeared in Heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and 10 horns, and seven diadems.” Boy, this is one of those things that people go wild over. They go, what is going on? Is this real? Dragons? “His tail drew a third of the stars of Heaven.” That’s a third of the Heavenly hosts. This is a beautiful picture of God giving events sweeping across time and human history. He’s intermingling events, they’re not chronological. They’re just showing this panorama.
The dragon of course is Satan and he took a third of the stars, that’s the angels that rebelled with him. “And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child.” That’s horrible. As soon as it was born, what is that? That’s Satan prompting Herod to kill the infants and destroy the coming Messiah. “She bore a male child,” that’s Jesus, “who was to rule all the nations with a rod of iron.” That’s Psalm 2. Do you understand we’re beep-bopping between Genesis and Isaiah? Now we’re back to the book of Psalms because there are over 800 of these woven together truths.
“And her Child was caught up to God and His throne.” Now we’re in Acts 1, that’s the ascension, Jesus ascending. “Then the woman.” Now we’re going into the future. See, we’ve gone from Satan’s rebellion to Joseph having a dream and sharing it with Jacob and his brothers, to Matthew 2 with Herod and Satan prompting Herod, to Acts and Jesus ascending. We’re looking at a tribulation event. “The woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God.” how do we know it’s in the future? Look at this code, “that they should feed her there 1,260 days.” During the reign, the career of the Anti-Christ, God is protecting the Jewish people so Satan doesn’t annihilate them, remember that’s his goal.
God begins to explain the seven last signs. This is the first one, there’s another one in 13:13, and another one in 13:14. We’re going to bump into all these: 15, 16, and 19 and He uses all these Old Testament images.
Number two, I just read it. Satan is described as a dragon 13 times in Revelation. Satan wants to destroy Israel, but God explained how Satan has sought to rule the Earth and that’s why this dragon has seven heads and 10 horns. All these seven kingdoms and 10 future kingdoms during the Tribulation and Daniel 7 talks about that.
What’s the war about? Satan’s everlasting enmity against God. In verses 4 and 5 Satan sweeps a third of the angels along with him, it parallels with Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28. By the way, Satan has always tried to destroy the Messiah. Look at this. In the Old Testament, he tried to corrupt Adam’s line. That’s what was going on with the flood. He tried to corrupt Abraham’s seed. Remember, getting Hagar in there and not being the son of promise. Then the famine, trying to kill them all off in the Promised Land. Then the destruction of all the male children by Pharaoh. That was a way to get rid of the promise line. Then Pharaoh pursues the whole nation. He’s going to drive them into the water and kill them all and keep some slaves. Then the populating of Canaan with these people that God said are so vial and so destructive to My people. Then everything that was against David’s line you can read about.
Then how about this? Joseph almost got too afraid to take Mary to legitimize this transfer of the family name and make Mary be as if she was to be stoned. God says, don’t fear Joseph, you need to marry her. Then Herod tried to kill the babies. Then at Nazareth what did they try to do? Do you think the Nazareth people thought of that, trying to kill Jesus and throw Him off the cliff? No, that was Satan who always wants to kill and steal and destroy. Do you remember in Mark 4 and Luke 8 the two times Jesus was in the boat and a storm came and the boat was sinking and it was terrifying? Sailors who spent their whole lives on the Sea of Galilee, why were they terrified? Because it was an unnatural storm. Then at the cross, Satan thought he won, and all that is summarized right here in Revelation 12.
The conflict of the ages is Satan opposing God’s plan for Israel, the chosen people of promise, and God keeps His promise. The Anti-Christ rises to power, he breaks his promise to let Israel worship in the temple. He sets up what Jesus calls the abomination and the Jews flee as Jesus told them to in Matthew 24.
Then look at verse 7. I love the way it says it in chapter 12. “War broke out in Heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but he did not prevail, nor was a place found for them…so the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world.” That one verse connects it all. That serpent in the Garden of Eden, the one that tempted Eve and got her to sin, is the Devil that tempted Jesus in the wilderness, is the dragon we see in Revelation, and is Satan. You notice that puts it all together. The great dragon is the Devil, Satan and he is the one. He is the accuser of our brethren that we see in Job who accuses them before God night and day. Look at verse 11, “they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.” By the way, Mark Strout was talking about faith, hope, and love. They have faith in the blood of Christ. They have hope in Christ, that’s their testimony and they love Him more than life itself. Wow.
Chapter 13 we’re going to get into and continue the next hour after the bell. We’re going to see the man of sin, the superhuman, the final Caesar, the 666 author, the one that’s like Jesus, the global leader, the peacemaker, and the Anti-Christ. That’s all in chapter 13. What we see is that the Anti-Christ is a monster. This chapter was to remind the Church that one of the reasons God left us as believers on Earth at this present time is to what? Resist Satan. Did you know that when we preach the Gospel, when we live the Gospel, when we believe the Gospel, we’re reflecting Christ’s light? That’s why the nations on Earth that don’t have very many Christians are so dark, spiritually and culturally. They don’t have the light of the Gospel coming from all these little temples.
Daniel tells us so much. If you read Daniel 7 and 9, he is a super intelligent, super communicating, the Anti-Christ is, a super politician, a super businessman, a super general, and he has a super ego. That’s what Daniel says, but we’re not studying Daniel. We’ll just see what Revelation says. Beware of Satan because he empowers this false prophet. Did you know that Satan’s representative can call down fire from Heaven and fake what the two witnesses could do?
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