And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. (Revelation 14:15)
At this point in the Revelation account, we have come to the last half of the Tribulation. We have seen that in the midst of the terrible judgments coming upon the earth, God in His mercy continues to reach out to a lost and rebellious world by way of the 144,000 witnesses, the two Old Testament prophets brought back to earth to testify by way of wonders and miracles so that no one on earth will have an excuse for rejecting God. At the midpoint of the Tribulation, the Antichrist will desecrate the Temple in Jerusalem by claiming to be God and demanding that he be worshiped as God. At this time, the Antichrist is fully possessed by Satan, and God allows him to kill the two prophets, and the 144,000 who, up until this point have been protected by God. In the previous verses, we see the 144,000 in the heavenly Mount Zion with Jesus. However, God continues to show His mercy by sending His angels to proclaim the Gospel all around the earth so that all on earth (who have not yet accepted the “mark of the beast”) will have the opportunity to turn to Christ. Of that time Jesus said, “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matthew 24:14, emphasis mine).
Now we arrive at the final one year and nine months that remain in the Tribulation (as I understand the chronology). John gives us a quick summary previewing what is to come; the details will be revealed in the chapters that follow.
“And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle” (Revelation 14:14). Undoubtedly, “the Son of man” refers to Jesus, and He wears a golden “stephanos” – a victor’s crown, not a “diadēma” a royal crown. Although the final battle between the forces of Satan and Christ is yet future, the victory is sure, and Jesus is the Victor. He carries a sharp sickle in His hand prepared for the harvest. Larkin points out that “This is not the ‘Harvest of the Church.’ … This is the ‘Harvest’ of the Gentile Nations … The ‘Harvest and Vintage’ are JUDICIAL. That is, they are for the purpose of Judgment. The account here is anticipative.” We can look forward to the details of that judgment when the seven bowls are poured out in Chapter 16.
“And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe” (Revelation 14:15). Again, this looks forward in anticipation of the end when the final battle takes place at the battle of Armageddon.
“And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped. (Revelation 14:16). At that time, He returns to the earth on a white horse followed by His saints on white horses. His sickle will be the “sword,” which is His Word, that proceeds out of His mouth. The battle, if one can call it that, will be no battle at all, for the victory will be decisive and instantaneous.
“And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God” (Revelation 14:17-19). There is great excitement in heaven. The end is here and Jesus will soon take His rightful place as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. However, for those with the mark of the beast and those who have rejected God despite all of His efforts and offer of salvation, this is very bad news. On the other hand, for those saints who have managed to survive the seven-year Tribulation, their “blessed hope” is about to be realized.
“And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs” (Revelation 14:20). The “winepress” is “without the city,” i.e., outside of Jerusalem. It is the Jezreel Valley, a.k.a. the Valley of Megiddo, a.k.a. Armageddon. This valley in northern Israel extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the Joran River south of Lake Tiberias (Sea of Galilee). It covers an area of roughly 380 square kilometers or 146.7 square miles. The blood of Jesus’ enemies will fill this “winepress” as high as a horse’s bridle. It is “the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God” (Revelation 19:15).
In a Messianic passage, the Prophet Isaiah sees the coming Lord like this. “Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come” (Isaiah 63:1-4, emphasis mine). John records it this way. “And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God” (Revelation 19:13, emphasis mine).
For those who reject Christ, the end will not be nice. That is putting it mildly. Reader, if you do not know the Savior, do not wait any longer. The time is short. Please read my page on “Securing Eternal Life.”
And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads. (Revelation 14:1)
Jesus warned, “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened” (Matthew 24:15-22, emphasis mine).
Jesus’ Olivet Discourse is often misinterpreted and misapplied to include all followers of Christ. However, one must consider the audience Jesus addressed. It was His disciples who asked, “Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” (Matthew 24:3). The question was prompted by Jesus’ remark concerning the Temple they were admiring. “And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down” (Matthew 24:2). The disciples were Jewish, and their concern was from a Jewish perspective. They were not yet “Christian.” They believed that Jesus was the promised Messiah. They knew He was destined to reign in Jerusalem and that His reign would culminate at the “end of the age.” Their twofold question requested two specific answers: when will He come to set up His kingdom, and when will “the end of the world” (Gk: aiōn – age) be?
