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 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.”
Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. (Revelation 4:11)
The book of Revelation puzzles many who read it. It seems strange and sometimes bizarre. Many avoid the book because the contents elicit fear about the predictions of things to come. However, the book of Revelation is the only book of the Bible that promises a blessing to those who read, hear, and apply its contents. “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.” (Revelation 1:3).
Revelation opens with the last remaining apostle of Jesus, the Apostle John, “in the Spirit the Lord’s Day.” The Roman government arrested and exiled John to the prison island of Patmos for preaching the disruptive Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The initial recipients of the book were seven churches in Asia Minor: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. To these, the risen Christ addresses individual letters. These churches existed in John’s day, but because of the commendations and reproofs Jesus gives to these churches, some have seen in them patterns of each throughout church history.
John then describes his first glimpse of Jesus as though in a vision. This is not the Jesus John remembers during His earthly ministry. This Jesus is awesome to behold. John says, “And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength” (Revelation 1:12-16). The dazzling sight caused John to fall at His feet in awestruck fear, but that tender, familiar voice reassured him of the One he loved. “… Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death” (Revelation 1:17-18).
John saw Jesus in the midst of seven lampstands holding seven stars in His right hand. Jesus explained to him that the seven lampstands represented the seven churches and the seven stars represented the seven angels, i.e., messengers or pastors, of the seven churches. The image reminds us that Jesus dwells among His churches and that He keeps and protects the pastors of His churches in His right hand (a position of power). This should also serve as a warning to pastors. Just as Jesus’ right hand protects His messengers, He also has the power to crush the pastor that fails in his responsibility to Jesus’ Bride, the Church.
As noted earlier, Jesus dictates direct messages to each of the seven churches. Immediately following the last word to the church of Laodicea, John looks up and sees an open door in heaven and hears a sound (Greek: phōnē) like that of a trumpet that said, “Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne” (Revelation 4:1-2, emphasis mine).
Many see the Rapture of the Church in these verses. John is commanded to “come up here” and “immediately” he sees the throne of God for the first time. From this point forward, the Church no longer appears on earth until Christ returns with His saints in Chapter 19.
There are many who teach that the Rapture is not taught in the Bible. They correctly argue that the word “rapture” appears nowhere in the Bible. However, neither do the words bible or trinity, yet no one will argue that these concepts are not taught in the Bible. “Rapture” translates the Greek word harpazō into the Latin raptus meaning “to seize; to catch away or up; to pluck, pull, or take by force”. This is what happened to John. He was on the earth and “immediately” he was caught away into the throne room of God.
Jesus gave us the first promise of the Rapture before going to the cross. He said, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:1-3, emphasis mine). Paul teaches of the time when the trumpet shall sound and our corrupt bodies will be changed in the twinkling of an eye. The dead in Christ will rise from their graves, and we who are alive will join them to meet Jesus in the air.
John enters the presence of God and his first sight is the throne of God. The person seated on the throne appears not as a human or any other creature, but rather as a glorious splendor. Of Him, John says, “And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald” (Revelation 4:3). The Bible teaches that God has no human form, except in the form of Jesus. Jesus said, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24, emphasis mine). John was given a privilege that even Moses (or anyone else for that matter) was denied. Moses, who spoke with God face-to-face as with a friend, wanted to see God in His glory, but God denied his request, “And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live” (Exodus 33:20, emphasis mine). Yet, somehow John saw God in all of His glory and did not die. In our corrupt human bodies, we cannot withstand the glory of God’s presence. However, at the Rapture, our bodies will be transformed in such a way that we can be in the presence of God in His full glory and not be harmed, just like John.
The scene overwhelmed John. There were lightnings, thunders, and voices. Around the throne of God, John saw 24 thrones upon which seven elders sat wearing white robes and crowns of gold. Some suppose these represent the twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve apostles. Others suggest that they merely represent believers of all the ages. In either case, the white robes represent the righteousness of Christ conferred on them. The golden crowns are stephanos, which are “victors crowns” awarded to them for conquering sin, not through their own righteousness, but through the blood of Christ.
