John! Measure That Temple!

Sometimes passages in Revelation make me scratch my head and wonder what John was smoking! Such is the case today. Two verses at the beginning of chapter 11 that do not seem to fit in with the rest of the chapter. However, I believe the Lord will connect these verses for us before the end of our time together today. So, hang onto your hats and let’s dive into Revelation 11.

 

Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff, and I was told, “Rise and measure the temple of God and the altar and those who worship there, but do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for forty-two months.

 

 

 

Measure the Temple Revelation 11

 

In this passage John becomes a workman being told to take a measuring rod and measure the temple of God. He is told to measure only the inner portion, the parts known as the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies. At this point, we need to attempt to establish the identity of the referenced temple. In the history of the Jewish nation, there have been a few temples. The first place of worship for the Israelites was the wilderness tabernacle. The earliest temple was that begun by Solomon around 958 BC. It was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon in 586 BC. Zerubbabel built a temple after the Jewish exile. The third temple was the temple of Herod, built around 515 BC and destroyed by Titus in AD 70. There has never been another temple built for the Israelites to use for worship. Is the temple referenced in verse 1 one of these temples? Another option is that a heavenly temple is being referenced. We will see a reference to the heavenly temple later in the chapter.

So, is the temple of Revelation 11:2 any of these, or is it a completely new temple, yet to be built in Jerusalem? I would submit to you that there is yet a temple to be built in Jerusalem in which the Jewish people will, one day, worship and sacrifice.

I believe during the time of the tribulation antichrist will make a covenant with the Jewish people. He will encourage and allow them to build a temple in which they can worship. At the midpoint of that seven years of tribulation, antichrist will break that covenant and set himself up as god in the Jewish temple. Check out Matthew 24:15, 2 Thessalonians 2:4, Daniel 9:27, and Daniel 12:11 for references for future temple worship and sacrifice. We will touch on these later.

If you know anything about Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, you know it is currently occupied by Muslims and is the site of two of the most holy places in Islam, the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the gleaming Dome of the Rock. Christians and Jews are forbidden to worship on the Temple Mount. The Mount is not a large patch of ground and there is little room to accommodate a Jewish temple of the size and scope that is anticipated for the tribulation temple.

None of this has hindered Jewish people from planning the re-building of the Temple. Even today, devout Jews are diligently working to construct everything necessary to completely equip a future temple. I’ve seen with my own eyes the work they are doing, and people, they are serious about it. They believe that there will be another temple on the Mount in Jerusalem. I believe it too.

I cannot tell you how it will happen, nor can I tell you when, but it is my firm conviction that a temple will be built on the Mount in Jerusalem, and the Jewish people will worship and sacrifice there.

In verse 2 we come to a very important time reference. Forty-two months. We will see this time reference several places in our study, but in different wording. In Daniel 12, this time period was described as ‘a time, times, and half a time’. Elsewhere in Revelation we will find ‘3 ½ years’ and ‘1260 days’ referenced. Every reference like this seems to be part of the time of tribulation that will come upon the world…either the first half or the last half, which is also known as The Great Tribulation. More on that later.

The ‘nations’ is usually a reference to Gentiles, or everyone who is not Jewish. Such is the case here. The temple would be only for those of Jewish descent. The nations’ trampling of the outer court is highly significant, and is the link to why John wrote these two verses and placed them in chapter 11. We will study that next week and visit with two very interesting characters. Until then, keep your eyes on Jesus.

SDG/FCA!!  

This post contains affiliate links.

My goal with providing these links at the end of my posts is to offer you something to expand your study of the book of Revelation. Dr. David Jeremiah has written a great book on the players that will emerge in the end times. I think you would really enjoy this book. Click the picture below or THIS LINK to learn more.

I’m Supposed to Eat a Scroll?

After a week of celebrating the re-release of my Legacy Bible study, we are back here to finish our look at Revelation 10. At first glance, this would seem to be a fairly straight-forward passage, but there is an important truth that we must mine from it….a life-altering truth. If you missed the other posts from Revelation 10, you can go here and here to read them.

 

Let’s read Revelation 10:8-11. I’m giving it to you from the ESV (English Standard Version). 

8 Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me again, saying, “Go, take the scroll that is open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.”

9 So I went to the angel and told him to give me the little scroll. And he said to me, “Take and eat it; it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey.”

10 And I took the little scroll from the hand of the angel and ate it. It was sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it my stomach was made bitter.

11 And I was told, “You must again prophesy about many peoples and nations and languages and kings.”

 

John once again hears the big voice from heaven, and this time it tells him to go to the angel that stands on the land and the sea. We saw this guy in the first post and mused about whether he is simply an angel or whether he is Jesus. John is instructed to take the open scroll that the angel holds. When he does, he is told to eat the scroll. Awkward!!

