Holy Father, we humble our hearts before You. We want to understand Your Word. We want to live in line with Your Word. We want to be fully ready to stand before You at the end of this age, by Your sufficient grace.
In our study of the end times, we are presently going through Revelation chapters 11-13 verse by verse. These chapters are extremely important. For one thing, these chapters mention the equivalent of three and one half years five times. The first two uses (in Rev. 11:2 and 3) speak of things that will come to pass during the first half of Daniel's 70th week. The other three uses (in Rev. 12:6, 14 and 13:5) speak of things that will come to pass during the second half of the seven-year period. Many verses in these chapters speak of things that will take place right in the middle of Daniel's 70th week. The seventh and last trumpet will sound right in the middle of the seven-year period, and the Lord Jesus Christ will return and the day of judgment will begin (see Rev. 11:15-17; The seventh trumpet includes the seven bowls of wrath that will be poured out during the second half of Daniel's 70th week). The resurrection and rapture of believers will take place at that time, right in the middle of the seven-year period (see Rev. 12:5 and Rev. 11:11, 12). The repentant end-time elect remnant of Israel will begin submit to the Lord Jesus Christ (in faith) in the middle of Daniel's 70th week, but not in time to be taken in the rapture (see Rev. 11:13, 19 and 12:6, 13-17). The devil and his angels will be cast down to the earth right in the middle of the seven-year period, and the devil will have great wrath against those who become Christians after the rapture (see Rev. 12:4, 7-17). The devil will give Antichrist his power and his throne and great authority right after he is cast down to the earth, and Antichrist will begin his super-evil three and one half year reign (see Revelation chapter 13). Revelation 13:5 mentions that Antichrist's reign will last for three and one-half years. Revelation 13:7 mentions that he will make war with the saints, and that he will overcome them. He will not overcome them spiritually, but there will be many martyrs, etc.
The second half of Daniel's 70th week will be a time of great testing. (See Rev. 3:10; that is the verse that shows that Christians who are faithful now will be kept out of that "hour of testing." As we have discussed, we will be kept out of [or from] that hour of testing by being taken in the rapture.) And the second half of Daniel's 70th week will be a time of intense testing and judging. For one major thing, God will use Antichrist and his evil associates to destroy Babylon the great harlot (see Rev. 17:16, 17). The book of Revelation devotes some three chapters to God's judging and removing of Babylon the great harlot. Babylon is a symbol for the world, and it embraces all the things the devil uses to seduce people from God, very much including false religion, very much including apostate Christianity. At the end of Daniel's 70th week, after God has used Antichrist to destroy Babylon the great harlot, He will judge and destroy Antichrist and the false prophet and the multitudes that follow them to Armageddon. God will restrain the devil in the abyss throughout the millennial kingdom. Then, after being loosed for a short season, the devil will be cast into the lake of fire.
In the last article we finished Rev. 11:13. Now we're ready to start verse 14. I'll read the verse. As is typical, I'll read from the New American Standard Bible, 1995 edition. "The second woe is past; behold the third woe is coming quickly." What are these woes? Let's turn back to Rev. 8:13, which explains the three woes. I'll read 8:13, "Then I looked, and I heard an eagle flying in mid-heaven, saying with a loud voice, 'Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound (or, who are going to sound).' " I should mention that the events associated with the first four trumpets of the seven trumpets have already come to pass by the time we get to Rev. 8:13. As the following verses demonstrate, the judgments associated with the fifth trumpet are called the first woe. The judgments associated with the sixth trumpet are called the second woe, and the judgments associated with the seventh and last trumpet are called the third woe.
I'll read Rev. 11:14 again, "The second woe is past [In other words, the judgments associated with the sixth trumpet have come to pass.], behold, the third woe is coming quickly." In other words, it is now time for the seventh and last trumpet to sound. We read of that trumpet sounding in the next verse, verse 15. Verse 14 sets the stage for verse 15. The judgments associated with the sixth trumpet were completed back in Revelation chapter 9.
