Monday, January 25, 2010

Revelation 14:2-5

Verse 2-3 "And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth."

John is viewing the scene on Mount Zion of Christ and the 144,000. He then hears coming from out of heaven a voice he has heard before. It again is compared to many waters or great thunder. It is obviously God's voice that John hears. Christ is on Mount Zion with the 144,000, so it is not Him. God's voice is the one who thunders as the sound of many waters. Then John hears other voices. The voices of harpers who along with their singing are harping. They are singing a brand new song before the throne of God, the four beasts, and the elders. This is a song that has been especially created for the 144,000 and they alone of all mankind are allowed to learn and sing it. Many commentators interpret this to be the 144,000 singing the song before the throne, and therefore say that they are dead and in the heavenly Zion. It does not specifically identify the 144,000 as the ones singing, so to say that is an assumption that may or may not be valid. It specifically says the harpers' voices are the ones being heard, and the 144,000 are the only humans allowed to learn the song. This does not have to mandate that it is them singing. The song may be being sung by a heavenly group of musicians, who are teaching the song to the 144,000. If dead it would not be hard for a group to sing an unknown song in unison, as heaven is capable of far different abilities than earth, however if this group is not dead they probably would have to learn it, as we learn any song, and it does say that they have to learn it. They are listening and learning it and will be singing it, but probably not in heaven at this moment, as will be seen.

Now we come to the third viewpoint (the first two being that the 144,000 were dead and in heaven, or resurrected and on Mount Zion) that the group is alive (not resurrected) and on the Temple Mount. Being redeemed does not have to indicate dead. I have been redeemed, and I am not yet dead. If they were to fall victim to Satan and be killed, then what was the point of having sealed them? They were sealed for the express purpose of being protected. Had they died without having accepted Christ (their sealing did not bestow salvation at the time of the sealing), they could not have been redeemed, therefore the whole idea behind sealing them was to protect them and keep them alive so that they would have time to accept Christ.

[After posting I ran across another verse that may refer to this event. Ob. 17 "But upon mount Zion there shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions." This passage is in reference to the Day of the Lord (the time of God's wrath). A remnant of the house of Israel will be delivered on mount Zion. This group could be that remnant.]

The argument may be made that since it says they are redeemed from the earth, that they have been removed from the earth, however, the Greek word does not have to indicate separation. It also indicates origin. Just as I can say I am from Chicago (I am not, but if I were) and it does not imply that I am no longer living in Chicago, these 144,000 are from earth as that is where they live. It is a phrase that can actually emphasize that they are not from heaven or in heaven, but from and on earth. What is more important is the statement that they have been redeemed. These 144,000 have come to be redeemed in the time from when they were sealed to this moment. They were not originally Christians when they were sealed, otherwise they would have already had the seal of God on their foreheads. They have been redeemed not because they have died, but because they have accepted Christ. Referring back to Chapter 12 and a verse quoted there as to what Christ will be doing with Israel during this time - Hosea 2:14, 19-20, 23 “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her. And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies. I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the Lord. And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God.” Christ has been bringing His people to Him while they are hiding out in the wilderness. Therefore by the time the end of the 1260 days have been reached, this particular group has all come to know the Lord as their Savior. It would appear that the rest of Israel actually accepts Christ as their Savior when they see Him whom they have pierced (the Second Coming). Otherwise they would all be raptured, if saved before that, and there would be no Jews to go into the millennium at all.

Verse 4-5 "These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God."