 

I'm supposed to eat a scroll?

 

 

Press hold on that for just a moment. We will be right back.

The voice from heaven tells John that when he eats the scroll it will taste as sweet as honey. Well, yay! Who can argue with that! Ah, but then he is also told the scroll will make his tummy sour and bitter. Pass the Pepto Bismol!

Sure enough, that is exactly what happened. Now, let’s go back to the eating the scroll business. Why in the world would John need to eat the scroll?

Well, there is precedent for this in the Word of God. In Ezekiel 3 the prophet Ezekiel is told by God to eat a scroll, then go prophesy to the nation of Israel. When he eats the scroll he finds that it is sweet as honey. The words he is told to prophesy seem to come from the ingested scroll.

In Revelation, we find a very similar circumstance. John eats the scroll. It tastes sweet going down, but bitter when it hits bottom. Then John is told that he must prophesy more.

Two things I want us to ponder. The first is the importance of making the Word personal. Both Ezekiel and John had to ingest the scroll. It had to become part of them rather than something they only held in their hands. God’s Word, Scripture, must become part of the Christian. We must take it in and allow it to penetrate every area of our lives, whether it is good news or bad. Only then can we have intimate fellowship with Christ. Only then can we effectively do the work He has for us to do during our time on earth.

The good news and the bad news from this scroll situation was likely the same news. God was about to unleash judgment and there was no turning back. This is what the saints around the throne had asked for in Revelation 6:10. How long, O Lord, until you judge? The time had arrived, yet it would not be good news for untold millions who had rejected Christ.

The second thing I want us to see is how this must have affected John. He is 90-ish years old and likely assumes he will never leave Patmos, yet here we find God’s angel telling John that there is more work for him to do; work that will necessitate him being places other than the rocky island of Patmos. Was John encouraged to know that he might see his beloved fellow Christians again? Probably. Even when John thought his life was over on an island in the middle of nowhere, it really was not over until God said it was over. So, if you are in a circumstance that seems to be a dead-end road, be encouraged. It isn’t over till God says it is over and there is always hope on the horizon.

Next week we begin our journey into Revelation 11. I hope you will join me back here then.

Want to catch up on our Revelation study? Every single post in this series is linked in order HERE.

SDG/FCA!

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I enjoy the teaching and preaching of Dr. David Jeremiah. Since we have been visiting with an angel, I’m linking to a book that he wrote on the topic. If you cannot get the link to Dr. Jeremiah’s book via your email, please go here to read the post on my website.

The Mystery of The Mystery of God

Our study in the 10th chapter of Revelation continues to offer mysteries. Last week we looked at the possible identities for the strong/mighty angel described in verses 1-3. Today we venture further into the chapter and find another mystery.

Before we read Revelation 10:1-7, let me remind you that you can download and print a drawing of the events of Revelation 10 that was done by my friend, Lisa. Click back over to last week’s post to find the download.

Ok, let’s take the time to read this entire section in order to gain context for our discussion today.

 

1 Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven, wrapped in a cloud, with a rainbow over his head, and his face was like the sun, and his legs like pillars of fire.

2 He had a little scroll open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea, and his left foot on the land,

3 and called out with a loud voice, like a lion roaring. When he called out, the seven thunders sounded.

4 And when the seven thunders had sounded, I was about to write, but I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Seal up what the seven thunders have said, and do not write it down.”

5 And the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven

6 and swore by him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and what is in it, the earth and what is in it, and the sea and what is in it, that there would be no more delay,

7 but that in the days of the trumpet call to be sounded by the seventh angel, the mystery of God would be fulfilled, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.

 

The Mystery of God

 

 

Here is a quick and dirty list of what is taking place in these verses:

  • A mighty angel descends from heaven
  • He holds a little scroll in his hand.
  • He places one foot on the land and one foot on the sea
  • His voice causes seven thunders to sound
  • John hears and understands what the thunders say, but is admonished not to write it down.
  • The angel swears an oath by God that says there will be no more delay

This is where we find ourselves in our study today…focusing on verse 7. Mighty angel declares that in the days when the 7th trumpet sounds the mystery of God will be fulfilled. This mystery was announced by God to the prophets of old (Amos 3:7).

So, what is this mystery of God?

The Greek word used for ‘mystery’ is musterion and it means, “private knowledge; a divine secret. Represents what is hidden, unrevealed, or unknown.” (Zodhiates Key Word Study Bible) This word is used several times in Revelation (1:20; 10:7; 17:5,7), and each time refers to something not yet revealed.

