Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Faithful Rider

   Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. 
   His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. 
   He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 
   And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. 
   Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 
   And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.  19:11-16

   These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful. 17:14

The nations were Angry


This story of Christ fighting the beast and the kings of the earth must be placed into 11:18, where there is an allusion to this war in these words, The nations were angry (seething in agitation).

   Mankind is bent on having war. All this talk about war, in The Apocalypse, refers to The Battle of Armageddon and it has taken a lot of space in the book.

   People, powered by Satan, have started the last war, but Christ is coming t
o finish it.  Thanks to His intervention, it will not be as bloody as it otherwise would have been!  It sounds as if Psalm 110:-5-6 speak of this war, He shall execute kings in the day of His wrath. He shall judge among the nations, He shall fill the places with dead bodies, He shall execute the heads of many countries.

His eyes were like a flame of fire.  This phrase is also used of Him in 1:14.

  He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood. Foster*** says that the blood represents a day of vengeance and crushing judgment for his enemies. He is depicted as being blood stained before his encounter with the Antichrist to emphasize the character of the mission he is on. 

   H
is view does not follow through logically, because, his armies, which followed him, also on white horses, were on the same mission, they were also clothed in fine linen, which was white and clean.  If the blood represents vengeance, would not the whole army be wearing garments red with blood?  

Rather, it seems to me, that, as stated concerning the vesture dipped in blood, which Christ is wearing in 1:14, this is a picture of Calvary, and it is a sign to Christ's army, and to his enemies, that He already has obtained the victory by His death and resurrection.  All he and His army need to do now is to tie up some loose ends.

In the post called the White Horse; the Red Horse in chapter 6, we studied about Christ's name and His wardrobe.      
http://ikefehr1939.blogspot.com/2013/03/the-white-horse-red-horse.html      

  With His sword, the word of His Mouth, He will lay out the program to His soldiers: 

  1. He will strike the nations
  2. He will rule the nations with a rod of iron (strength)
  3. it is for The Almighty God, that Christ is treading the wine press of the fierceness and wrath. 19:15.  The grapes of sinfulness and rebellion have been seeded, nurtured and brought to fruition.  Now is the time to tread the grapes in the presence of his enemies.

As Quiet as a Thief 


Christ said that when He returns it will be unannounced, as a thief in the night, but when the seventh trumpet sounds the stillness of the night will be shattered in the twinkling of an eye.

Then, when people see Him, they will know who He is, because on His slacks and on His coat will be written His title, KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.  Then, according to Paul, at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and ... every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Phil. 2:10-11

those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful. Throughout my studies I have declared that ordinary Christians do not go to heaven until after the seventh trumpet sounds; the only Christians in heaven at the time that the Battle of Armageddon begins will be the martyrs of Jesus; if my thinking about this is right, these might be the ones who would be riding into battle with Christ.
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*** Shadow of the Antichrist, Ivan Foster

Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Sixth and Seventh Angels


    Then another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. 14:17 

The Grape Reaping Angel. 


   Just as the commanding angel of 14:15 told the grain reaping angel of 14:14 that it was time to reap the grain, (the previous post), so the angel, of 14:18, the angel with power over fire, tells the grape reaping angel of 14:17, that it is time to gather the clusters of the vine.

Dr McGee* says, My feeling is that no careful study of the Word of God would lead any person of reasonable intelligence to believe that the church is going through this awful period (the Great Tribulation). Folk who want to push the church into the Great Tribulation seem to think that it will be no more unpleasant than a trip to the dentist to get a tooth pulled.  Let it be noted, that I believe that I have reasonable intelligence but I do not interpret the Bible according to “how it feels”.  There is already far too much “feel good” theology in modern churches.  

   We cannot change the words of the Bible, or our theological beliefs, just because what we read does not make us feel good.  Christ very plainly said that Immediately after the tribulation of those days…the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and…He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. Mat. 24:29-31. Distinctly, according to Christ, the rapture will take place after the Great Tribulation, whether or not Mr McGee wants it there.

The Angel with Power Over fire


   And another angel came out from the altar, who had power over fire, and he cried with a loud cry to him who had the sharp sickle, saying, “Thrust in your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for her grapes are fully ripe.” 
 