Jesus’ reply addressed Jews, and the events outlined in His discourse were directed to Jews. “The abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet” was intended for Daniel and his people and his holy city, i.e., the Jews and Jerusalem. Jesus warned that they should pray that their escape from Jerusalem would not be on a Sabbath Day. Such a warning can only apply to Jews; Christians observe the Lord’s Day (Sunday), not the Sabbath (Saturday). Jesus’ discourse on the last days described the events of the seven-year Tribulation prophesied by Daniel. Its primary purpose is “to finish the transgression [of Israel], and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy” (Daniel 9:24). The prophets all speak of the scattering and regathering of Israel into their own land in the “latter days” with the promise that God will restore the nation forever (sealing up “the vision and prophecy”). Hence, the Tribulation is for that purpose and to bring God’s judgment to bear on a rebellious and sinful world.
In my previous article, I focused on Revelation 13 which deals with “the beast” (i.e., “the abomination of desolation, a.k.a. the Antichrist) and his false prophet, who shows his true colors at the midpoint of the Tribulation initiating the final 3½ years, or what Jesus called the “Great Tribulation.” Of that time Jesus said, “And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened” (Matthew 24:22).
It is at this point that John once again changes the scene. “And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads” (Revelation 14:1). The Lamb he sees is Jesus standing on Mount Zion. Zion sometimes refers to Jerusalem and at other times it refers to the Temple Mount or “the mountain of God.” However, it almost always refers to the dwelling place of God. God established Jerusalem as His city forever and the Temple as His dwelling place forever. Even so, Solomon rightly concluded, “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?” (1 Kings 8:27). Obviously, God cannot be confined to a single place; therefore, Zion goes beyond an earthly temple or city. Zion is the habitation of God in heaven.
Now we see Jesus, the Lamb, in Zion, His heavenly home, and there with Him are the 144 thousand “having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.” We have seen them before in Chapter 7 of Revelation and as a result of their evangelistic efforts, millions on earth are saved. Now, here they are in heaven. What happened? Either they were Raptured about the same time as the two witnesses, or they paid with their lives for their evangelistic zeal.
“And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth” (Revelation 14:2-3). Clarence Larkin sums this up better than I can, so I will include his commentary as follows:
What the “voice” said is not told us, but it was followed with the voice or singing of the “Harpers” accompanied by their harps. These “Harpers” sung a “NEW SONG” before the Throne, and the “Four Living Creatures,” and the “Elders.” As the “Elders” represent the Church, these “Harpers” are not the Church, for they sing before the “Elders.” Who these “Harpers” are we are told in chapter 15:2-4. They are those who stand on the “Sea of Glass” before the Throne, Rev.4:6. The “New Song” they sing is a “double song,” the “SONG OF MOSES” and the “SONG OF THE LAMB,” and we are told that no man could learn the Song but the 144,000 who were redeemed from the earth. This is further evidence that the 144,000 “Sealed Ones” are in Heaven, either having been translated or died a Martyr’s death and from Rev. 14:4 we learn that they are the “FIRST-FRUITS” of the restored nation of Israel, not the “First-Fruits” of the Church, for that is represented by the “Elders,” and was gathered out long before.
“These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God” (Revelation 14:4-5). Larkin suggests that the idea that they were “not defiled with women” may mean that they were celibate like the Apostle Paul who did not marry. However, since “the word translated ‘virgins’ means persons of either sex, they are ‘virgins’ in the sense that they kept themselves clean of the crowning sin of that day—FORNICATION, for the crowning sin of the Tribulation Period will be fornication (Rev. 9:21; 14:8), or looseness and laxity of the marriage tie of which ‘free-love,’ and the doctrine of “affinities,” and multiplied divorce in these days are but the opening wedge to the looseness of morals of those Anti-Christian times.” This allows for the possibility that this number includes women and not just men. The defining characteristic is chastity or sexual purity, faithfulness in the bond of marriage, and fidelity to the Lord’s leading “whithersoever he goeth.”
What is remarkable to me, but not surprising, is the mercy God extends to a fallen world even at this time of judgment. He sends the 144,000 Jewish converts to spread the Gospel around the world, and they are so effective that millions of people on earth reject the Antichrist and turn to Jesus Christ for salvation even at the cost of their very lives. “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb” (Revelation 7:9-10). Along with that, He sends two witnesses, who could be Moses and Elijah. As a result, many millions are saved during the first 3½ years of the Tribulation.
