Category Archives: Heaven

The Woman and the Dragon

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)[1] out of the world and taken to join Jesus in the air[2] and dwell with Him forever.[3]

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[4] 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,[5] 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[6] 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.[7] 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.[8] 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.” [9] Later we learn that He will indeed “rule all the nations with a rod of iron.”[10] 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.[11] 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[12] 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.[13] 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.”


[1]  “The Rapture”; “In the Twinkling of an Eye

[2]  1 Thessalonians 4:15-18

[3]  John 14:1-3

[4]  Philippians 2:5-8

[5]  Daniel 9:27

[6]  “Coming Soon

[7]  “Prophecy Snobs

[8]  Genesis 3

[9]  Acts 1:9-11

[10]  Revelation 19:15-16

[11]  Daniel 9:27; Matthew 24:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:4

[12]  Job 1-2

[13]  Ephesians 2:8-9

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The Sixth Trumpet

One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter. (Revelation 9:12)

The fifth trumpet, the first of “three woes,”[1] brought a swarm of demonic locusts to torment people not protected by the “seal of God in their foreheads,”[2] suggesting that these were none of God’s elect. Their sting inflicted such excruciating pain that people wished they could die, but death eluded them for a period of five months. Things are about to get worse.

“And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates” (Revelation 9:13-14). John does not identify the “voice” that he heard, but considering that it comes from “the golden altar which is before God,” we can presume that it is the voice of God. We saw this altar in Chapter 8 upon which incense burned and whose smoke represented the prayers of the saints rising before God. The voice instructs the sixth angel to “release” the four angels bound in the “great river Euphrates.” That the four angels are “bound” tells us that these are demonic angels. Since the Tower of Babel and its offshoot Babylon, the Euphrates has been the source of demonic, pagan worship, and these “angels” are the “principalities”[3] that rule over these demonic powers.

“And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men” (Revelation 9:15). What we see here clearly reveals that it all falls within God’s plan. It is no accident, nor is it a capricious reaction of a wrathful God. Note the precision with which this judgment is carried out. They “were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year.” Their purpose is “to slay the third part of men,” which at this point (without going into a detailed explanation) is about 2-Billion people. Since the beginning of the Tribulation, Earth’s population has been reduced by almost half at this point.

“And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them” (Revelation 9:16). There are some students of Revelation and end-times prophecies that suggest that these are human armies from east of the Euphrates River. They probably arrive at this conclusion from a reference in Revelation 16:12 where the Euphrates River is dried up to make way for “the kings of the east.” Because China already boasts a standing army of over 200-Million soldiers, it makes sense that this might refer to that. In addition, India and Pakistan also have large standing armies. However, John’s description of the horsemen in the following verses precludes the possibility of this being a human army.

“And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone. By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths. For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt.” (Revelation 9:17-19). Of this horde of 200-Million, Clarence Larkin said, “This army of 200,000,000 horsemen is a supernatural army. It is not composed of ordinary men and horses. The fact that these ‘Four Angels’ were bound at the Euphrates, where Satan’s seat was in ancient times, and where it is to be again the City of Babylon restored, and from whence he sallied forth to do his diabolical work, makes it clear that this army is a part of Satan’s forces.”[4] Their appearance resembles nothing the human eye has ever seen. These cannot be human, and John’s language gives no indication that these are symbolic of something else. These are real, ugly, and destructive. Even so, I am gobsmacked at the reaction of those that survive the assault.

“And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts” (Revelation 9:20-21, emphasis mine). Later in the book, we learn that these “men” (the term includes women) recognize that these “plagues” are judgments from God and rather than repent, they become even more rebellious. It is interesting that they “worship devils.” There is an ever-increasing interest in the occult and Satan worship these days. Abortion, sexual perversions (LGBTQ+), drug abuse (“sorceries”), murders and fornication all have demonic origins, and all of these things, including “thefts,” are all increasing exponentially these days. Yet, rather than repent of these sins, our society lashes out against Christianity, the only source of salvation. As evil as things are getting today, they will be a thousand times worse when all restraint (i.e., the Rapture) is removed from the earth, and the men of earth will curse God rather than repent.

