Thursday, May 7, 2015

"The End is Near" - Revelation 10:1-11:24

Hello friends!

We are at it once again as we move steadily through The Revelation.  In this episode in our in-depth study of The Revelation we look at Chapter 10 and the first part of Chapter 11.

As God reveals the makings and details of the End Times, as the onion layers are peeled back, we hear the saints asking God, "How long until you judge the inhabitants of the earth?"  They hear the answer they have been waiting for, "There will be no more delay." (10:6)

Let me know what you think about this passage or if you have any question. God bless you as you study his Word!  - Kirk McCormick

The Revelation
The End is Now!
Revelation 10:1-11:14

** Just before the 7th Trumpet is sounded (i.e.: the 7th plague of the Tribulation), there is another interlude. This seems to be a deeper explanation of what is happening in the Sixth Trumpet.

** Here we are given insight to the battle on earth.  This is a deeper explication of
the three “woes” we’ve already seen.  The end is near!

vs. 1-4 – The Newest Angel on the Scene

“Robed in a Cloud” = clouds seem to symbolize the vastness of the chariots of God coming from heaven.

Psalm 104:3 – “He [i.e.: God] makes the clouds his chariot and rides on the wings of the wind.”

** So this angel is leading a vast army of God’s warriors (i.e.: other angels) from heaven

Note: This is NOT Jesus, as some commentators suggest…as Jesus is NEVER referred to as an “Angel” in Revelation.

Note 2:  Jesus comes the same way (in the clouds) in Matthew 24:30

“Rainbow above his Head” = some kind of identifying headdress (i.e.: a hat or helmet, perhaps) that the angel wears to distinguish his position in the army of angels.

Note: Rainbow, also, is a reference to the covenants of God.  Specifically, it is a reminder of the judgment of God in Noah’s day, but also the promise/covenant of God’s grace (i.e.: to never destroy the earth again with a flood)

Ezekiel 1:28 – “Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord.”

“Face like the sun” = reflecting the glory of God

Note:  At the Mount of Transfiguration, Jesus’ eternal face was described as “shining like the sun” (Matthew 17:2). This is a poetic way of noting the eternal nature of the person reflects God’s glory.

“Legs like fiery pillars” = the angel came in the authority of God to lead the armies of God into battle

Exodus 13:21 – “By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night.”

“Holding a little scroll [biblaridion]” = not the same scroll (“biblion”) being unsealed…but a lesser scroll giving further instruction

“Right foot on the sea and left foot on the land” = the authority of this angel covers the entire creation: land and sea.

“Shout like the roar of a lion” = speaking with the authority of Jesus, himself.

Psalm 29:3-5 – “The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord thunders over many waters. The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty. The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars; the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon.”

Note: What was shouted was in the 7 Thunders…which John began to write down but was told to “seal up” the content of the 7 Thunders.  So…this is the Biblical way of saying that even the Bible does not contain all of the predictions of God…only the pertinent ones.

Question: So who is this angel? 

Answer: It may be Gabriel, as foretold by Daniel:

Daniel 12:7 – “The man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, lifted his right hand and his left hand toward heaven, and I heard him swear by him who lives forever, saying, ‘It will be for a time, times and half a time. When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed.’”

Point: These are important things, likely about judgment, that will not be revealed to those on earth but are secrets of heaven but are germane on a “need to know” basis. 

Note: They are similar to Paul’s experience when he was “caught up to paradise. He heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell.”  (2 Corinthians 12:4).

vs. 5-7 – The End is not near…it is NOW!

“…raised his right hand to heaven” = the angel swears to God that his testimony is true

“There will be no more delay!” (v. 6)

·      “Delay” literally is “time” (Gk: chronos) – i.e.: “the specific time has come”, or “there will be no more time for people to repent”.
·      It could also signify the end of time and the beginning of “eternity” for all that God has created.  i.e.: a perfect melding of heaven and earth…when God lives on earth again in perfect relation to all of his creation – especially with mankind

Hebrews 10:37 – “For in just a very little while, ‘He who is coming will come and will not delay.’”

·      This answers the question of the martyrs (6:10-11), “How long…until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?”

Point: This is both good news and bad news…

·      Good News – God’s people will be fully redeemed/avenged…and the return of Jesus is imminent
·      Bad News – the Antichrist and Satan are still yet to be unleashed. So there’s more “hell” to pay, but Jesus will soon return to take care of Evil.