   So the angel thrust his sickle into the earth and gathered the vine of the earth, and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.

   And the winepress was trampled outside the city, and blood came out of the winepress, up to the horses’ bridles, for one thousand six hundred furlongs. 
14:18-20

It sounds as if this is the angel we first met in 8:5, where we read that the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire from the altar.  Here, we read of him as another angel, who came out from the altar, an angel who had power over fire.  

   
The grapes, now gathered, are placed into the winepress of God's wrath.  They will be trodden outside the city walls of Jerusalem.  It sounds, to me, as if this is again referring to the Battle of Armageddon, which is to be fought about 60 miles north of Jerusalem; outside the city.

   blood came out of the winepress, up to the horses’ bridles.  In the notes on 8:8 it was suggested that the words "red as" should be added before the word "blood" so that the meaning would make sense.   It seems that a similar change is needed here.  So that it would read, and blood red juice of the grape, came out of the winepress, as opposed to actual blood.  

  This is allegory and the wine that is overflowing the cup is not the wine of human blood.  Certainly, the harvest was not actual grapes.  We learned in 14:8 that Babylon had caused all nations to drink of her fornication. Now, symbolically, these are the grapes that the angel has reaped, the grapes of physical, immoral and spiritual fornication; it is this fornication that will be trampled.  It is the juice of this fornication that will run out of the winepress.

The blood flowed out in a stream 200 miles long. The Living Bible.  About this, Dr McGee* writes, A thousand and six hundred furlongs” is about 185 miles, and that is the distance from Dan to Beer-sheba.  All of Palestine is the scene of this final war ... and is concluded by the personal return of Christ to the earth.

In contradiction, to imagine that it marks the extent of the Holy Land from Dan to Beer-sheba is ... to introduce an incorrect calculation. EBC

Many commentaries use the idea that this blood will be a "lake of blood" but it seems to fit the picture better to see it as The Living Bible has The blood flowed out in a stream.  The stream was about 200 miles (300 km) long.  

If the word stream is used it might paint the picture that the pain and suffering caused by the war will be ongoing; without cessation, like a flowing stream.

and as high as a horse’s bridle. The Living Bible.  As has already been noted, the horses in The Apocalypse are not actual horses.  For example, the horses in 9:17 have lion's heads.  

For that matter, horses are not even mentioned in these verses except as a commonly understood height against which to measure the depth of the wine of God's wrath.  

An example of this is found at the Grist Mill in Keremeos in British Columbia, Canada.  Early settlers writing about the height of the grass wrote, Bunchgrass as high as a horse's belly.  This did not mean that the horses were in the grass, it was merely a standard unit of measurement, to which a person at another place could relate.
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* Through the Bible with Dr J Vernon McGee.

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Forth and Fifth Angel

j) Harvest Time has Come


   Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and on the cloud sat One like the Son of Man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle.
   And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, “Thrust in Your sickle and reap, for the time has come for You to reap, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.
   So He who sat on the cloud thrust in His sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped.
 14:14-16 


The Grain Reaping Angel


   What he saw was a white cloud and on the cloud sat One like unto the Son of Man.  It is imperative to notice that John says that the one sitting on the cloud was like unto the Son of man and not that it was the Son of Man.  Wuest changes, the Son to son and in brackets he adds (human in appearance).  The American Standard has changed, the Son to a son

   Foster*** and McGee* disagree, and say that it was Christ; there are several clues in 14:15 that insist that it was not Christ sitting on the cloud.
   
    In 14:15, we have the words: another angel which, indicates that this one, sitting on the cloud, was also an angel and not Christ.
  1.     The angel of 14:15 tells the angel of 14:14 what to do, Thrust in Your sickle and reap. No angel in heaven, just as no human on earth, is in a position to tell Christ what to do!                                                                 
  2.     Christ was speaking of this time of reaping, and he said, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels….The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather. Mat. 13:39-41.  Based on the words of Christ, we must believe that the one sitting on the cloud was a reaping angel and not Christ.
  It might be appropriate here to remind ourselves that not all of these things happen in the sequence in which they are written here because some of them are concurrent.  However, it is apparent that they cannot be read at the same time and therefore it seems that the one that is read sooner is the one that is expected to happen sooner.  Paul told us that these things would happen in the blinking of an eye, and that, obviously, is much faster than it takes to read these few points, which according to Biblical teaching all seem to happen at once.