Now, we're ready for verse 15 and the sounding of the super-important seventh and last trumpet. As we have discussed, it is significant that this trumpet is to be equated with the trumpet of Matt. 24:30 (where we read of the coming of the Lord Jesus with the clouds and the gathering of the saints in the rapture); with the trumpet of 1 Thess. 4:16 (where we read of the coming of the Lord and the glorification and rapture of the saints); and it is to be equated with the last trumpet of 1 Cor. 15:52 (where we read of the resurrection and glorification of the saints). We probably understand the last trumpet of 1 Cor. 15:52 better than the apostle Paul did, since he died some thirty years before we learned of the seven trumpets through the all-important revelation of the book of Revelation.
I'll read verse 15, "Then the seventh angel sounded [that is, the seventh angel sounded his trumpet, the seventh and last trumpet of the book of Revelation. Back in Revelation chapter 8, the seven trumpets were given to the seven angels. The first six angels have already sounded their trumpets by the time we get to verse 15.]; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, 'The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.' " Right in the middle of Daniel's 70th week, at the sounding of the seventh and last trumpet, God the Father will send His unique Son to begin His end-time reign that will include the glorification and rapture of His people and the judgment and removal of all unrepentant rebels, including the devil, his angels, the demons, and the many people who continue to follow the devil in his rebellion. God will fully take over the earth and establish His millennial kingdom, then after the millennial kingdom and the great-white-throne judgment at the end of the millennial kingdom, He will establish His new heaven and new earth with its New Jerusalem that is filled with His glory.
Revelation 11:17 confirms that God will begin to reign on the earth at the time of the sounding of the seventh and last trumpet. I'll read verse 17, "saying, We give You thanks, O Lord God, the Almighty, who are and who were, because You have taken Your great power and have begun to reign." Isn't God reigning on the earth at the present time? God has all authority and power, but He clearly is not reigning on the earth in any full sense at the present time. If He were reigning on the earth in any full sense, He would put an end to sin and the chaos it causes, but sin and chaos are actually increasing on the earth during this present age. And if He were reigning on the earth in any full sense, the devil could not be called the god and ruler of this world, which he is called in the New Testament. It will be very different when God chooses to begin to reign on the earth.
I'll read verse 15 again; then we'll go on to verses 16 and 17. "Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, 'The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.' " Handel's Messiah borrows some of these glorious words. I'll read verses 16 and 17, "And the twenty-four elders, who sit on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, (17) saying, 'We give you thanks, O Lord God, the Almighty, who are and who were, because You have taken Your great power and have begun to reign.' "
First, we'll briefly discuss the twenty-four elders, who are mentioned quite often in the book of Revelation. It has always seemed clear to me that the twenty-four elders are high level angelic beings reigning with God and under God (see Psalm 89: 5-8, and Isaiah 24:23, for example). Let's turn back to one of the more important cross-references regarding the twenty-four elders; I'll read Rev. 4:2-4, "Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne was standing in heaven, and One sitting on the throne. [The One sitting on the throne is God the Father. That fact is confirmed as we keep on reading. God the Son, the Lamb of God, comes and takes the scroll from the right hand of God the Father as this scene continues.] (3) And He who was sitting was like a jasper stone and a sardius in appearance [The apostle John is trying to describe the indescribable glory of God.]; and there was a rainbow around the throne, like an emerald in appearance. (4) Around the throne were twenty-four thrones; and upon the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white-garments, and golden crowns on their heads." Their thrones and crowns go with their reigning. They are reigning with God (and under God) right now, and they have been reigning for a long time. "White garments" are frequently mentioned for angelic beings, by the way. For more on these verses, I refer the reader to my verse-by-verse study of Revelation chapters 1-10 on the internet. Between my book "The Mid-Week Rapture" and my papers on the internet, every chapter of the book of Revelation is discussed verse-by-verse.