“The mystery of God will be accomplished.” (v. 7)

·      “Mystery” = God’s plan of redemption/salvation…to restore the whole creation to God’s original design
“    "Accomplished” = fulfilled…from the Greek: telios which means the “end result”.
o   Telios is reminiscent of Jesus on the Cross:  “It is finished” … i.e.: God’s plan is fulfilled

Note: This mystery has been predicted since the days of the prophets (700-500 BC).  Thus…it’s been a long time coming!

vs. 8-11 – John Obeys…hides the Contents of the 7 Thunders

“Tasted sweet…Turned sour”

·      “Sweet” suggesting how satisfying God’s judgment will be to the righteous… almost an “it’s-about-time” reaction
·      “Sour” suggesting the bitter contents of the scroll…i.e.: judgments from God

Note: Some commentators suggest this is God’s way of telling the church – “This final judgment will be both sweet and sour for you… “Sweet” because it brings the Kingdom to earth… “Sour” because you will be persecuted heavily in these final days of judgment.”

v. 11 – “You must prophecy again…” = the angel is saying to John, “It’s time to get back to the work of telling the prophecy of Revelation.”

11:1-2 – Back to the Prophecy: Measuring things for the Final Battle

** John is called upon to measure God’s future Temple (v. 1) – similar to Ezekiel 40ff

·      To “measure” was to lay claim or to mark boundaries
·      John is to measure the “Temple” (Greek: naos = temple or sanctuary…but usually rendered “Temple” in the Bible)

Note: Some use this passage to presume that the Temple in Jerusalem will need to be rebuilt BEFORE the Second Coming can happen.  Some even believe the rebuilding will happen during the Tribulation – at the instigation of the Antichrist. If true, what greater impetus for a Holy War can there be, assuming all things remain as they are today – i.e.: Islam controlling the Temple Mount.

Zechariah 1:16 – “Therefore, this is what the Lord says: ‘I will return to Jerusalem with mercy, and there my house will be rebuilt. And the measuring line will be stretched out over Jerusalem,’ declares the LORD Almighty.”

Note: Of course, the Jerusalem Temple was rebuilt by Herod the Great…fulfilling Zechariah’s prophecy.  But some current scholars use Revelation 11:1ff as a proof text that there will be a “3rd” Temple in Jerusalem.

Note 2: But others interpret the “temple” to be symbolic/spiritual to describe the covenant community of believers…as in, “Do you not know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?”  (1 Corinthians 3:16)

·      Kirk’s Sense:  John is measuring an actual building/Temple where “worshippers” (this is Jew and Gentile, alike) gather, but where “Gentiles” (i.e.: literally, “nations”, not non-Jews, in this case, but unbelievers…those who are under the mark/influence of the Antichrist/Satan) will be able to surround them, lay siege, and persecute them when God allows.

** The purpose of the measuring is to delineate/distinguish/set apart the Believers/Worshippers from the unbelievers…

…either for protection from persecution of the Believers during the first half (i.e. 42 months) of the Tribulation…

…or simply to keep them from defiling themselves with Antichrist’s teachings/methods.

Note: Jesus predicts this same calamity – see Luke 21:20-24

“When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. 21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. 22 For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written. 23 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. 24 They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”

vs. 3-14 – The Plight of Two Special Witnesses

** Sending a pre-messenger is God’s pattern:

·      “See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the LORD Almighty.”  (Malachi 3:1)
·      Think…John the Baptist

And I will give power to my two witnesses…”  (v. 3)

·      The conjunctive – “And” – ties the witnesses into the first half (i.e. 42 months or 1260 days) of the Tribulation previously mentioned.

Note: Some think the witnesses will Moses and Elijah, who would suit v. 6 very well…

These men have power to shut up the sky so that it will not rain [Elijah – at Carmel] during the time they are prophesying; and they have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want.” [Moses confronting Pharaoh before the Exodus]

…but the identity of the witnesses is never given.

** But others speculate it may be Enoch and Elijah as neither was said to die. “Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him.” (Genesis 5:24); Elijah was taken up in a whirlwind and in a chariot of fire to heaven (2 Kings 2:11)

…truth is…we just don’t know.

** The purpose of the Witnesses:

1.     These messengers have the task of prophesying; they will prophesy for 1,260 days, that is for three and a half years, which, as we have seen, is the period always connected with terror and destruction to come.
2.     Their message will be sombre, for they are clothed in sackcloth.
3.     It will be a message of condemnation; to listen to it will be like a torture, and the people will be glad when the two witnesses are killed (v. 10).

** The Key Facts about these Witnesses:

1.     The witnesses are to preach for their allotted time
2.     and then the Antichrist will come in the form of the beast from the abyss
3.     and the two witnesses will be cruelly killed
4.     Then they will lay dead in the streets for 3½ days as trophies to Antichrist…
5.     …only to be reclaimed by God in the sight of their enemies as a miraculous testimony of God’s power

** And with the end of the 3.5 years, God shows it is time to get things started with the 7th Trumpet

Revelation 11:13-14 – “At that very hour there was a severe earthquake [think Jesus death…the earthquake was God’s way of expressing anger over what had happened] and a tenth of the city collapsed. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the survivors were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven. The second woe has passed; the third woe is coming soon.”

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