John tells us that the ‘mystery of God’ will be finished (telos) in the days when the 7th trumpet sounds, so we would be wise to find out what happens when the 7th trumpet sounds (Revelation 11:15-19). We have not studied this yet, but it is time well spent to take a quick look. Remember, the 7th trumpet is the third and final woe that will take place. At the 7th trumpet:

  • worship in heaven takes place
  • the temple of God in heaven is opened and the Ark of the Covenant appears
  • lightening, sounds, thunder, an earthquake, and hail all appear
  • the dragon begins to persecute the woman
  • the beast out of the sea and the beast out of the earth appear

It seems that the beginning of Christ’s reign takes place at the 7th trumpet, but also there is an increase in the persecution of Israel by the nations. As we move on in our study we will see that the wrath of God also begins at the sounding of the 7th trumpet and ends when the bowls are poured out.

While we cannot know for sure what the mystery of God is, let’s consider some possibilities:

  • The coming wrath and judgment of God
  • Why God delays judgment
  • Why Jesus has not yet come to earth to rule and reign
  • Why God allows so much evil on the earth
  • God’s completed story of the redemption of mankind
  • The full redemption of Israel

 

Friends, my hope is that, even with all the unknowns of Revelation, our study is whetting your appetite to dig deeper into the book. I also pray that your faith in the sovereignty of our God is growing daily. If we knew every detail about Revelation we would not need faith, so let’s dig into what God has revealed and trust Him with those things that remain a mystery. Until next week….

SDG/FCA!

 

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Okay, so I love to read. I love to read political thrillers. I also love political thrillers that are Christian based and no one does them better than Joel Rosenberg. He has several series out and all of them are wonderful. Here are links to the first book in each of his three political thriller series.

Guess Who? The Strong Angel of Revelation 10

When one decides to teach on an entire book of Scripture, there is a tension that exists between covering every single word and picking out key passages and elaborating on them. Today’s teaching is a place of tension. Do I pick the first verses of chapter ten apart, or do I offer a 30,000 foot view of them? Originally, I thought it would be the 30,000 foot view, but then as I read commentaries on the first four verses I decided it would be thought-provoking and instructive to offer opposing points of view on one portion of the verses and let you decide for yourself what they mean.

I want to begin, however, with a disclaimer. God tells us exactly what He wants us to know and not one more tidbit of information. So, when we come to a passage that does not give us all the info we would like to know, we must trust that: a) God knows and chose not to reveal, b) it likely is not crucial that we know, and c) we just need to trust God’s sovereignty in the whole thing.

 

Guess Who? The Strong Angel of Revelation 10

 

So, let’s take a look at the first three and a half verses of Revelation 10. Be sure to download and print the drawing of this chapter for your study time

.

 

1 Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven, wrapped in a cloud, with a rainbow over his head, and his face was like the sun, and his legs like pillars of fire.

2 He had a little scroll open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea, and his left foot on the land,

3 and called out with a loud voice, like a lion roaring.

 

So, the issue on the table is concerning the identity of this ‘mighty angel’. Is he simply that, an angel, or is he an appearing of Jesus Christ to John? I will go ahead and tell you that commentators (that I highly respect) fall out on both sides of this question. Let’s consider the arguments for both answers.

 

The Angel is, well, an Angel

 

Dr. Paige Patterson, writing for The New American Commentary/Revelation, admits it is impossible to make an absolute identification. His personal preference is that ‘since the appearance of the Lord elsewhere in the book is largely undebatable….this angel is one of great prestige and authority. That he is called an angel is not determinative one way or another but must favor the view that this is not the Christ.”

Fair enough.

Commentator John MacArthur offers several factors that argue against this angel being Jesus:

 

  • The Greek word translated ‘another’ early in verse 1 is allos, which means another of the same kind, likely saying that this strong angel is an angel like the ones seen in previous passages, just stronger.
  • Anytime Jesus appears in Revelation, John the Revelator gives Him a clear and unmistakable title, i.e. ‘Faithful Witness (1:5), the Amen (3:14), Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David (5:5), the Lamb (6:1, 16; 7:17; 8:1), etc.
  • Other STRONG ANGELS who are clearly not Christ appear in Revelation (5:2 and 18:21).
  • MacArthur believes that it is ‘inconceivable that Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Trinity, could make the oath that this angel makes in verses 5 and 6. (stay tuned for next week)
  • This angel came down out of heaven to earth. If this is Christ, this would add another coming of Christ to earth that is not foretold in Scripture and that does not mesh with the biblical descriptions of the Second Coming (cf. Matt 24:30; 25:31; 2 Thess 1:7-8).