It is quite possible that the number twenty four indicates that twelve of the angelic rulers are associated with the old-covenant saints and twelve are associated with the new-covenant saints. In Rev. 5:12 the twenty-four elders are holding "harps and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints." This verse confirms that the twenty-four elders are closely associated with the affairs of God's people, the saints. It also shows that our prayers that haven't been answered will be answered; that is, our prayers that line up with the Word of God and the will of God will be answered.
I'll read Rev. 11:16, 17 again, and we'll further discuss verse 17, "And the twenty-four elders, who sit on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying, 'We give You thanks, O Lord God, the Almighty, WHO ARE AND WHO WERE, because You have taken Your great power and have begun to reign.' " God the Father will begin to reign on the earth, at first mostly through His unique Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. And it is important to understand that a big part of this reign will involve judging. The words "who are and who were" are significant here. These words confirm that God comes to reign at the sounding of the seventh and last trumpet, in the middle of Daniel's 70th week. I'll read Rev. 1:4, "John to the seven churches that are in Asia [referring to the Roman province of Asia Minor]: Grace to you and peace, from FROM HIM WHO IS AND WHO WAS AND WHO IS TO COME [These words refer to God the Father here, as we will see as we continue.] and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne." These words speak of the Holy Spirit, and verse 5 goes on to speak of the Lord Jesus Christ, so we see the Trinity here, as we often do in the New Testament. Also, Rev. 1:8 and 4:8 go on to speak of God with similar words. Revelation 1:8 has the words, "who is and who was AND WHO IS TO COME" and Rev. 4:8 has, "who was and who is AND WHO IS TO COME." Significantly, these words are modified in Rev. 11:17 to reflect the fact that He comes in the middle of Daniel's 70th week. The words, "and who is to come" of Revelation 1:4; 1:8; and 4:8 are dropped in Rev. 11:17, because He comes at the time of the sounding of the seventh and last trumpet. This important point is confirmed in Rev. 16:5, where God is spoken to with the words, "Righteous are You, who are and who were, O Holy One."
I'll read Rev. 11:18; then we'll discuss some of the details of this verse, "And the nations were enraged, and Your wrath came, and the time came for the dead to be judged, and the time to reward Your bond-servants the prophets and the saints and those who fear Your name, the small and the great, and to destroy those who destroy the earth." "And the nations were enraged." At the present time the nations are not raging against God very much, because He isn't forcing the issue. They tend to ignore Him and blaspheme Him on occasion, but when He forces the issue and sends His Son to begin to reign on the earth, with the emphasis on judging, great rage will rise from those who are in rebellion against Him. The rebellion and rage among men will be led by Antichrist, who (according to Rev. 13:2) will have received from the devil "his power and his throne and great authority."
There is widespread agreement that the words "And the nations were enraged, and Your wrath came" build on Psalm 2. Psalm 2, which is a very important prophetic psalm, is discussed in some detail in chapter 18 of my book, "The Mid-Week Rapture." I'll read the first verse of Psalm 2 from the New King James Bible, "Why do the nations rage, And the peoples plot a vain thing?" The primary fulfillment of these prophetic words will take place when God sends His Son to reign on the earth in the middle of Daniel's 70th week.
I'll read the first six verses from Psalm 2 and make some comments. Later in these broadcasts, we will further discuss Psalm 2. As I mentioned Psalm 2 is a very important prophetic psalm. I'll read from the New American Standard Bible, 1995 edition, "Why are the nations in an uproar, and the peoples devising a vain thing? [The nations are in an uproar and devising rebellion against God and His anointed King.] (2) The kings of the earth take their stand And the rulers take counsel together Against the LORD [Yahweh] and against His Anointed [In the ultimate sense, His anointed refers to the Lord Jesus Christ at the time of His second coming, when God forces the issue and sends His Son to judge and fully take over the world. However, it is important and interesting to see that the glorified, raptured saints will be reigning with the Lord Jesus Christ from the time of His second coming, and that this psalm probably includes us with Him here. As we will see when we discuss verses 7-12 in a subsequent broadcast, there is a strong emphasis in this psalm on the glorification and subsequent reign of the saints in these verses.] The kings of the earth take their stand And the rulers take counsel together Against the LORD [Yahweh] and against His Anointed, saying, (3) 'Let us tear their fetters apart And cast away their cords from us!"