One “woe” remains, but before the last trumpet sounds, John will give us a parenthetical look behind the scenes. I will cover that in my next article.

Reader, are you prepared for what is coming to the world? You do not need to go through the Tribulation, God’s wrath, that is coming upon the world. Read my page on “Securing Eternal Life,” and ask Jesus to save you from the wrath to come.


[1]  Revelation 8:13

[2]  Revelation 9:4

[3]  Romans 8:38; Ephesians 6:12; Colossians 1:16; 2:15

[4]  Clarence Larkin, The Book of Revelation Illustrated, (Rev. Clarence Larkin Estate, Philadelphia, 1919), p. 78,


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The First Four Trumpets

And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound. (Revelation 8:6)

When the seventh seal is open, John sees seven angels to whom seven trumpets are given. The prospect of the judgments yet to come causes silence in heaven for the space of about a half hour, according to John.[1] The preceding six seals brought the initial judgments of the wrath of God and the Lamb, but they are mild compared to what comes next.

The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up” (Revelation 8:7, emphasis mine). Many students of the Book of Revelation see symbolism throughout the book. While the book does present many objects in the form of symbols, those symbols are usually explained for the understanding of the reader. For example, in the first chapter, John sees Jesus standing in the midst of seven candlesticks (1:13) and holding seven stars in His right hand (1:16). Jesus reveals that “mystery” in verse 20; the candlesticks represent the seven churches to whom the book is addressed, and the seven stars represent the “angels” or “messengers,” i.e., pastors, of the seven churches. The combined symbolism shows Christ abiding in the midst of His churches.

Some symbolism is not explained directly but can be inferred from what we read in other places in Scripture. For example, John describes Jesus clothed with a “garment” down to His feet, and a golden girdle about His chest (1:13). We know from Leviticus that this is priestly apparel. His white hair symbolizes wisdom.[2] Also, when something is to be taken as symbolic, it is almost always preceded with “like” or “as” indicating simile. For example, “his eyes were as a flame of fire” (1:14) does not mean that Jesus had fire coming out of His eyes, rather, the symbolism indicates discernment and omniscience. His feet were “like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace” (1:15) is symbolic of judgment.[3] Clarence Larkin said, “In that day those feet that trod the Via Dolorosa of suffering will be like unto INCANDESCENT BRASS, that shall tread and crush Antichrist and Satan when He comes to ‘Tread the WINE-PRESS of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.’ Rev. 19:15.”[4]

Sometimes simile is not indicated, but the symbolism can be discerned from the context and from other references in Scripture. For example, John sees Jesus with a sharp two-edged sword coming from His mouth (1:16). This seems rather strange; however, we see this image again in Revelation 19:15. What can this mean? Well, what normally comes out of a mouth? The most obvious answer is “words.” In his Gospel, John called Jesus, “the Word.” “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1:14, emphasis mine). John says that the Word (Jesus) created everything. “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:3). In Genesis, we learn that all of creation (except for that of man) was accomplished through the spoken Word. God said, “Let there be…” and there was. We also know that God has also given us His written Word, the Bible. The entire Psalm 119 speaks about God’s Word. There we find these words: “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” (Psalm 119:11). The writer of the Book of Hebrews gives us this perception: “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). So, by looking at other Scriptures, we can discern that the sword proceeding out of Jesus’ mouth is nothing less than His Word, which when spoken will cut down all of His enemies because it is by His Word that we will all be judged.

