Thursday, October 29, 2009

Revelation 12:15-16

Verse 15-16 "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."

As the woman is fleeing, Satan makes the attempt to kill her. First taking a literal approach, it would mean that a flood of water is sent to destroy her. From the standpoint that it is an onslaught of water, the dry desert conditions of the Mid East would not point to a flood due to an over-abundance of rain (in recent years Israel has had a water crisis due to lack of rainfall). The most likely possibility is that a tidal wave would rush over the land. (Possibly from some volcano erupting or earthquake). Israel is not that wide (85 miles at its widest point). It would be possible that while people are running to escape (before the eagle carries them off), there is some sort of deluge from somewhere. The only other possibility is that the dams along the Jordan River all let loose (although it does not have that much water to start with) suddenly flooding the area. Either way, the earth opens up (possibly an earthquake opens a crack in the ground, or a sink hole) and swallows the water saving the people. As the people are supposed to be running to the mountains in Jordan, it is safe to assume that this does not happen after they reach their destination, therefore it must occur as they begin to run. Interestingly, when fleeing from Egypt, the water swallowed up Pharaoh’s armies thereby protecting Israel. Now the opposite would happen. The water is sent to swallow up them, but the earth opens up and swallows the water.

Taking this from a symbolic standpoint, we need to see if there is a precedence for assuming a flood is speaking of something other than water. In Jeremiah 46:8, it says, "Egypt riseth up like a flood, and his waters are moved like the rivers; and he saith, I will go up, and will cover the earth; I will destroy the city and the inhabitants thereof." Again in Jer. 47:2 it is speaking of the same event. "Thus saith the Lord; Behold, waters rise up out of the north, and shall be an overflowing flood, and shall overflow the land, and all that is therein; the city, and them that dwell therein: then the men shall cry, and all the inhabitants of the land shall howl." This is speaking of when the Egyptian armies came against Babylon. We are told in Luke 21 that Jerusalem will be surrounded by armies when the woman is told to flee. This may be speaking of a flood of armies. In Daniel 7:22, where the prophecy of this time is found, we have a verse that also speaks of a flood. "And with the arms of a flood shall they be overflown from before him, and shall be broken; yea, also the prince of the covenant." Also in verse 26 of that chapter, while the word "flood" is not used, the word "overflow" is. "Yea, they that feed of the portion of his meat shall destroy him, and his army shall overflow: and many shall fall down slain." In these cases, it would seem that a flood of waters is symbolic for armies, so it is quite possible that this verse in Revelation is speaking of a flood of armies. The earth opens up and swallows the armies. This is not the first time that the Lord opens up the earth to swallow the wicked. When Korah led a rebellion against Moses, the Lord opened up the earth and swallowed up all of those in rebellion, as a warning to the rest of the Israelites. Numbers 16:31-32.

In either case, whether armies or an actual flood, the earth opens up and swallows the predator that is seeking to destroy the woman which allows her to escape to the mountains.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Revelation 12:13-14

Verse 13-14 "And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. 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.

This takes us back to earth where we left off at verse 6, so we know that we are still at that same exact time of the abomination of desolation when Israel flees. God deliberately goes back and reiterates this information to make sure we realize that all of this is happening simultaneously on earth and in heaven and takes place in a very brief period of time. He had left us at the woman fleeing into the wilderness on earth, showed us what was happening at the same time in heaven, then brought us back down to where he left off on earth.