Chronologically, in the Revelation account, we are at about the midpoint of the Tribulation. The two witnesses have been killed. They are allowed to lay in the streets of Jerusalem for three days in full view of the entire world. Then God resurrects their dead bodies and calls them up to heaven to the shock and dismay of the watching world. It is possible that around this same time the 144,000 are taken out of the world, either by martyrdom or rapture, but they seem to be in heaven now according to the text. However, God still continues His outreach efforts. “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). “Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?” (Ezekiel 33:11)
God’s outreach options are not exhausted. “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters” (Revelation 14:6-7). Just because the 144,000 and the two witnesses are gone from the scene does not mean that the message of the Gospel has ended. Surely, there are many Tribulation saints that have survived to this point and many will survive to the very end when Christ returns. They will continue to spread the Gospel by whatever means they have available. In the meantime, God sends angelic help by way of what I call the “Gospel Angel.”
John sees another angel flying in the “midst of the heaven.” This “heaven” is the atmospheric “heaven” of the earth. The Gospel historically has been the responsibility of humans. Now, with severe persecution and limited resources, God sends an unstoppable angel to preach “the everlasting gospel” to all people of every language. No one will be able to say they never heard the message of redemption. No one will have an excuse for rejecting the Gospel. It will be preached everywhere, in every language, non-stop. And Antichrist will have no power over this angel to stop him. However, it is not just one angel. Two more follow.
“And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication” (Revelation 14:8). This message is not of an actual event. It is a promise of an event that is coming, and it is such a sure thing, that it is proclaimed in the present tense.
“And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name” (Revelation 14:9-11). For any rational person, this warning should serve to scare the hell right out of them. Receiving the mark of the beast is the unpardonable death sentence. No one on earth will be forced to take the mark of the beast. They will take it willingly as a sign of fidelity to the Antichrist, the beast, and they will be eternally doomed for that choice.
No one will be able to plead ignorance. Three angels are sent by God to warn the earth dwellers of the judgments that are coming and provide them with the message of salvation. To take the mark of the beast may spare one’s life for a brief time, but in the end, the eternal fires of hell await. To reject the mark of the beast and choose Christ may mean physical death, but in the same instant that they close their eyes in death they will awaken in the presence of God, the Lamb, and all of the hosts of heaven.
“Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them” (Revelation 14:12-13).
There exist scoffers today that reject this message thinking that they will be able to survive the Tribulation. They think “if” that time ever comes, they will reject the mark and accept Christ. That sounds very self-assured, confident, and arrogant. However, if one will not accept Jesus now when it is relatively easy to do so, what makes one think that one will have enough courage in the midst of the worst economic, climatic, and environmental disasters the world has ever seen to stand up for Jesus when doing so means certain death? Reader, if you do not know the Savior, do not wait any longer. The time is short. Please read my page on “Securing Eternal Life.”
And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. (Revelation 13:1)
At this point, John’s interlude continues as we anticipate the judgments that follow the seventh trumpet. In the last chapter, we saw the great celestial sign of the woman, representing the nation of Israel, giving birth to the male child, representing Jesus who would rule the nations with a rod of iron, and the dragon, representing Satan, who attempts to destroy the male child. However, the male child gets taken to heaven, so the dragon turns on the woman. John’s vision is both historical and futuristic. From the time that Jesus ascended into heaven, Satan has attempted to destroy God’s people – the Church and Israel. When the Church is removed at the Rapture, Satan will focus and intensify his efforts against the nation of Israel in order to thwart God’s plan to fulfill His covenant with the nation of Israel.
John now sees another vision. “And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy” (Revelation 13:1, emphasis mine). Most teachers of end-times prophecy generally agree that the “sea” here refers to the “sea of humanity.” Also, as viewed from Israel’s perspective, the “sea” probably refers to the Mediterranean Sea; hence, “the beast” comes from the people around the Mediterranean Sea. Daniel the prophet gives us a clue as to the origins of the beast when he says that “the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary” (Daniel 9:26, emphasis mine). The people that destroyed “the city and the sanctuary” (i.e., the Temple) were the Romans in A.D. 70. Most end-times prophecy teachers agree that this “prince” is from the Roman empire, which included all of Europe.
Daniel’s description of the statue in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream included the feet made of a mixture of iron and clay representing the final kingdom that the Messiah would destroy. The feet of iron and clay, composed of ten toes, represent an incohesive confederation of nations. In light of the current world conditions, the European Union (EU) makes a good candidate for this end-times kingdom. Considering that the World Economic Forum (WEF) is mostly made up of European leaders or leaders with European ties. While these nations are loosely connected to one another, there is no solid unity among them like the feet made of iron and clay. While this may still be speculative, it is not implausible.