So, why have I gone down this long rabbit trail without explaining the judgment of the first trumpet? I did so to show that what is described is NOT symbolic. We must take this verse (and those that follow) literally. The first trumpet sounds and “hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth” (8:7). There is no symbolism indicated here – no simile. This is a supernatural phenomenon; however, it is not unprecedented. God sent hail mixed with fire on Egypt as the seventh of ten plagues to convince Pharaoh to set the Israelites free.[5] However, this judgment comes with a twist. Blood, not rain like blood, comes mixed with the hail and fire. The fire burns one-third of the earth’s trees and grass. This will be an ecological disaster.

“And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood” (Revelation 8:8, emphasis mine). John sees an enormous object fall out of the sky and into the sea. Notice that John employs simile here – “as it were a great mountain” Surely John had seen meteors before, but this was unlike anything he had ever seen. It looked like a mountain to him, and it was burning. We know that when meteorites enter our atmosphere, the atmospheric friction causes them to ignite. Often, they burn up completely before striking the earth. When they do not incinerate completely, they impact the earth with explosive force (depending on their size). There is a meteor crater in Winslow, AZ that is a mile in diameter, which was created by a relatively small meteor.[6] That is just a pebble compared to what John sees. This is a large asteroid that enters the earth and crashes into the sea. Such an impact will cause huge tsunamis and kill much aquatic life. Anything near the impact site will be wiped out. John says, “And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed” (Revelation 8:9).

“And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter” (Revelation 8:10-11, emphasis mine). Without a doubt, this assuredly is an asteroid. The Greek word translated as “star” is astēr, and it refers to any luminous celestial object. The idea of an asteroid strike is not a farfetched idea. These free-floating objects in space concern NASA to the point that they actively attempt to identify and track “near-earth objects” (NEOs) whose trajectory intercept Earth’s orbit.[7] Because of their concerns about possible collisions, NASA actively works on “defense” strategies to intercept and redirect asteroids with the potential to strike the earth. Wormwood will escape NASA’s defenses and score a direct hit on the planet. Unlike the “mountain” that hit the sea at the second trumpet, Wormwood hits land, and the fallout poisons one-third of the drinking water on the earth and many die from drinking the water.

“And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise” (Revelation 8:12, emphasis mine). Again, this is not symbolic. What could cause the dimming by one-third of the light from the sun, moon, and stars? Many possibilities exist. God controls all of the elements, and it is certainly possible that He simply turns down the dimmer switch. However, it makes sense to me that the third trumpet brings the effects of the fourth trumpet. In other words, when that giant asteroid, Wormwood, strikes the earth, the impact will send debris high into the atmosphere, and the wind currents will spread it all over the earth effectively covering the entire planet in a blanket of dust. We know what volcanos do when they erupt. The ash they spew into the air darkens the sun and makes the moon appear blood red, and these are small compared to Wormwood.

John sees another angel. “And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!” (Revelation 8:13, emphasis mine). Things are going to get worse. I am thankful that I will not be around to experience what is coming.

Reader, are you prepared for what is coming to the world? You do not need to go through the Tribulation, God’s wrath, that is coming upon the world. Read my page on “Securing Eternal Life,” and ask Jesus to save you from the wrath to come.


[1]  Revelation 8:1-2

[2]  Leviticus 19:32; Proverbs 16:31 – “hoary head” means “white” hair

[3]  J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible, Vol. 5 (Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, 1983), p. 895.

[4]  Clarence Larkin, The Book of Revelation Illustrated, (Rev. Clarence Larkin Estate, Philadelphia, 1919), p. 11.

[5]  Exodus 9:13-35

[6]  Meteor Crater | Barringer Space Museum | Winslow, AZ

[7]  NASA Office to Coordinate Asteroid Detection, Hazard Mitigation | NASA

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The Seventh Seal

And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. (Revelation 8:1)

How long is half an hour in heaven? Is it the same as half an hour here on Earth? Have you ever experienced half an hour in complete silence? I do not think I ever have; there are always some audible sounds even in the quietest times: the sound of the wind, bird songs, distant traffic sounds, etc. I cannot imagine total silence for even a short time, much less half an hour. I imagine it would be rather unnerving.