The Commanding Angel


     another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, “Thrust in Your sickle and reap, for the time has come for You to reap, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.   4:15  
    
   The time has come for the harvest; it is time to separate the wheat from the tares.  The sharp sickle in the hands of the angels will do the reaping.  The American Standard has changed the word, ripe, too, overripe.

   According to Matthew, Christ put that prophecy into these words.  The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. “The enemy who sowed them is the devil (the wicked one), the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. 


   “Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. “The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, “and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. “Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Mat.13:38-43.

   Notice that the angels will gather all things that offend; there is a partial list of the things Christ finds offensive in Matthew 7: For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man. All those things will be cast into the furnace of fire.  

   The angels will also gather all those who practice lawlessness and they will also be cast into the furnace of fire.  There is a list of these in Rev. 21:8: But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

   About the word cowardly Clarke writes Those who, for fear of losing life or their property, either refused to receive the Christian religion, though convinced of its truth and importance; or, having received it, in times of persecution fell away, not being willing to risk their lives.
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*** Shadow of the Antichrist, Ivan Foster
* Through the Bible with Dr J Vernon McGee.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Two Witnesses Return to Life

And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.
   Then those from the peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations will see their dead bodies three-and-a-half days, and not allow their dead bodies to be put into graves.
   And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them, make merry, and send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth.
   Now after the three-and-a-half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them.
   And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them.
   In the same hour 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 and gave glory to the God of heaven.
   The second woe is past. Behold, the third woe is coming quickly. 11:8-14 

Two Witnesses Lie in State

their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city. Dr McGee* writes, These men are not given even a decent burial. This reveals the crude, cold barbarism of the last days, which will be covered with but a thin veneer of culture. There is a strange resemblance to the sadistic curiosity, which placed two dead men, Lenin and Stalin, on display in Red Square in Moscow. They have removed Stalin, but at this writing, Lenin is still there, and I understand that that body is beginning to deteriorate.

  The picture here is that the word used for bodies (carcasses) denotes the contempt and hatred the world will have for the two witnesses.  They are treated as dead animals.

   Conversely, their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city, may have a different meaning than Dr McGee offers.  It is unlikely that the bodies would last long with dogs and birds rampant in a city.  In addition, a very specific length of time is allotted for them to be on view; three-and-a-half days.   

   
   To me it seems more fitting to see these two witnesses "lie in state"; after all, they had been notable individuals; they will not allow their dead bodies to be put into graves.  The whole world knew about them; the peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations will see their dead bodies. 11:9.

  Various people, not all people; And many of the peoples and tribes and tongues and nations. 11:9 MKJV, shall come to Jerusalem to see these two witnesses "lie in state" for three and a half days.  Many will rejoice over their deaths and send gifts in merriment because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth. 11:10. 

   By some, this is interpreted to mean that their righteous manner of life and preaching bothered the conscience of the people of the world, and the world is glad that the preachers of righteousness are finally silenced. 

   If we look back at 11:6 we see that the torment they inflicted was much more physical.  These have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls …and they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues.  The reason for merriment may be much more physical than moral or spiritual.

   After they had been lying in state for three and a half days, the breath of life from God entered into them.  They stood up and great fear fell on those who saw them.  How would we feel if we saw a corpse come back to life after three and a half days?

   As Christ ascended to heaven in a cloud, not by a cloud, so did these two resurrected witnesses; and their enemies saw it happen. 11:12.

In the same hour 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 and gave glory to the God of heaven.  Those that were left alive were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven.  This sounds so different than those whom we read about earlier: the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent. 9:20


The Second Woe is Past


  Verse 21 says The second woe is past. Behold, the third woe is coming quickly.  Very plainly, that means that the sixth trumpet has sounded, the sixth bowl of wrath has been poured out, and the seventh trumpet will be sounding soon.  We must not expect the rapture of the Church until the two witnesses have done their preaching or before the beast from the bottomless pit has killed them or even before they have ascended to heaven.