The first thing Satan does upon arrival on the planet is to try to kill all of the Jews he can (through antichrist declaring himself God). He will be able to kill a lot of them. In Zechariah 13 we find a prophecy about Israel for the last days. In verses 8-9 it tells how many will die. "And it shall come to pass that in all the land, saith the Lord, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God." So two thirds of the Jewish population will die. The world's Jewish population is over 13 million, and Israel's Jewish population is roughly 5 1/2 million. Considering just the Jewish population of Israel, as they are the ones who are told to flee to the wilderness, one third of this population number would be roughly 1,850,000. It seems unlikely that this many people would be able to flee out of Israel (technically it only says Judea) for safety. I am not even sure how many peope live in that particular area of Israel. It is more probable that the bulk of the third that are saved are found in the rest of the world, and that more die in Israel than elsewhere, although there is no way to say that for certain. The actual place spoken of (Judea) in Luke is what is today the West Bank, where all the Palestinians live alongside the Israelis, and it is that particular section that is told to flee. Naturally any place where an Israeli's literal neighbor is his enemy is the most dangerous, although the entire country of Israel is literally in the midst of their enemies. Anyone in Jerusalem should obviously flee, as well as anyone in the West Bank. As for the rest of the country, they might stay put and take their chances, fighting.

Among those that do remain alive, at least some are the remnant that flee to the mountains. As said before, God brings them into the wilderness to bring them back to Himself, Ez. 20:33-38, “As I live, saith the Lord God, surely with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out, will I rule over you: and I will bring you out from the people, and will gather you out of the countries wherein ye are scattered, with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out. And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead with you face to face. Like I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so will I plead with you, saith the Lord God. And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant: And I will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against me: I will bring them forth out of the country where they sojourn, and they shall not enter into the land of Israel: and ye shall know that I am the Lord.” and Jer. 30:11 “For I am with thee, saith the Lord, to save thee: though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee: but I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished.” That this speaks of that future time cannot be in doubt, as it will be the second sojourn in the wilderness similar to the Egyptian exodus, God brings them into the covenant, and he will make a full end of all of the nations where they have been scattered. Clearly this speaks of the Day of the Lord.

Help is given to the remnant of Israel to make their escape. Two wings of a great eagle carry them by flight to that place that has been prepared by God. Here we see the time frame has been changed from 1260 days to time, times, and half a time. If there was any doubt that "time" refers to a year, it is clearly laid out in this chapter. It also clearly identifies with the same time frame as Daniel. God uses these numbers (1260 days; time, times, half a time; 3 1/2 years; and forty-two months) interchangeably so that we will know that He is always referring to the same time frame, that last half of the 70th week, no matter which number He uses or to what he is referring. They will be protected from Satan and antichrist for this entire time until Christ returns. All of their needs will be miraculously supplied, just as they were in the wilderness when they left Egypt. This will make Satan very frustrated and angry to not be able to touch them. So close, yet so far. It will be at Christ's Second Coming that they will realize exactly who He is. This group will definitely be going into the millennium.

As to what the great eagle is? Well, if we take this literally, it would seem absurd. There is no eagle big enough to fly a huge group of people to a place of safety. It would seem that common sense clearly indicates that this is not to be taken literally. Unless of course there is a plane named the eagle. We have had a spaceship by that name, and it seems that most planes get a name from the men who fly them. John had never seen a plane, so this may be his only reference by which to call it. It could be that the Israelis themselves just commandeer aircraft and make a hasty retreat. Another possibility is that the eagle stands for America’s planes. We are presently about the only friend Israel has, although it would be hard to prove that given the past few government administrations' attempts to make Israel give away their land and make peace with the people who would see them annihilated. In fact I believe this current president is already showing he is not going to side with Israel, and we may find our country siding against Israel in the future. Possibly this could mean miraculous and angelic interference in the affairs of man. There is a scriptural reference that may give some credence to that idea. It has to do with the exodus from Egypt. Ex. 19:4 “Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself.“ The many miracles, and I am sure angelic protection and help, is referred to symbolically here in Exodus as eagles’ wings. As symbolism does hold through scripture, there is an argument for this being the case again in Revelation. It will be a shortened repeat of the Egyptian exodus and wilderness experience, (God does have a penchant for repeating things in the same manner) and their survival will depend upon God's miraculous provision, so the possibility of this verse being the source of how this should be interpreted is strong, although any one of these is a possibility. Only time will tell. As stated before, Satan will not be allowed to touch her there. Israel's running to the mountains would explain why Moab, Edom, and Ammon (all part of Jordan) escape out of antichrist's hands. All of the children of Israel will be hiding out there.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Revelation 12:10-12

Verse 10 "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 out God day and night."