 

Good arguments from both scholars for this angel being just that…an angel.

 

The Strong Angel is Jesus

Dr. Warren Wiersbe offers some compelling characteristics of this angel that are like the Lord Jesus Christ.

  • He is Strong
  • The last time we saw a rainbow it was around the throne of God in Chapter 4. Now it is a crown on the head of this messenger perhaps signifying that he has been given authority by God.
  • Clouds – Jesus ascended to heaven in the clouds and He will return just as He left.
  • The angel’s face shines ‘as the sun’, corresponding to the description of Jesus in Revelation 1:16.
  • The description of the angel’s feet corresponds to the description of Jesus’ feet in Revelation 1:15.
  • The voice like a lion reminds us that Jesus is described as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah.
  • In the Old Testament, Jesus appeared several times and was called ‘the Angel of the Lord. (Exodus 3:2; Judges 2:4; 6:11-12, 21-22; 2 Samuel 24:16)
  • The book in his hand. We learned in Revelation 5:5 that Jesus was the only one worthy to take the scroll and open it. It might be extrapolated that Jesus is the only One worthy to give His servant John the revelation.
  • The angel’s stance is one of a victor or conqueror who is taking possession of the territory he has conquered. Only Jesus holds the title deed to earth, sea, and sky.

 

Compelling arguments on both sides, wouldn’t you say? I have to say that my opinion, for whatever it is worth, is that this being is simply an angel and not Jesus.

What is your opinion? Angel? Jesus Christ?

I’ll see you next week.

SDG/FCA!!

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I know all this study in the book of Revelation can be unsettling at times. The good news is that WE WIN and there is always encouragement for your heart from Scripture….even in Revelation. Perhaps you are looking for a bit of encouragement today. I’d love to share a little devotion book I wrote with you. It is called When Words Won’t Come.

The Day When Discipline No Longer Works ~ The Sixth Trumpet

Do you recall when you were a child and your parents disciplined you? Perhaps it was a spanking, or time-out, or something else. The goal of discipline is usually to encourage a change in behavior or speech. All throughout Scripture there are examples of God using discipline to encourage heart change. Last week we saw the most sweeping act of discipline on the part of God that has ever hit the earth, other than the flood in the time of Noah. There is a difference in this discipline, however.

 

The Day When Discipline No Longer Works The 6th Trumpet

 

Instead of having the goal of reformation, the Revelation 9 discipline is retributive, which means that God is DONE and people are now being judged for their sin against Him. If you studied with us last week, you know that the events that will take place as a result of the sixth trumpet are horrendous and bring widespread death to the earth. Just when it seems like it cannot get worse, I’m gonna tell you that it will. Today in our study we examine two verses in Revelation 9 that are some of the saddest verses in the entire Scripture. Let’s take a look.

 

20 The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk,

21 nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.

 

The earth is reeling from multiple judgments that have devastated the land, sea, heavens, and her people. Millions of people are dead; in fact, over half of the population of earth has been killed. It is in this scenario that we find Revelation 9:20-21 telling us that, in spite of all that has happened as a result of the seal and trumpet judgments, mankind does not turn to God.

Whaaat?? Are you kidding me?

This, my friends, is your classic case of hearts that are hardened toward God because of sin. Impossibly hardened hearts. Irreparable hearts. There is no mention of the Holy Spirit of God drawing the hearts of the unsaved to Christ. There is only judgment, which begs the question of whether there are believers on earth at this time. Has the rapture already occurred? Press hold on that question. We will return it.

Let’s take a look at five things in these verses of which mankind will not repent in that day.

Making idols and worshipping demons

In that day there will be rampant idolatry. People will create idols and worship them. Does that mean what they are worshipping will be little statues that sit on a shelf? Not necessarily. Even today, people worship all kinds of idols….money, status, homes, jobs, physical abilities. Behind every form of idol worship is one who feeds it and encourages it. That one is Satan. His goal is to counterfeit everything that God is and does, including worship. If he can get men and women to worship anything other than God, the devil has succeeded. In the coming days, he will be quite successful in convincing humanity to worship anything and everything other than God….and to not be repentant over it.

Murders

This one requires little explanation. The hearts of men and women will be so hardened and evil that murder will be rampant, and if Christians are still on this earth, surely they will be the prime targets.

Sorceries

The Greek word that is used here is pharmakeia which means the use of drugs. As a pharmacist, I see a rapidly advancing drug culture in our society today. In the last days, the use of drugs, potions, poisons, etc will be epidemic. They will be used as part of magic, sorcery, and divinations.

Sexual immorality

Another Greek word used in the original manuscript gives us insight. The word porneia refers to a preoccupation with sexual themes that is base, selfish, and abusive.