   In an earlier post was this statement: the sixth trumpet and the sixth bowl of wrath are the second woe and the second woe is the Battle of Armageddon. However, a prelude to that battle is Babylon, which we must visit first.  But now we are finished with Babylon, we have seen the little book, the temple and the two witnesses.  Now that the two witnesses have ascended to heaven The Apocalypse says, The second woe is past. Behold, the third woe is coming quickly.
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* Through the Bible with Dr J Vernon McGee.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Two Witnesses

  I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.” 
   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. 
   And if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this manner. 
  These have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy; and they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire.
   When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them. 
   And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. 11:3-8


Moses and Elijah


   11:5 certainly does not allow these two witnesses to be humans, as we know humans.  The Bible says that if anyone wants to harm them, fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies. And if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this manner.  Many Bible teachers agree that these two witnesses are Moses and Elijah in a transformed state; they have power to stop the rain from falling. They also have power to turn water into blood and to smite the earth with plagues. 11:6 

   We recall that when Elijah prayed that it might not rain it rained not for three and a half years. James 5:17.  When Moses, with Aaron's help, stretched forth his rod, the waters of Egypt became blood, and at another time the land was infested with plagues. Ex. 7:19.  

   We also recall that when Christ was transfigured, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias (Elijah) talking with him. Mat. 17:3.  These two witnesses stand before the God of the whole earth and they come to the new Jerusalem to preach; they have magnificent powers.  However, they must die again; the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will ... kill them. 11:7, but just as surely they will be raised to life again; And after three days and a half, a spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood on their feet. 11:11.

  These two witnesses will prophesy for three and a half years clothed in sackcloth.  They are the two olive trees and the two candlesticks.   he said to me, “What do you see?” So I said, …there is a lampstand of solid gold with a bowl on top of it, …one at the right of the bowl and the other at its left.” So I answered and spoke to the angel who talked with me, saying, “What are these,…So he answered and said to me: “These are the two anointed ones, who stand beside the Lord of the whole earth. Zech. 4:1-14.

Here is a quote from The Signs^, the two witnesses represent God's word in the Old and New Testaments.   

I reject this theory because:

1. The witnesses had power 1260 days.  According to The Signs own interpretation, this is from 538 AD to 1798 AD, which would mean that the Bible was not to be found on the earth before 538 AD or after 1798 AD.


2. The witnesses have power to turn water into blood but the Bible has never done that.

3. The beast will kill the witnesses, 11:7.  The beast does not have the power to kill the Bible.


4. The witnesses ascended to heaven before the Church is raptured.  If that would happen the Church would be left on earth without the Bible.  Based on the emphasis the Church has put on the Bible we cannot believe that that will happen.

   Asimov says that some suggest that the two witnesses are Paul and Peter and that the great city is Rome.  John says that Christ was killed in what is spiritually (figuratively) called Sodom or Egypt.  

   However, some scholars would insist that it could be said that Christ was killed in Rome since Rome and Babylon are the names used to designate other evil places as well.  In this case, John would have been calling Jerusalem, at the time of Christ’s crucifixion, an evil city, comparable to Rome. 


Low Moral Standards


   In a spiritual sense, the city will be as wicked as Sodom was and as destitute of hope, as Egypt was, for the Israelites when they lived there.  The city is not Sodom, not Rome, not a city in Egypt, but the city where also our Lord was crucified. 

   the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth. 17:18  It seems, by inference, that Babylon, in this case, is apostate Judaism, the great city where our Lord was crucified.  It is so sad that it is often the religious people of the day that "crucify" our Saviour or His followers.  

   Mr Jim Crew says that in The Apocalypse the women represent the churches. The woman of chapter 12 represents the "right" church and the wicked woman (Babylon) represents all the other churches. 

  If one were to accept that line of thinking, this reference to Sodom would certainly fit the modern, God-forsaken, United Church of Canada.  The following, printed in blue, is what I found on Google under the heading, The United Church of Canada.