The beast John saw had seven heads and ten horns with ten crowns. Both the heads and the horns represent kingdoms or nations. But why the discrepancy? Why seven heads and ten horns? For that, we need to look to Daniel for elaboration. Daniel had a dream similar to that of Nebuchadnezzar where he saw four beasts representing four empires: Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. The fourth empire especially caught Daniel’s attention.
After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns. I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things. (Daniel 7:7-8)
And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand. (Daniel 8:23-25) (Emphasis mine)
To be clear, this “beast” is the Antichrist. John first introduced him as the rider on the white horse, who carried a bow but no arrows. His conquest is through diplomacy as Daniel records: “And through his policy … and by peace shall destroy many” (Daniel 8:25). The fourth beast Daniel sees is the Roman Empire. All the empires that came before were conquered by the subsequent empires, but not Rome. It seemingly melted into the Holy Roman Empire – individual kingdoms ultimately controlled by the Roman Catholic Church. Most of the EU nations have roots in the Holy Roman Empire, which seems to confirm the possibility of these morphing into the kingdom of the Antichrist.
Notice that Daniel’s beast has ten “horns” or “kings.” John’s beast has seven heads and ten “horns” Daniel sees a “little horn” rise who “plucks up” three horns leaving seven. Now we can see both visions merge. Daniel’s beast has “a mouth speaking great things” (Daniel 7:8) “and he shall destroy wonderfully” (Daniel 8:24). “Wonderfully” translates the Hebrew word pâlâ’ meaning “to be beyond one’s power, be difficult to do; to be difficult to understand” further confirming his diplomatic abilities so that he is able to do what no one else has been able to accomplish, i.e., bring peace to the Middle East. “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week” (Daniel 9:27).
This beast will come “in the latter time of their kingdom” i.e., the kingdom of the “ten horns.” By the time John sees the beast, he is no more “Mr. Nice Guy.” “His power shall be mighty, but not by his own power;” his power comes from Satan. John confirms that the dragon (Satan) gives power to the beast. At the midpoint of the Tribulation, after three-and-one-half years, the mask comes off, and he exposes himself for who he really is. “[In] the midst of the week [i.e., seven years] he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate” (Daniel 9:27 emphasis mine). Jesus confirmed this would happen. “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains” (Matthew 24:15-16, emphasis mine). Paul also pointed to this event. “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, emphasis mine).
“And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority” (Revelation 13:2). Much ink has been spilled examining the nature of beast described by John. For the sake of brevity, let me just suggest that this beast seems to be an amalgamation of the four beasts seen by Daniel the Prophet. As stated earlier, this beast is the Antichrist. Here John gives us the source of his power: “the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.” Recall that in the previous chapter, Satan has been expelled from heaven and cast down to earth along with a third of the angels who follow him.
“And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast” (Revelation 13:3). Some interpret this as the Antichrist being mortally wounded and somehow miraculously coming back to life. Some suggest that a sham is foisted upon the world to make it appear as if Antichrist has been killed and later comes back to life. The deception meant to mimic the death and resurrection of Christ causes amazement throughout the world so that “they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?” (Revelation 13:4, emphasis mine). This may indeed be the case; however, notice that it is “one of his heads” that is wounded, not the beast himself. The beast has seven heads and only one is wounded. Since the heads represent kingdoms, it seems to me that this is one of the kingdoms that disappears and miraculously comes back to life.
In Revelation 17:9-10, John speaks of seven kingdoms: five are fallen, one is, and one is to come. The five fallen are Assyria, Egypt, Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece. The one that is, i.e., existing at John’s time, is Rome, and the one to come is the “Revived Roman Empire.” It seems to me (and I could be wrong about this) that Rome is the wounded head that seems to have died, but it miraculously comes back to life in the form of the Revived Roman Empire, i.e., the kingdom of the Antichrist. However, the notion that this is the Antichrist himself has strong scriptural support in this same chapter. “And he [the False Prophet] exerciseth all the power of the first beast [the Antichrist] before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed” (Revelation 13:12, emphasis mine).
“And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months” (Revelation 13:5, emphasis mine). This fits the description of Daniel’s “little horn.” “And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time” (Daniel 7:25, emphasis mine). In both instances, he is given three-and-one-half years – forty and two months; time (one year) and times (two years) and the dividing of time (½ year), 3½ years total.