The Lamb has opened six seals to this point and unleashed all kinds of havoc around the globe. The white horse introduced the Antichrist. The red horse brings war to the earth. The black horse introduces worldwide economic collapse along with extreme inflation. The pale horse adds death from hunger, disease, and pestilences. The fifth seal introduces us to the Tribulation saints that have been martyred for their faith in Christ. The sixth seal brings down heaven in the way of falling space rocks, the darkening of the sun and moon, and an earthquake that shakes the entire planet. The whole world reels from the judgments that have come upon the planet.

Now, the Lamb opens the seventh seal and there is total silence in heaven for half an hour. All of heaven stands still. As if in shock from the past judgments, those in heaven are awestruck at what is about to come. If you thought the first six seals were bad, you have not seen anything yet. The worst is yet to come.

“And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets” (Revelation 8:1-2, emphasis mine). The seven trumpets herald seven more judgments far worse than those seen so far. Arguably, by this time we are at the midpoint of the Tribulation and entering a time of “Great Tribulation.” Of this time, Jesus said, “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:21, emphasis mine). No wonder the prospect of what comes next causes silence in heaven.

Now John looks “And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand” (Revelation 8:3-4, emphasis mine). The writer of the book of Hebrews informs us that the Tabernacle, and subsequently the Temple, was constructed after the pattern of that which was in heaven.[1] In the Tabernacle and in the Temple, there was an altar before the Holy of Holies upon which incense was burned continuously. The sweet-smelling smoke of the burning incense represented the prayers of the people going up before God. Here, in the heavenly temple of God, the prayers of the saints constantly rise before the Lord. John does not specify whether the prayers are those of the Tribulation saints who remain on the earth, those of the martyred saints beneath the altar,[2] or the saints of all time. Regardless, it is comforting and encouraging to know that our prayers are constantly before the throne of God. The priest responsible for bringing our prayers before God is none other than Jesus Christ. “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5).

In the model prayer, Jesus said, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). That particular prayer is about to be answered in full. “And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake. And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound” (Revelation 8:5-6). Brace yourself for what comes next!

Reader, are you prepared for what is coming to the world? You do not need to go through the Tribulation, God’s wrath, that is coming upon the world. Read my page on “Securing Eternal Life,” and ask Jesus to save you from the wrath to come.


[1]  Hebrews 8:5

[2]  Revelation 6:10

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The 144K

And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel. (Revelation 7:4)

The first six seals[1] release unprecedented havoc upon the earth, and the seventh seal is next in line. Meanwhile, John shifts the focus from the judgments taking place on earth to the grace and mercy that God continues to offer the inhabitants of Earth. Even in these times, God is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

John says, “And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads” (Revelation 7:1-3).

John sees four angels that control the wind currents from the four points of the compass. As such, they have power over the weather on Earth, and they are prepared to unleash their fury on Earth. However, another angel appears from the rising sun (translated as “east”) to temporarily halt the next judgment. John says that this angel has “the seal of the living God.”

This “seal” is probably something like a stamp, brand, or signet ring that carries with it the authority of God. John does not elaborate on the mark, but I wonder if it could be the Hebrew letter shin (שׁ). One of the names of God is El Shadday – “Almighty God.” The initial of this name is the Hebrew letter shin. At the dedication of Solomon’s Temple, God said, “… I have hallowed this house, which thou hast built, to put my name there for ever; and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually” (1 Kings 9:3, emphasis mine). The Temple Mount in Jerusalem is geographically cradled above three valleys that come together in the shape of the letter shin (שׁ) when viewed from the air. I find that intriguing.