Hello! We are certainly seeing that take place in America and around the world. Consider the epidemic of human sex trafficking in the world today, as well as homosexuality and inappropriate heterosexual sex.  We ain’t seen nuthin’ yet, folks!

Thefts

A complete lack of honesty will be widespread over the face of the earth as people claw and fight for food, clothing, shelter, and medical care. It will be a dog-eat-dog world in that day.

 

No one will repent. Hearts will be harder than a diamond. It will be a sad and frightening time for humanity. The time to turn your heart to Jesus is NOW. Do not wait, friend. God’s forgiveness and mercy are waiting, but there will be an end to it one day.

Want to know more about why I choose Jesus? CLICK HERE.

SDG!

 

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Want to really dig into Revelation? Write out the entire book using a Journible. I love my Journibles and I think you will as well. Check it out.

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Hell on Earth ~ The Sixth Trumpet

Hello there! I’m glad you stopped back in today for our series in the book of The Revelation. This is important stuff, y’all. God promises blessings to those who read and heed this book, so why wouldn’t we read it? Oh, I know many people are frightened of it, so that is why we are walking through it slowly. I want you to gain confidence in Christ from the book of The Revelation. It is a book that tells us WE (the saved by  grace children of God) WIN, and that Christ will take care of us. I want this study to deepen your love for, and trust in, God and Jesus.

Have you missed some posts in this series? There are about 50 of them that came before this one. Not a problem. Go HERE and you will find every single one of them linked in chronological order.

 

Hell on Earth The Sixth Trumpet

 

Today we return to the ninth chapter of Revelation where we will focus on verses 14-19. Last week we looked specifically at verse 13. If you missed that post, please go HERE and read it first. It will help you position the events of 14-19 appropriately.

 

Now, let’s refresh our memories of this entire passage.

13 Then the sixth angel blew his trumpet, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar before God,

14 saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.”

15 So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour, the day, the month, and the year, were released to kill a third of mankind.

16 The number of mounted troops was twice ten thousand times ten thousand; I heard their number.

17 And this is how I saw the horses in my vision and those who rode them: they wore breastplates the color of fire and of sapphire and of sulfur, and the heads of the horses were like lions’ heads, and fire and smoke and sulfur came out of their mouths.

18 By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed, by the fire and smoke and sulfur coming out of their mouths.

19 For the power of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails, for their tails are like serpents with heads, and by means of them they wound.

20 The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk,

21 nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.

 

There is a lot going on in verses 14-19, but today I want us to consider two pictures: the angels and the troops.

First, the angels. There are four of them and they have a mission. They have been prepared specifically for the day of the sixth trumpet. And not just the day, but the very hour that the trumpet is blown. This tells us that God has a plan and He is working that plan. Nothing happens by random chance in this world. The end will come according to God’s plan, and not one moment before His appointed time.

Scholars have debated whether these are ‘good’ angels or ‘bad’ angels. They have been bound, and are now released to kill one third of the human race. After the deaths that occur at this trumpet, well over half of the earth’s population will be gone. (Current world population is estimated to be 7.5 Billion.) These angels have been bound, and nowhere in Scripture do we find ‘good’ angels bound, so it makes sense to me that these are fallen angels; angels that chose Satan over God in the fall, but who are still under the ultimate authority of God.

 

Let’s turn our attention to the troops that are released. The focus falls on the horses rather than the horsemen, and we are told the exact number of them: twice ten thousand times ten thousand, or 200 million troops released for battle.

Much speculation has swirled over the origin of these troops. It really is a futile effort because the Bible simply does not tell us specific countries of origin for the troops. We are much better served to focus on what we are told about them. We know that these horses are likely not actual horses because of their description: they wore breastplates, had heads like lion and tails like serpents. They wound people with their tails. From their mouths spew sulfur, fire and smoke, and it will be these three elements that will be responsible for the deaths of 1/3 of mankind. Remember that millions have already died in the earlier judgments. So, let’s assume that one billion more people perish in this judgment. The entire earth is now population by around 3 billion people or less after the 6th trumpet judgment.

Y’all, I cannot even begin to describe what the earth will be like. People who have not accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior will die from incineration and asphyxiation all over the globe. This gives us as close of a snapshot of hell on earth as humanity will have seen to this point, and God is not finished yet. Next week we will see how humanity responds to this devastation. Until then, stay close to Jesus and stay faithful.

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Would you like to know more about Jesus and why I chose to follow Him? Here are 8 reasons why I believe in Jesus.

In case you want to go deeper in your study, here is the link to another commentary on the book of Revelation that I use in my study.