“And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations” (Revelation 13:6-7). Antichrist will speak evil of everything pertaining to God. His hatred toward God manifests in his hatred toward the “saints” of God. These are God’s chosen people during the Tribulation whether they be Jews or followers of Christ. The Antichrist will persecute them with a vengeance. Satan, the dragon, knows his time is short and in order to prevent Christ’s return, he must eliminate all for whom He would return. Having read the end of the book, I know that will not happen!
“And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If any man have an ear, let him hear. He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints” (Revelation 13:8-10, emphasis mine). Note the specificity of those who will worship the Antichrist – those “whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb.” “The patience and faith of the saints” comes in knowing that God will vindicate them for their persecution.
John then sees a second beast. “And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon” (Revelation 13:11). This second beast comes out of the “earth” rather than the “sea.” Often, in the Old Testament (OT), “the land” or “the earth” refers to the land of Israel. (Just to avoid confusion, this second beast is the “False Prophet” that is identified by the role he plays.). The Greek word translated “earth” is gē and could also be translated as “land” and specifically, “a country, land enclosed within fixed boundaries, a tract of land, territory, region.” Therefore, the False Prophet could be a Jew since he comes “out of the earth,” or “the land.”
This second beast also has “two horns like a lamb.” Because Jesus is often referred to as “the Lamb of God” in the New Testament (NT) and particularly in the Book of Revelation, some, like C.I. Scofield annotator of the Scofield Reference Bible, have taken this as referring to the Antichrist. However, as we continue through the passage, it is evident that this second beast is the “mouthpiece” for the first beast. “And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed” (Revelation 13:12). We have already seen that “first beast, whose deadly wound was healed” refers to the Antichrist. Satan is the dragon that gives power to the beast (13:2), and he does not manifest himself by visible means. No, this “lamb” is not the Antichrist.
So, what is the significance of the “two horns”? I consulted several good commentaries and no one provided a good explanation. In fact, except for the explanation above, none of the others even made an attempt. So, here is my feeble attempt at an explanation. The False Prophet is the leader of the coming one-world relation (which is already developing in the form of ecumenicalism and earth worship – “save the planet”). As we have already seen, “horns” represent kingdoms or leaders, and since the False Prophet is a religious leader, his horns may represent two ecclesiastical kingdoms. This brings me back to Rome. In A.D. 313, the Roman Emperor, Constantine, made Christianity the official state religion of the Roman Empire. He later moved his capital to Constantinople (Istanbul). At that time, Rome had only one religion. Then in A.D. 1054, the Catholic Church split into the Roman Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church. The Roman Church maintained its seat of authority in Rome (The Vatican) while the Eastern Orthodox Church was headquartered in Constantinople. Thus, we had two religious “kingdoms.” It is noteworthy to point out that only the Roman Church has a Pope; the Byzantine Church or Eastern Orthodox Church never had a Pope although, in its practices, it is basically Catholic. Based on this, I conclude that the “two horns” represent the two Catholic “kingdoms.” That is not to say that the coming one-world religion will be Catholic. However, it is interesting to note that the current Pope is working feverishly to bring all religions, not only Christianity, under one fold. He is also a globalist, a climate-change activist, and is in favor of baptizing aliens when they show up. Hear me clearly. I am NOT saying that this Pope is “the” False Prophet. As old as he is, he may not be around for the Tribulation. However, the ideology is firmly in place within the Roman Catholic Church. There is also the possibility that the False Prophet could be Jewish. However it plays out, I know I will not be on Earth to observe it at ground level!
“And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live” (Revelation 13:13-14). Satan is not omnipotent, as God is, but he is very powerful; and he gives power to the Antichrist and the False prophet to work “miracles” that mimic the miracles of God. These two imposters will deceive earth dwellers into worshiping Satan, the dragon. Jesus warned about such things. “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect” (Matthew 24:24, emphasis mine). The “very elect” are the Tribulation saints that survive the intense persecution of that time.