It is unclear who is the owner of this loud voice, but given that Michael is the archangel, and it is he who cast Satan out, it is possible that it is he speaking. The speaker announces that the plan of salvation is coming to a close and that the kingdom of God is at hand, as Satan, the accuser of the brethren, has been cast out of heaven. The reference to us as brethren does not have to indicate that the speaker is a human. All of those who worship God, no matter angel or human are brethren in that we all worship God. Notice that Satan does not take a day off, nor does he take off the night.

Verse 11 "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto death."

Now we can see that the speaker, while calling us brethren does not include himself in the saints. The saints are referred to as "they", which means that the speaker is probably either an angel or an elder. This is a continuation of the announcement of the previous verse and says that the saints overcame the accuser, Satan, by the blood of the Lamb, (Christ's blood covered both those who came before him and died in faith, as well as those who came after) and the word of their testimony. They did not deny God even upon the certainty of death. Multitudes have been martyred for God and Christ since Abel. Multitudes more will be martyred for Christ during the tribulation

Verse 12 "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."

Heaven can rejoice, because Satan can no longer come around. There is nothing quite so relieving as getting rid of the presence of someone who vehemently hates God and His children. They have had to endure Satan's presence for millennia. Now they do not have to anymore. Unfortunately it is "woe" for those on the earth. This woe is not one of the first, second, or third woes of the trumpet judgments. Christ used the term "woe" many times when speaking to the Pharisees. As this woe is not designated by an ordinal number, it is not one of the woes of chapter nine, nor is it the third woe. It simply means that it is bad news for those on the earth. This also includes the sea. Considering the plagues of the trumpets, it is not only man and the land animals that will perish, but we know one third of the seas and fresh waters are affected, so the creatures living there will suffer also.

Satan is coming down having not just wrath, but great wrath. Not only is he livid about being cast out of heaven, he knows his time is really short now. He will take all the revenge he can in the time allotted to him. And he knows exactly how long that is. He has read Revelation too.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Revelation 12:7-9

Verse 7-9 "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. 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"

Now (in this "string on the guitar" or history of the conflict between Israel/Christ and Satan) we have reached the midpoint of the 70th week where the woman flees, as the armies encompass Jerusalem. Simultaneously while this and the abomination of desolation are happening on earth, we see that war breaks out in heaven. Michael and his angels war with Satan and his fallen angels, and Satan and his group get thrown out of heaven. Most people do not realize that they still have access to heaven. One only needs to read the book of Job to see that Satan spends a great deal of time there accusing us before God. As he is not the only one doing the accusing (he is not omnipresent to know what everyone is doing), others of his followers must be doing the same. Now they are cast out of heaven once and for all. They will never be allowed access to heaven again. In Daniel 12 we read that Michael stood up and there was a time of trouble such as the world had never seen before. At that time it was seen from the definition, that he stands back and does nothing during the tribulation. However, before he stands back and just has to watch Satan take out his wrath on mankind, Michael (who is Satan's adversary in the angelic realm) gets very active and fights Satan. Once this rabble is thrown out of heaven, Michael has to stand back and just watch what happens next. Satan is thrown out of heaven and down to the earth. This is bad news for the earth. He is mad and he is going to get even. This is why this time of great tribulation is going to be unparalleled in all of history. It will be Satan with the restrainer removed from hindering him. It will be his last hurrah. He will do his best to eliminate all of mankind, and eliminate the planet entirely if it were possible. It is his last ditch attempt to render God incapable of fulfilling his promise of a kingdom on earth with Israel as the reigning nation, which would make Satan the winner, if he could do it. Of course he cannot, but the damage will be beyond comprehension.