1965 premarital sex is approved
1988 Practicing gays approved for ordination
1997 Church head denies Christ's resurrection.
1997 Leaders unanimously approve Phipps (as moderator of the United Church of Canada in October 1997, even though he is recognized to be) an infidel and enemy of Christ!
2003 church petitions Ottawa to change the definition of marriage to include homosexuals. 
(Phipps) Head of United church denies Resurrection of Christ!

   This church condoned same-sex marriage before the government of Canada even legalized it. It is the Christian church that should set the highest moral standards in the world; it is not the church's position to petition the government of the country to lower that country's standard!

Christ said You are the light of the world. John 5:14.  Thank Jehovah, there are still some churches whose lights shine in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation. Phil. 2:15.  Some other churches are just social groups with low moral standards.
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^ Signs of the Times Magaizine: What the Revelation says about.

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Bible and the Temple

I) A Little Book


 And he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth,
   Then the voice which I heard from heaven spoke to me again and said, “Go, take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel who stands on the sea and on the earth.”
   So I went to the angel and said to him, “Give me the little book.” And he said to me, “Take and eat it; and it will make your stomach bitter, but it will be as sweet as honey in your mouth.”
   Then I took the little book out of the angel’s hand and ate it, and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth. But when I had eaten it, my stomach became bitter.
   And he said to me, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings.” 
10:2+8-11  

The Bible


   The little book we read of here is not the Book of Life, found in 3:5, nor is it the book of future events of 5:1.  

   Based on what follows in chapter 10 it would appear that this little book is the Holy Scriptures.  Symbolically, by standing on the sea and on the land, the messenger is saying that the message of God is for all people, both seafarers and land dwellers. The fact that the book is open is significant, because, as was said, this book is the Bible and it is open because the spirit of God has revealed its truths to Christians. It is the free, open gospel to all inhabitants of earth and sea.
  1.  This little book was introduced; he had in his hand a little book10:2,  
  2.  John heard a voice telling him to seal what he had heard, 10:4,
  3.  John hears that same voice again and the voice told him to go and take the little book. 10:8  
    As already stated the word heaven has various meanings, and at this point, John is probably referring to the spaceship, which he had already described for us in chapter 4.


   The words, the voice which I heard from heaven, indicate that John is not in heaven at that time.   The last location given for John was heaven;  one of the four beasts in heaven said, Come and see. 6:1

  Therefore, we could surmise, that John had left heaven in the meantime, because now he says, that the voice he hears is from heaven
  
  After John took the book (as he was told to do), from the hand of the messenger, he was told to eat it.  That is, to take it in, partake of it, and ingest it.  Jeremiah said, Thy words were found and I ate them. Jer. 5:16.  As Foster*** points out, even though Bible study is sweet afterwards it lays on us the bitterness of responsibility.


The Temple


Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, “Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there.
“But leave out the court 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 forty-two months.11:1-2  

   In chapter 11, there are two distinct temples: one on earth (the one that John measures) and the other, in heaven, which is recorded in 11:19.  

   In writing of the temple on earth, Wuest# puts it this way, the temple of God, the altar, (the Holy place and the Holy of Holies).   John is to measure, or count, those who worship in the temple, but not those in the outer court.  The reason that John was not to measure the outer court is that the Gentiles will desecrate it and they will wreck havoc in the holy city; they will tread the holy city underfoot for three and a half years, or, as stated, forty-two months.

   The holy city is Jerusalem, but this poses a problem.  Did John indeed write this before the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD so that there was still a temple to measure?  Tradition says that The Apocalypse was written around the turn of the first century.  If that is true, what is John to measure?  Mr Foster***, quoting B.W. Newton says, In reading this chapter, therefore, we must imagine Jerusalem again restored to seeming dignity and greatness. Its temple rebuilt, its worship re-established.  This answer raises a new question; how could John measure it before it was built?