“And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed” (Revelation 13:15). This reminds me of Nebuchadnezzar’s statue that he built and required all of his subjects worship. However, his statue had no ability to move or speak. The Antichrist’s image will have the ability to speak and to kill anyone – worldwide – who does not worship it or “the beast” that it represents. Just as little as perhaps thirty years ago (maybe less) the thought that the entire world population could be monitored to such an extent that such an edict could be carried out seemed like a farfetched idea. Not so today! We have cameras everywhere with facial recognition that can track our every move. Even our cell phones “listen” to us for marketing purposes. China monitors all of its citizens for compliance with government-imposed social norms with a social-credit system that controls behavior through a system of merits and demerits. Many of the global leaders of the WEF, WHO, UN, EU, and even many in the government of the good ol’ USA think that is a great idea! The technology is out there, and with the help of artificial intelligence (AI), the implementation of such a system is here already and rapidly improving.
The “image” could be a statue, like the one Nebuchadnezzar built except this one can talk, and with the help of AI, can execute those who do not worship it, the Antichrist, and the dragon. Recently, such a statue was created (watch the video linked below). The only thing this statue lacks is the AI connection, but it’s coming.
“And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six” (Revelation 13:16-18). Much time has been wasted trying to calculate the identity of the Antichrist based on the number 666. For me, as a Christian, the identity of the Antichrist is unimportant since I will not be here when he makes his debut. I am not looking for the Antichrist; I am looking for Jesus Christ. However, it is apparent to me that Christians living during the Tribulation will have the “understanding to count the number of the beast” so that they will be careful to refuse the mark.
The “mark” (Gk: charagma) is “a stamp, an imprinted mark,” probably something along the lines of a special tattoo like those given to Jewish holocaust prisoners during WWII. Because of advances in modern technology and the advent of the RFID chip with which many are voluntarily being implanted, some have suggested that the “mark of the beast” will be an implanted RFID in the right hand or forehead. This is certainly plausible since part of the purpose of the mark is to control commerce so that “no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark.” Again, with the advent of AI and facial recognition everywhere, such controls would not be difficult. However, the language indicates that it is a visible mark. RFID chips are implanted under the skin so that they are invisible, a tattoo is not. So, a combination of both a tattoo and RFID could be used together. The tattoo would allow facial recognition to identify the person without needing to read the RFID chip.
The mark must be taken voluntarily, and those who take it have permanently allied themselves to Satan forever forfeiting any hope of eternal salvation. Those who refuse it will pay with their lives; however, the instant they die, they will enter the presence of the Lord, so there is no need to fear. Together, the dragon, the Antichrist, and the False Prophet form an unholy trinity that counterfeits the Holy Trinity of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. In all things, Satan tries to imitate God. He is a deceiver and the father of lies. Therefore, when Jesus’ disciples asked Him about the end-times, His first warning was, “Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many” (Matthew 24:4-5).
Antichrist has not made his appearance. No one knows who he is, but from the looks of things, he is in the wings waiting. I am not looking for the Antichrist; I am looking for Jesus Christ! The time is drawing near. The pieces of the end-times puzzle are falling into place and Christ’s return is closer now than at any time in history. Reader, are you prepared to meet Him? If not, check out my page on “Securing Eternal Life.”
And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. (Revelation 12:7-8)
The seventh trumpet has sounded, but before we see the judgments that follow, John gives us another behind-the-scenes look at events from a heavenly perspective. Chronologically, the seventh trumpet sounds at the final half of the remaining three-and-one-half years of what is known as the “Great Tribulation.” This, of course, is based on my understanding of the sequence of events, and I could certainly be wrong about that. One thing for certain is that those who have placed their trust in Christ will be witnesses to these events, like John, from a heavenly perspective. Before the seven-year Tribulation begins, the Church, i.e., those who have truly placed their faith and trust in Christ for salvation, will be “snatched up abruptly” (raptured) out of the world and taken to join Jesus in the air and dwell with Him forever.
In my opinion, one of the purposes of Revelation is for the instruction of the Tribulation saints. As they live in the midst of the judgments coming on the earth, they will, by the study of this book, understand the coming events and be able to closely predict the moment that Christ returns to earth. Surely someone will remind me that “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matthew 24:36), and I would agree to a point. At the time Jesus spoke these words, He spoke from a self-limited human perspective of events far in the future. Surely, in His ascended state, He knows now. As for the Church, we have no idea when Jesus will call us up to be with Him. However, as we examine world events against end-times prophecy, we can surmise that His return is near. But, what does “near” mean? “Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh” (Matthew 24:44). However, Tribulation saints will know that when Antichrist (“the beast”) confirms the covenant with Israel, seven years remain for Christ to return. By closely examining the book, they will also be able to predict the sequence of events that are ahead for them because they are clearly outlined in the Book of Revelation.