When they were sealed, we were only told that these 144,000 were 12,000 from each of the twelve listed tribes. Now we find out more about them. They have not been defiled with women for they are virgins. Everyone seems to feel that this says that they are spiritual virgins. Going back to the rule that we take this literally, it says that they have not been defiled with women (note the plural, it is not just the spiritual whore that is being referred to here) and are virgins. This would seem to indicate that 1) they are male and 2) probably quite young as they have not yet married or had sex. To find an adult male virgin in this day and age is difficult. They are not abundant if I can judge by what I see going on in the world. To find 144,000? It's almost a necessity that they be young. All of this would indicate that these are male children from the twelve tribes of Israel. Being children, Christ would probably be inclined to want to protect them. Think of how Christ feels about people who even offend children. In Matt. 18:6, He decrees that it would be better for them that a millstone be hung around their neck and they be drowned in the sea. Does it not make sense that Christ would want to spare innocent children Satan's wrath, especially Jewish children, since it is God's plan to repopulate Israel and run His kingdom through that nation? It also says they are without guile and fault before God's throne. Because of King David saying (when his baby died) that he would go to meet his child in heaven, it has been accepted that there is a covering of sins over those who are under the age of accountability and have not been able to make the choice to follow Christ. Where that falls for each child would seem to be at a different age, as each child comes to understanding at a different time. However, if they cannot understand, it has been accepted that God has a special plan that is enacted on their behalf. Only a very young child can be innocent and without guile or fault before God. Young children are not aware, nor in some cases capable of breaking the ten commandments. This would seem to indicate young children. As the sealing of this group appears to happen around the time of the abomination of desolation, they would have several years to mature enough to be able to accept Christ, even if very young. Both I and my children accepted Christ as very young children (I clearly remember my conversion although I could have been no older than five at the very most and, in fact, I think I was younger), so it is possible for a young child to understand and accept Christ at a young age. That they would be spiritual virgins would be a given, if they are indeed very young children, as they would not have been old enough to decide to follow any "god" when sealed. After being sealed Christ will bring them into a relationship with Himself. (see Hosea reference above).

There is another reason for why Jewish male children would be chosen in this manner and become redeemed. Ex. 13:2 "Sanctify unto me all the firstborn, whatsoever openeth the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of beast: it is mine." Ex. 22:29 'Thou shalt not delay to offer the first of thy ripe fruits, and of thy liquors: the firstborn of thy sons shalt thou give unto me." Num. 3:13 "Because all the firstborn are mine; for on the day that I smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt I hallowed unto me all the firstborn in Israel, both man and beast: mine shall they be: I am the Lord." Just as God demanded the firstfruits of the flocks and the crops, he asked that the firstborn sons be sanctified as firstfruits unto Him. Israel has not done this for quite some time. It may be that God, just as he gave the land seventy years of Sabbath rest that Israel neglected to give the land by sending them into captivity in Babylon for that length of time, is going to claim the firstfruits or firstborn sons of 144,000 families - 12,000 firstborn sons from 12,000 families of each tribe. Firstfruits can mean several things. When it says that they are the firstfruits, it does not have to mean that they are the first ones to accept Christ from the Jewish population. In fact they would not be, as there have been Messianic Jews since the time of Christ. Nor does it have to indicate that they are the first of the resurrected although they could be. What may be being referred to, when it says they are the firstfruits, is simply that they are the firstborn sons and therefore the firstfruits of the new Israel that is being established. All firstborn sons from this point on will be sanctified unto the Lord. They may be the first generation of firstborn sons that Israel will give to Christ. Just as Israel had to give the firstfruits to God when they first entered the land after the forty years in the wilderness, so Israel has to start giving their firstfruits to God and Christ as they enter Israel again for the millennium. It will start with their firstborn sons, whether that is this group or not. The fact that it is only males (and most likely children) that are chosen and no females would seem to favor this idea, as Christ is not supposed to be a respecter of persons when it comes to salvation (if that were the only reason for choosing the 144,000). There is no Greek or Jew, no male or female, etc. when it comes to salvation. The choosing of what appears to be 12,000 male children specifically from each of the twelve tribes would almost point to this requirement of God (offering the firstborn sons) as being the reason behind them being chosen.