   Asimov^ says that John uses the word temple to refer to the church at large. Concordia uses the same reasoning but defines the inner court as representing the true believers and the outer court as being the false church.  However, that is an unlikely interpretation because Christ, in speaking of this particular time, limited the events to Jerusalem, not to the worldwide church; false or otherwise. Luke 21:24.

   As before, the term, forty-two months (or three and a half years), could be an arbitrary length of time.
________________________________
*** Shadow of the Antichrist, Ivan Foster
# An Expanded Translation, K.W. Wuest.
^ Guide to the Bible, Isaac Asimov

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Third Angel

i) The Rapture is announced
I saw still another mighty angel coming down from heaven, clothed with a cloud. And a rainbow was on his head, his face was like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire.
He had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth,
And cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices.
Now when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not. 10:1-4 

The Seven Thunders


   This chapter opens with a mighty angel, but it does not start a new woe.  This section is still in the thick of the second woe, announced by the sixth trumpet and brought by the sixth bowl of wrath.  We studied about these before we got mired down in Babylon.

   The description of this angel is reminiscent of Christ in 1:15-16 and in Mat. 17:2 where we read of Christ's transfiguration and since the word angel can mean messanger it is possible that this angel is Christ. 

In speaking of the appearance of the angel, a few things might be mentioned. 
  • It is not a foreign thought that when persons, or angels, move from heaven to earth, or from earth to heaven they are surrounded by a cloud.  Christ at His transfiguration and at His ascension was, so is this angel.
  • Not only is the angel wearing a cloud but, on his head, there is a rainbow. Many prehistory cave drawings show what appear to be spacemen who, are wearing things around their heads, things that look like rainbows; actually, they look more like space helmets.
  • We also notice that his face was like the sun.  This was also said about Christ at His transfiguration; His face shone like the sun. Mat. 17:2.
  • Not only that, but the angel's feet were like pillars of fire.  Pillars of fire would seem logical if the "angel" was using jet propulsion, as a means of transportation.
    One idea might be that the rainbow on the angels head reminded God of his promise of mercy; I set my rainbow in the cloud. And it shall be a token of a covenant between Me and the earth. And it shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud And I will remember My covenant which is between Me and youGen 9:13-15.

   Asimov^ mentions that, even though many warnings have been given, much grace has been shown and judgment is past due, still God is not hastening to end life on this earth.  The Lord is not slow concerning His promise, as some count slowness, but is long-suffering toward us, not purposing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9  

   It is fitting that this angel should appear immediately after the degradation shown in chapter 9.  And the rest of the men who were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and golden, and silver, and bronze, and stone, and wooden idols (which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk). And they did not repent of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts. 9:20-21; just as the rainbow appeared in the sky immediately after the destruction during "Noah’s flood".

   When he (the mighty angel) had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices. That is, they spoke loudly.  According to earlier instructions, John was going to write what he had heard, but he, like Daniel many years before, Dan. 12:9, was told to seal up those things which the thunders spoke.

We still don't know what the thunders said!

The Angel with the Good News


The angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised up his hand to heaven

and swore by Him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and the things that are in it, the earth and the things that are in it, and the sea and the things that are in it, that there should be delay no longer,

but in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, the mystery of God would be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets.
10:5-7 

The stage is being set for the climatic end to history.  As in a great novel, all the pieces must be in place before the grand finale can happen.  When the end does come, events will transpire quickly, as Paul said, in the twinkling of an eye. 1 Cor. 15:52

   The rapture of the church has been announced with the words, in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, the mystery of God would be finished.  In the book of Ephesians, we learn that the mystery of God is The Church of Jesus Christ; This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Eph. 5:32  When the seventh trumpet sounds, the Church will be finished.

   The mighty angel made an oath, swearing by the creator, that there should be no more delay.  Events are moving quickly and Jehovah has been so patient.  He is still waiting for sinners to repent.  In our study, we will encounter three more events, and four more angels, before the seventh trumpet blows.

    
The three events are:
1) John eats the book
2) John measures the temple of God
3) The two witnesses appear.