How will God respond to the rage and rebellion by the nations against the reign of His anointed? We have already read of His response in Rev. 11:18, "And the nations were enraged, and Your wrath came." Let's go on to Psalm 2:4-6. "He who sits in the heavens laughs, The Lord scoffs at them. (5) Then He will speak to then in His anger And terrify them in His fury, saying, (6) But as for Me, I have installed My King [which clearly includes the Lord Jesus Christ, but probably also includes the glorified, raptured saints who will be reigning with Him] Upon Zion My holy mountain." And the idea is very much included that He is not about to uninstall His King. The day of the Lord, the day of judgment, the day of His wrath has come. However, in the merciful plan of God, many will repent and be saved, even after the day of the Lord has begun.
"Zion My holy mountain" here in Psalm 2:6 refers to, or at least includes, earthly Zion, which equals the temple mount and Jerusalem. Many prophetic verses speak of the Lord Jesus Christ coming to, and reigning from, earthly Zion when He returns. In my book, "The Mid-Week Rapture" (on page 70), I have a section titled, "The Lord Jesus Christ Will Claim Jerusalem as His City." As discussed there, I believe He will claim Jerusalem as His city at the time He returns to the earth, right in the middle of Daniel's 70th week.
Now let's turn back to Rev. 11:18, "And the nations were enraged, and Your wrath came, and the time came for the dead to be judged [Revelation chapter 20 informs us that the judgment of the dead will not be completed until after the judgment of the great-white-throne judgment.], and the time to reward Your bond-servants the prophets and the saints and [or, even] all those who fear Your name, the small and the great [I'll read Rev. 19:5, "And a voice came from the throne, saying, 'Give praise to our God, all you His bond-servants, you who fear Him, the small and the great.' " All of God's people must fear Him in the sense that we stand in awe of Him and fear rebelling and sinning against Him. The primary reward for God's people (including both the believers from Old Testament days and New Testament days) will center in glorification and beginning to reign with the Lord Jesus Christ in a never ending reign.], and to destroy those who destroy the earth." Taken in the fullest sense, these last words include God's judgment and removal of Satan and his hosts, His judgment and removal of Babylon the great harlot, and His judgment and removal of Antichrist and all those who take his mark and follow him. All unrepentant rebels will be removed so God can establish His millennial kingdom. It is very obvious that God cannot allow rebels into heaven. Rebels cause chaos and a good God and Judge cannot allow chaos to continue in His kingdom. Rebels wouldn't want to be in heaven on God's terms, not that they will want the alternative.
Rev. 11:19, "And the temple of God which is in heaven was opened; and the ark of the covenant appeared in His temple [For one thing, this emphasizes the fact that all the promises God made under the old covenant will be fulfilled, including His end-time salvation of the repentant remnant of Israel, the resurrection and full salvation for believers, and His judgment and removal of the unrepentant unbelievers.], and there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder and an earthquake and a great hailstorm." These things picture God's power going forth in His end-time judgment of the world. We learn more about the "great hailstorm," for example, in Rev. 16:17-21, verses that speak of the judgment of the seventh and last bowl of wrath, which will be poured out at the end of Daniel's 70th week. This judgment will be poured out on Antichrist and the multitudes who follow him to Armageddon. These multitudes were gathered to Armageddon under the sixth bowl of wrath.
This completes our somewhat brief study of Revelation chapter 11. Many details that we will not able to discuss in these articles are discussed in my book and/or in my papers on my internet site. Many of my papers on the internet deal with end-time prophecy. I trust you can see how extremely important Revelation chapter 11 is, and all the more so when it is coupled with the rest of the book of Revelation, and especially Revelation chapters 12 and 13. We will now start a verse-by-verse discussion of Revelation chapter 12. It is packed with as many super-important prophetic details regarding the last days as is Revelation chapter 11. One thing that makes Revelation chapters 11 so important is that it deals with many prophetic details that will come to pass in the days just preceding the return of the Lord Jesus Christ, and at the time of His return.