Another purpose for the 144,000 being children could have to do with practical reasons. Christ needs young men who will follow Him to repopulate Israel during the millennium, so that it can be the reigning nation. The lineage of Jews originally was followed from father to son, but because of the conditions that Israel found itself in over the centuries, in order to verify that a child was in truth a Jew, it came to be that a child was Jewish if his mother was a Jew. They could not be sure if the father was, so this solved the problem. Things will go back to the original way of doing things again, so an adequate number of young Jewish men from every tribe is necessary to repopulate Israel, as the blessings and inheritances will pass from father to son, not mother to child. If anyone doubts that there will be a return to Judaism during the millennium and that the twelve tribes will again inhabit Israel, one only needs to read Ezekiel. Starting in chapter 40 there is a description of the temple which will exist during the millennium. This description is not of one of the previous two temples. This temple does not yet exist. In chapter 43 there is a description of God's glory returning to the temple. That never happened after God left, so we know this is still future. Ezek. 43:4, 7 "And the glory of the Lord came into the house by the way of the gate whose prospect is toward the east....And he said unto me, Son of man, the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and my holy name shall the house of Israel no more defile, neither they, nor their kings, by their whoredom, nor by the carcases of their kings in their high places." That the temple and the laws will be re-instituted is further shown in verses 10-11 "Thou son of man, shew the house to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities: and let them measure the pattern. And if they be ashamed of all that they have done, shew them the form of the house, and the fashion thereof, and the goings out thereof, and the comings in thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the laws thereof: and write it in their sight, that they may keep the whole form thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and do them." God gives Ezekiel the pattern for the temple and all its adornments, the sacrifices that are required, the ordinances of the priests, and the division of the land for the tribes of Israel so that they may do it all. This division of land clearly shows that there are males from every tribe going into the millennium, as the males are the ones who will inherit. In fact, the name of the city from that day on shall be "The Lord is there" (48:35), showing that this is when Christ will live on earth with his people. This is why a good number of Jewish males who have not been defiled with women are a must. These males must marry women who are at the very least Christian, if not Jewish. (Non-Jews can be accepted into a Jewish tribe if they accept God. Ezek. 47:22-23 "And it shall come to pass, that ye shall divide it by lot for an inheritance unto you, and to the strangers that sojourn among you, which shall beget children among you: and they shall be unto you as born in the country among the children of Israel; they shall have inheritance with you among the tribes of Israel. And it shall come to pass, that in what tribe the stranger sojourneth, there shall ye give him his inheritance, saith the Lord God.") Think of how the Israelites married the ungodly Canaanite women and all the problems that caused. If these young men had already had sex with or married a woman from the world, he would be disqualified as defiled for being able to start a spiritually and physically pure bloodline for the millennium. But what of the girls they marry? From where do they come? There are two possibilities. Anyone who makes it into the millennium will be a follower of Christ. As the men are young, the girls from which they would choose to marry would most likely also be young, not ones who are already married and sexually active. Therefore they would probably be physical and spiritual virgins also. As such they would be acceptable for marriage to one of these young men whether or not they themselves are Jewish. Ruth was not from Israel, yet she was King David's great-grandmother and in Christ's lineage. As the lineage will not pass through the mothers, any young virgin girl will be acceptable, as anyone will be able to join a tribe if they so desire. (See Ezek. 47:22-23 above) The second place from which they may come is if they were born in the millennial kingdom to those who have made it through. If these 144,000 are indeed young, there is time for girls to be born to survivors who will not be too young for them to marry when they are grown.

If one still doubts that having a remnant to repopulate Israel is necessary due to a restoration of Judaism and temple worship during the millennium, there is more Scriptural proof. A description (in Ezek.) of the waters that issue forth from under the temple threshold makes it impossible for it to be anything but the future. These waters run from the temple mount eastward. The waters gradually get deeper until it is a great river. On the sides of this river are many trees. These trees produce fruit "whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine." (Ezek. 47:12) This passage is not speaking of the heavenly Jerusalem. It is speaking of the temple that the Israelites are told to build, from which Christ will reign. God does not need the Israelites to build Him a heavenly temple. That already exists. This is a new earthly temple that will be built by the Israelites.