Perhaps the shin is the symbol on the seal that the angel carries. Some suggest that the angel with the seal of God is Jesus. They come to this conclusion because he seems to have the authority of God by way of the seal. However, it is not beyond God to delegate His authority to His angels. Arguably, Jesus controls all the events concerning the Tribulation, and He holds the scroll and opens the seals. It makes sense that He is directing this angel and has delegated His authority to this angel for the sealing of His servants. Also, there is the point that John describes this angel as “another angel” (7:2) like those holding the four winds. So, in my view, this is not Jesus.

The angels holding back the four winds are temporarily restrained from unleashing their judgments until “we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads” (7:3). “And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel” (Revelation 7:4, emphasis mine). These 144,000 who are sealed are Jews, not Jehovah’s Witnesses. There are 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes of Israel and are listed in the verses that follow.[2] The tribes listed are as follows: Judah, Reuben, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Manasseh, Simeon, Levi, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, and Benjamin.[3] For those who pay attention, there is an apparent discrepancy between the Revelation list and the lists found in the Pentateuch (Genesis-Deuteronomy). This list includes Joseph from whom the two “half tribes” originated: Manasseh and Ephraim. Here, Joseph is listed as a stand-alone tribe and Ephraim is omitted from the list. The tribe of Dan is also missing.

The reason for their omission is due to a specific sin of idolatry that they allowed in their territories after the kingdom of Israel split under the reign of Rehoboam, successor to Solomon. Before entering the Promised Land, God issued a warning and a curse to anyone who led Israel into idolatry. “The LORD will not spare him, but then the anger of the LORD and his jealousy shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him, and the LORD shall blot out his name from under heaven. And the LORD shall separate him unto evil out of all the tribes of Israel, according to all the curses of the covenant that are written in this book of the law” (Deuteronomy 29:20-21). Dan was the first to lapse into idolatry. “And the children of Dan set up the graven image: and Jonathan, the son of Gershom, the son of Manasseh, he and his sons were priests to the tribe of Dan until the day of the captivity of the land” (Judges 18:30, emphasis mine). After the kingdom split, Jeroboam, king of the northern kingdom, had two golden calves made, and he placed one in Ephraim and the other in Dan.[4] Granted, all 12 tribes of Israel continually had problems with idolatry, but these two seem to be the first of the overt violations of God’s warning and may be the reason for the omission of these two tribes from the list of the 144,000.

These 144,000 Jewish sealed servants of God seem to be partly responsible for the conversion and salvation of innumerable souls during the Tribulation. John reports, “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, emphasis mine). As we have seen before, the “white robes” represent the righteousness of Christ that is imparted to them who have placed their faith and trust in Him (7:14). John records the celebration for these saints. “And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen” (Revelation 7:11-12). Jesus said, “there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth” (Luke 15:10), and here we see millions upon millions.

One of the elders approached John and asked the same question we might ask. “What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?” (7:13). John had no answer, so the elder explained, “These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (7:14, emphasis mine). They have come out of “great tribulation.” These are Tribulation saints; they are not the Church that was snatched out at the Rapture before the Tribulation begins. This is the amazing thing to me about this time. Even though God is unleashing His great wrath upon a sinful world, He still makes opportunities for people to be saved. “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).

We will see later on that God sends two untouchable Old Testament prophets to preach, and He even sends an angel to proclaim the Gospel around the earth. God is not willing that any should perish, but with all of His effort, we know that the greater majority will continue to reject Him. Jesus said, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat” (Matthew 7:13, emphasis mine).

For all who enter through the “strait (narrow) gate” there is this promise: “Therefore are they [those ‘who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the lamb’ (7:14)] before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes” (Revelation 7:15-17).

Reader, are you prepared for what is coming to the world? You do not need to go through the Tribulation, God’s wrath, that is coming upon the world. Read my page on “Securing Eternal Life,” and ask Jesus to save you from the wrath to come.


[1]  Revelation 6:1-17

[2]  Revelation 7:5-8

[3]  Genesis 49:1-27; Exodus 1:2-6

[4]  1 Kings 12:25-33

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