Revelation chapter 12 also has a lot to say about things that will take place at the time of Christ's return, right in the middle of Daniel's 70th week (very much including the glorification of believers, when we will be born into the fullness of eternal life, and the rapture, and the casting down to the earth of the devil and his angels). Revelation chapter 12 also includes some very important details regarding the Christians who will be converted after the rapture and who will living on the earth during the second half of Daniel's 70th week. We read of these Christians who will be converted after the mid-week rapture in Rev. 12:17, for example. I'll read 12:17, "So [or, And] the dragon [the devil] was enraged with the woman [As Revelation chapter 12 shows, the dragon is enraged against the people of God from the time he is cast down to the earth in the middle of the seven-year period. The woman is a symbol for true Israel, which includes all true Christians.], and went off to make war with the rest of her children [or, seed, offspring], who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus." These last words ("and hold to the testimony of Jesus") make it very clear they are Christians. The end-time remnant of the nation Israel will be converted after the rapture, and it seems that many more Gentiles will be converted too. They are all part of God's true Israel.
Rev. 12:1, "A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars." As I mentioned, the woman is a symbol for true Israel. The woman embraces all the believers from Old Testament days and all true Christians, including the Christians converted before the rapture and those converted after the rapture. There are two women in the book of Revelation, true Israel and Babylon the great harlot. And both women have their cities. True Israel has Jerusalem, which culminates in New Jerusalem of the eternal state, and Babylon the great harlot has the city of Babylon, the city of this world, the devil's city, the city of the unrepentant unbelievers, which will be totally destroyed and removed in God's end-time judgment of the world.
"A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars." Joseph's dream of Gen. 37:9, 10 about the sun, moon, and eleven stars bowing down before him helps confirm that the sun, moon, and twelve stars here in Rev. 12:1 are a symbol for Israel, true Israel. The apostle Paul taught us in Romans chapter 11 that Gentile Christians are grafted into, and become part of, God's true Israel. I'll read ROMANS 11:17-24, "But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive [Paul was speaking to Gentile Christians], were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree [The olive tree represents God's true Israel that embraces all believers], (18) do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you. (19) You will say then, 'Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.' (20) Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear; (21) for if God did not spare the natural branches [the sons of Israel]; he will not spare you either. (22) Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God's kindness, if you continue in His kindness [We continue in His kindness by grace through faith.]; otherwise you also will be cut off. (23) And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. (24) For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree [the tree of God's true Israel], how much more will these who are the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree?" The apostle goes on in the next three verses to speak of the fact that the repentant, elect, end-time remnant of the nation Israel will be saved in the last days by the Lord Jesus Christ when they submit to Him in faith.
I'll read two more verses that further confirm the important fact that true Christians are part of God's true Israel, and there are more such verses. The apostle Paul taught us in Romans chapter 4 and Galatians chapter 3, for example, that Abraham is the father of all believers. I'll read Rom. 2:28, 29, "For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. [If we want to be part of God's true Israel, we must go beyond the externals of religion, beyond the things of the flesh, like circumcision and other rituals.] (29) But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit [the Holy Spirit. Faith is "of the heart," and we receive salvation by faith and we walk in the Holy Spirit by faith; the Holy Spirit transforms believers and makes them righteous and holy through new-covenant salvation in the blood of Christ.], not by the letter [the letter of the Mosaic Law]; and his praise is not from men, but from God." The word "Jew" comes from Judah, which means praise. It's time to stop for today. God bless you!
Copyright by Karl Kemp
http://www.karlkempteachingministries.com Karl Kemp worked as an engineer in the space field throughout the 60s. He became a born-again Christian in 1964. He received an MA in Biblical Studies in 1972. He has been a Bible teacher for 45 years. See the website for more info on his books, papers, etc.
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