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^ Guide to the Bible, Isaac Asimov

Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Second Angel

There followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. 14:8 

After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illuminated with his glory.
And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird! 18:1-2


The Angel with an Announcement


   In 14:8, this scene of the fall of Babylon is introduced, then dropped; it is reintroduced in 18:2, with more details.  I believe these Bible verses refer to the same angel.  It seems as if the writer thought about what he had written in 14:8, and decided that he should have added a few more details, and so he did. He did not have the option of inserting words or pushing the delete button; options we take so very for granted. 


   This angel is not one of the seven that poured out the bowls of God's wrath, for he is not introduced, as was the angel of 17:1, for example; Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls.

It is confusing that the KJV and the NKJV have used the word wrath in 14:8. Vine+++ tells us that the word wrath can, sometimes, be translated as fierceness.  If we do that, here, this verse makes more sense.  It would then read, she made all nations drink of the wine of the fierceness of her fornication.

   As a practical application of this word "wrath" Clarke has this to say: No nation of the earth spread their idolatries so far as the ancient Romans; they were as extensive as their conquests. And papal Rome has been not less active in disseminating her superstitions. She has given her rituals, but not the everlasting Gospel, to most nations of the earth.


   Babylon is so bent on practicing her blasphemy and immorality that she is said to be fierce about it.  Babylon the Great ... made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries. NIV.  Babylon is fallen...because she seduced the nations of the world and made them share the wine of her intense impurity and sin. TLB

   Three posts ago we learned that Babylon will be eternally destroyed; Babylon shall be thrown down, and shall not be found anymore. 18:21.  Here, in 18:2, we read that Babylon is fallen, and, that it has become home to demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird!  It appears obvious that Babylon is not completely obliterated.  

   Note that just because Babylon, a selfish lifestyle, will be eternally destroyed (not be found anymore) it does not mean that the souls of people will be included in that destruction.

   14:8 refers to the wine of the sins of the materialistic society.  In 14:10 the wrath of God is incurred, and it will fall, because the nations partook of Babylon's fornication.  It is not the wrath of fornication, but the wrath because of fornication. As mentioned earlier, 2:16, this does not refer to physical fornication only, it refers to spiritual fornication; a careless, blasphemous attitude toward Jehovah. 

    Why has Babylon fallen?  Because she has made all nations drink. This wine of the wrath of her fornication is not the same as the wine of the wrath of God in 14:10. 

   Babylon is fallen.  According to tradition, Peter was in Rome, when he wrote his letters, and some believe, that he called Rome, Babylon, because of the rampant evil in the city.  

   Maybe Paul did that also because Rome was King Nero's home city and Nero was a wicked king who killed many Christians; to protect himself Paul did not want to be point blank in his accusation of Nero. 

   Could John be making the same analogy in speaking of Babylon?  Babylon, throughout history, has represented things that are ungodly.  If John was speaking prophetically, the fact that he called Rome, Babylon, may lend some credence to the idea that he was speaking of the Roman Catholic Church. However, in John's time, at the end of the first century, the church in Rome, was not yet known for being evil.

   he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, “Babylon, the great is fallen”.  In God's eyes, Babylon is anything but great; she is the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth. 17:5.  Vine tells us the word, great, can refer to degree or intensity.  Babylon is intense in its sin and pride, it will keep on sinning to the nth degree, and, in the sense of intensity, it, is "a great city".  The record of the fall of that materialistic society is recorded in 14:8 and 18:2.

   a prison for every foul spirit.  the word foul means ceremonially unclean
Vine. Since spirits were not involved in the ceremonies of the Bible, one can surmise that these are the spirits of people; those people who were ceremonially unclean.  

It bears repeating that in The Apocalypse references to Babylon include the carnal church with its loose teachings and careless lifestyles.  It is in this manner that the church offers to God unholy sacrifices; sacrifices presented to God by preachers who are ceremonially unclean; that is, those who are morally and ethically unfit to be preachers.

   The unclean and hated bird also refers to those birds that were not acceptable as sacrifices in ceremonial services.  Vine takes it a step further and says, the birds are apparently figurative of destructive Satanic agencies.


   Now that Babylon has been dealt the deathblow, we can leave that dirty, sinful city and find something less depressing.
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+++ An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, W.E. Vine,