John then sees seven lampstands around the throne defined as the “seven spirits of God” Some suggest that these seven lampstands represent seven attributes of the Holy Spirit as described by the prophet Isaiah. “And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him [i.e., Jesus], the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD” (Isaiah 11:2, emphasis mine). We know that the Holy Spirit indwells believers and thereby indwells the Church. In the first chapter, John sees Jesus in the midst of seven lampstands, which represent the churches. Now, these same lampstands (i.e., churches) are seen around the throne of God. I see the lampstands representing both the Holy Spirit and the churches wherein the Holy Spirit resides. The attributes described by Isaiah certainly apply as well.
Around the throne is a crystal sea. It is difficult to know what John saw in this. It is all strange and wonderful and beyond words to describe. John could only relate what he saw by his limited earthly vocabulary. But then he sees four strange creatures full of eyes and with six wings each. One “beast” had the head of a lion, the second the head of a calf, the third the head of a man, and the fourth the head of an eagle. The eyes represent the omniscience of God and the four different heads represent all of God’s creatures: wild animals, domestic animals, human beings, and avian life. All of God’s creation never ceasing to praise Him day or night “saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come” (Revelation 4:8).
John then observed that when these praised God, the 24 elders prostrate themselves and cast their victor’s crowns before the throne saying, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” (Revelation 4:11).
With the focus on the throne, John spots something new. “And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals” (Revelation 5:1, emphasis mine). By its description, we know that this “book” is actually a scroll – perhaps parchment – with writing on both sides, rolled up and secured with seven seals. Many suggest that this scroll represents the title dead to the earth and the kingdoms thereof. When God created the earth, He gave dominion over the earth to man whom He created in His image on the sixth day of creation. However, man lost that dominion when he sinned in the Garden of Eden. The dominion of earth transferred to Satan. Paul calls him the “god of this world.” When Satan tempted Jesus, he offered Jesus the kingdoms of this world if He would only bow down and worship him. “And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it” (Luke 4:6, emphasis mine). However, his ownership is only temporary.
Then John saw and heard a strong angel proclaim, “Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?” (Revelation 5:2). And no one in heaven, on earth, or under the earth was found worthy to take the scroll and break the seals. The situation was dire indeed. All of God’s creation hung in the balance and there was no one to come to the rescue. John says, “And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon” (Revelation 5:4).
John’s tears were soon assuaged. “And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof,” John says, “And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth” (Revelation 5:5-6). John the Baptist saw this Lamb come to him to be baptized in the Jordan and proclaimed, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). He was slain on the cross, was buried in a borrowed tomb, and rose again on the third day. Horns represent kingdoms and the Lamb has seven representing completion. All the kingdoms belong to Him. He is “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS” (Revelation 19:16). Seven eyes suggest omniscience with all the attributes of the seven Spirits of God.
Only the Lamb, by virtue of His sacrifice, is worthy to take and open the scroll. “And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne” (Revelation 5:7). When the Lamb took the scroll, a great celebration broke out in heaven. The four living creatures and the 24 elders prostrate themselves before the Lamb. “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth” (Revelation 5:9-10).
Then the rest of heaven breaks out in praise, “Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever” (Revelation 5:12-13).
Worthy indeed! I cannot imagine how John must have felt at the first sight of heaven and the throne of God. I cannot wait to see it for myself!
The 14 chapters that follow bring us back to earth and the events that will transpire during the seven-year Tribulation. The scenes are horrific. However, the Church, the Bride of Christ, will not experience the horrors of the Tribulation. The Church, as we saw will be around the throne of God and not on earth. Will you be there or will you experience the horrors that are coming upon the earth? Your ticket out of here was purchased by Jesus more than 2000 years ago. All you have to do is accept it. Check out my page on “Securing Eternal Life.”