So, before continuing with the coming judgments, John pauses briefly to provide insight into the cause of all that is taking place. “And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars” (Revelation 12:1). On September 23, 2017 a conjunction of the constellations Virgo and Leo along with the planets, Venus, Mercury, Mars with Jupiter in the “womb” of Virgo, excited many prophecy students with the prospect of the Rapture. According to these “stargazers,” this particular conjunction was a once-in-a-7000-year event, which perfectly fits biblical chronology. It also fits John’s vision almost perfectly. Because of its position in the sky, it could not be seen in the nighttime sky because it was “clothed with the sun.” Also, the “new moon,” which could not be seen was at Virgo’s feet. Leo, along with the planets, Venus, Mercury, and Mars crowned Virgo with “twelve stars.” Jupiter (the “King Planet”) wandered around Virgo’s womb until it exited later in the year from between Virgo’s feet as if being born. At the same time, the constellation Draco, the dragon, was poised at Virgo’s feet as if ready to devour the birth.
For those eager for the Rapture, this was “the sign.” They argued rightly that God created the stars to be “for signs, and for seasons” (Genesis 1:14), that being “signals or omens” and “appointed times.” As we can testify, the Rapture did not take place and many other students of end-times prophecies criticized the “stargazers” for creating such an unwarranted stir. However, just because the Rapture did not take place does not negate the fact that the conjunction did indeed take place, and it did in fact “signal” those that are watching to keep looking into Scripture. Nor does it negate the possibility that this was indeed what John saw. John reports what he saw as factual, not as symbolic.
That said, John’s vision does have biblical and historical significance. John saw a woman clothed with the sun with the moon at her feet and with a crown of twelve stars on her head. We see this same image in Genesis where Joseph describes his dream. “And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me” (Genesis 37:9). In this case, the sun is Jacob (Israel), the moon is Joseph’s mother, Rachel, and the eleven stars (in this case) were Joseph’s brothers. From the Genesis account, we can surmise that the woman that John sees is the nation of Israel with her 12 tribes. “And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered” (Revelation 12:2). The “child” we conclude is Jesus Christ who came forth from the nation of Israel. We see this later on in this narrative.
“And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born” (Revelation 12:3-4). The dragon’s identity is revealed later in this chapter. It is the dragon that gives Antichrist (the beast) his power. The dragon is none other than Satan himself. He is described as having seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns, which is a description of the Antichrist’s kingdom. The “third part of the stars of heaven” that he sweeps up with his tail refers to the fallen angels that follow him. We see angels called stars in the Book of Job when God says, “Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” (Job 38:6-7, emphasis mine). Considering the parallelism of Hebrew poetry, we recognize that the “morning stars” and “the sons of God” are the same. These are angels. Throughout Scripture, God is known as the LORD God of hosts, i.e., armies. Often this refers to the armies of men, but in other instances, it refers to angelic armies. “Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts” (Psalm 148:2, emphasis mine). Of these, Satan takes a third.
The dragon stands before the woman waiting to devour the child that is to be born. From the beginning of Creation Satan has attempted to thwart God’s divine plan. First, at the Garden of Eden when he caused the fall of man. God promised, “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15, emphasis mine). That “woman” carried a twofold meaning. The birth of Christ came through the virgin Mary, but the other was the nation of Israel of which Mary was part. Satan’s attempt to destroy Jesus failed at the cross when, after three days, Jesus rose from the grave. Now, the only option left for Satan is to destroy the nation of Israel so that God cannot fulfill His promise to restore the nation.
“And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days” (Revelation 12:5-6). Jesus, born of the woman, came, died, rose again, and “was caught up into God, and to his throne.”  Later we learn that He will indeed “rule all the nations with a rod of iron.” Meanwhile, history records that the dragon continues to pursue the woman in an attempt to prevent the Lord’s return. However, God has protected and preserved Israel to this very day.
The 1260 days (3 ½ years) refers to the final half of the Tribulation that begins when “the beast” stands in the rebuilt temple in Jerusalem proclaiming himself to be God. At this time, many Jews will recognize him for who he is and flee Jerusalem and Israel and go into hiding to a place God has prepared for their protection. Many scholars speculate that this place is Petra in Jordan. Wherever it is, God will protect them until Christ returns.