And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth. (Genesis 9:11)
Twenty-one years ago, the world gazed in shock as they watched endless replays of passenger jets flying into the Twin Towers in New York City. If that was not horrific enough, not much later another passenger jet flew into the Pentagon in Washington, DC. A fourth plane, destined either to the White House or the US Capitol building, crashed in a field near Shanksville, PA as a brave group of passengers fought to wrest control of the airplane from hijackers. The actions of those brave passengers cost them their lives and the lives of the others onboard, but it prevented a much worse outcome if the terrorists had succeeded.
Today we remember the events of that fateful day we have come to call 9-11. For a very brief time following those events, our nation was united as never before since at least World War II. For a while, Americans filled the pews of churches and for a moment, there was a feeling of revival. However, the revival was short-lived, and our nation quickly followed the path of the rest of the world into the depths of sin and depravity as this nation has never seen.
The list of sins is long and putrid, but the one that captured my mind was spot-lighted by 9-1-1; it is the sin of nature or earth worship. By earth-worship, I am referring to the Globalists’ agenda to “save the planet” from man-made climate change. The plan to save the planet is Satanic. From the beginning of creation, Satan has wanted to destroy the human race who was created in the image of God. Satan hates God, and he hates God’s most prized creation – the human race.
Globalists are not so much interested in saving the planet as they are in eliminating the majority of the human race and controlling those who remain. If they were serious about their concern for the planet, they would set the example by riding their bicycles rather than flying in private jets, and they would build their carbon-hogging mansions as far away from the sea coasts as possible in case the ocean levels really rise as they claim. However, climate change or global warming is not really their concern. They fancy themselves as the ruling elites, and they desire to lord it over a few peasants that they can control. They no longer hide their intentions. If anyone is interested in knowing their plans, they have published it freely on the website of the World Economic Forum.
For the child of God, this should not cause fear; rather it should cause us to watch and give us hope in the promises of God.
Genesis 9 records the end of the Global Flood where God destroyed all air-breathing land-dwelling creatures on earth, animals and humans. The flood waters receded from the land surface of the earth and Noah and his family and all the animals onboard the Ark came out to walk on dry land for the first time in over a year (371 days). The first thing Noah did when he came out was to build an altar and offer burnt sacrifices to the Lord. “And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done. While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease” (Genesis 8:21-22, emphasis mine).
The Globalists seek to stoke the flames of fear with their predictions of global catastrophe (which, by the way, they are causing by their draconian measures) due to climate change – increased carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere causing global warming, drastic weather changes bringing about crop failures, famines, and disease. However, note the promise of God – while the earth remains the weather will not change. God, not man, controls the weather.
Globalists also predict that rising global temperatures will cause the ice caps to melt. As a result, the ocean levels will rise and flood all the coastlands. Skeptics often ask, “If there was really a global flood, where did all the water go?” “We now know, of course, that the earth has plenty of water to launch a global flood. It has been calculated that if the earth’s surface were completely flat, with no high mountains and no deep ocean basins, that water would cover the earth to a depth of about 8,000 feet.”
The Globalists’ problem is that they do not know the Creator God who controls the elements and keeps His promises. “And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth” (Genesis 9:11). Granted, the earth has experienced many devastating floods but never has there been a planet-covering, earth-destroying flood like the one recorded in Scripture.
The destruction of this planet is yet future, but it will not be from ocean levels rising or by warming or cooling temperatures. There will be famines and pandemics, and people will die as a result of wars. However, the world will end according to God’s plan, not by human mismanagement of the environment. “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up … Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?” (2 Peter 3:10, 12).
Once again, those who have placed their trust in Christ need not worry. “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness” (2 Peter 3:13). That time is nearer today than ever before. We have God’s Word on it.
Reader, Jesus is coming soon. Are you prepared to meet Him? If you are not a member of His body, you will miss Him when He comes. Don’t do that! Please read my page on “Securing Eternal Life.”