John then describes an angelic battle in heaven where God’s angels, led by Michael, fight against Satan (the dragon) and his angels. God’s armies defeat Satan and his armies “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him” (Revelation 12:9). Up until this time, Satan has maintained full access before God’s throne. We see this in the Book of Job where Satan goes before God to report on the activities on earth. We see in the next verse that he is “the accuser of the brethren” before the throne of God. However, now he has lost that privilege and this enrages him. Guess on who he will vent his rage?
“And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death” (Revelation 12:10-11). Those who “overcome” Satan are those who are covered by the blood of the Lamb by grace through faith. Throughout history, Christians have preferred death rather than deny Christ. This was true in the past, it is true now, and even during the time of the Tribulation, those who have placed their faith in Christ will accept physical death knowing that through Christ they have eternal life. The Apostle Paul said it like this: “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).
“Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time” (Revelation 12:12). The devil is not happy and he is going to take it out on earth dwellers. Chronologically, this probably takes place at the midpoint of the Tribulation where he takes possession of Antichrist. More on that later.
The remaining verses in this chapter describe Satan’s persecution of “believing” Israel. Antisemitism has existed ever since the Jews were scattered throughout the earth after A.D. 70. However, as God promised, God has regathered them to their own land. He has a plan for their redemption and Satan now has little time to stop that plan.
“And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 12:14-17, emphasis mine).
However, God’s plan will not be thwarted. God will succeed and Satan’s reign on earth will end forever. The time is drawing near. The pieces of the end-times puzzle are falling into place and Christ’s return is closer now than at any time in history. Reader, are you prepared to meet Him? If not, check out my page on “Securing Eternal Life.”
And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 11:15)
The Two Witnesses testify to the mercy of God that even through severe judgment, God gives a sinful and rebellious world ample opportunity to repent. For the first three-and-one-half years of the Tribulation, they have preached in the streets of Jerusalem and the whole world heard their message so that they have no excuse. Surely, many turned to Christ because of their message, but to be a Christ-believer in these times is a life-commitment indeed. We saw them underneath the altar as those who had been “slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held” (Revelation 6:9).
When “the beast” kills the two witnesses, the world celebrates their demise. However, the jubilation comes to an abrupt end when after three days life returns to their lifeless bodies, and they ascend to heaven as the whole world watches. The shock of such a sight cause many to reconsider their eternal state, and “the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven” (Revelation 11:13).
In the account of the two witnesses, John gave us a brief look back at the previous three-and-one-half years in the midst of the trumpet judgments. Six trumpets have sounded thus far, and one remains to be sounded.
“And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 11:15). The heavenly pronouncement gives a sense of finality for what is to come. It’s game over!
I will not be dogmatic about this. The chronology of these events is all up for debate, and anyone that claims they know doesn’t. However, as it appears to me, the trumpet judgments begin the final three-and-one-half years of the Tribulation. This is the time of Great Tribulation, and the seventh trumpet introduces the final 21 months of the Great Tribulation represented by the seven “bowl” judgments.
For this reason, I believe the heavenly pronouncement announces “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever” (11:15). It’s a done deal. The end is very near.
“And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned” (Revelation 11:16-17). The end of the horror on earth certainly is cause for celebration knowing that the King of Kings and Lord of Lords will soon take His throne.
The worshipers continue. “And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth” (Revelation 11:18). The psalmist captures this sentiment perfectly.
Why do the [nations] rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?
The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying,
Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.
He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. (Psalm 2:1-4)
“The dead” speaks of those who have rejected God’s free gift of grace through faith. Whether physically alive or physically dead, they are spiritually dead in their sins because they have rejected Christ who is the only source of eternal life. These will be judged at the “Great White Throne Judgment” at the end of the Millennium. By contrast, God’s servants, the prophets, and the saints will enjoy eternal rewards.
Chapter 11 closes with a scene of the Temple of God in heaven and the Ark of the Covenant. “And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament [covenant]: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail” (Revelation 11:19). This is the real Temple of God and the real Ark of the Covenant from which the earthly Tabernacle/Temple and Ark were patterned. The “lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail” are just a prelude of what the seventh trumpet announces – the final seven “bowl” judgments.
John describes the “bowl” judgments in Chapter 16. However, before John goes there, he gives us another parenthetical pause to provide insight into the events that have taken place on Earth, so far. Stay tuned!
The time is drawing near. The pieces of the end-times puzzle are falling into place and Christ’s return is closer now than at any time in history. Reader, are you prepared to meet Him? If not, check out my page on “Securing Eternal Life.”