The trees that grow alongside the river that flows from the temple will not only offer sustenance from its fruit, but the leaves will be used to heal people of their infirmities. That (along with the change in the earth as far as the canopy being restored) will allow people to again live to great ages as the antediluvian people did. Is.65:19-20 "And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying. There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed." The animal world will also revert to its ways of not fearing man nor being a danger to man. Is. 65:25 "The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock (vegetarian just like before the flood): and dust shall be the serpent's meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the Lord." This negates the idea of amillennialism, which says that there is no millennium. It would also negate the idea that there will be a Christian millennium such as Christianity is observed today. People will be going back to temple worship and Judaism (regardless of people's inability to accept that idea), only their Messiah will reign over them. This in no way undoes Christ's sacrifice on the cross. The inability of being able to understand how temple worship works and why it will return is simply due to a lack of knowledge of the Old Testament laws and their purpose. (This may be covered in another study after Revelation is finished.) This is why it is so important to study the Old Testament and not relegate it to being "over and unimportant in light of Christ's first coming" as many churches do. It is not just the past, it is also the future. All of this has been covered to show the necessity of having young male virgins from every tribe survive in order to repopulate the earth. It will be necessary if there is to be an Israel in the millennium and there will be.

Getting back to the verse in Revelation, this group follows the Lamb wherever He goes. Assuming they are alive and not resurrected (as this is the viewpoint that is currently being discussed), they will follow Him from where they have been hidden to Mount Zion, where they will stand with Him at the end. They will also follow Him in that their lives are now dedicated to their Lord, and they will follow His will, just as we should be doing. If these are young children and Christ is their only parental figure and protector, it would make sense that they follow him everywhere He goes, just as small children follow their parents around. This would be quite an entourage, but it would not be the first time children have followed Jesus. When He was here before, little children seemed to love to be near Him and follow Him around. He reprimanded the disciples when they tried to shoo them away. As these young men would grow to adulthood and go on to marry and repopulate the earth, their following of Christ would move to the sense that we follow Christ today. We do not literally follow His every step, but we (hopefully) follow His will.

Going back to the idea that Christ has been bringing this group into a knowledge of Himself and that He has led them from the wilderness to stand on Mount Zion in Jerusalem, there is a Scripture that may refer to this. The city of Petra has been mentioned before when speaking of the woman, Israel, who in chapter 12 runs to the mountains to hide. It has also been discussed that the majority of the 144,000 seemingly must come out of Gentile nations, as the ten tribes were assimilated millennia ago, which would create a problem for the 144,000 being that woman. There may be a way around that. When Israel split into two nations, Israel and Judah, the northern tribes became pagan. Just as there has always been a remnant for God through the ages, it is logical to believe that not every family of every tribe wanted to turn pagan. Some may have wanted to remain loyal to God and the temple worship and therefore moved to Jerusalem. As everyone in the southern kingdom came to be known by the name Judah, and this remnant from other tribes would have been too small to retain their tribal identity (even the tribes of Benjamin and Levi came to be known as Jews), they would have lost knowledge of that identity. God is able to protect identities, as shown by the fact that he pulls 12,000 young men out of every tribe (except Dan) to seal. It is quite possible that in Israel today all of the tribes are represented. It is also possible that when the woman of chapter 12 flees to the wilderness, she has as part of her group the 144,000. Or maybe they alone are the woman. This would make sense given the following passage in Isaiah.

In Isaiah 63:1-9, we find a passage that speaks of Christ going (assume it is walking) from Petra (Edom or Bozrah) at the day of vengeance (God's wrath) when redemption has come for His people. He is trampling the winepress and bloodying his garments as He goes. It speaks of his people, who are children and who will not lie (in whom there is no guile) and whom He redeems. This passage would seem to dovetail with this interpretation of chapter 14 in Revelation. "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. And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me. And I will tread down the people in mine anger, and make them drunk in my fury, and I will bring down their strength to the earth. I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the Lord, and the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which he hath bestowed on them according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his lovingkindnesses. For he said, Surely they are my people, children that will not lie: [in whom there is no guile] so he was their Saviour. In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them....." It would appear that not only has Christ been busy redeeming this group, but that He marches from Edom to Jerusalem killing those who are in His way who would stop Him. Possibly He is leading this group to Mount Zion. This would explain later why when Christ rides the white horse down to Armageddon his white robe is already bloodied. He has already been down there trampling out the vineyards.
[After posting this I came across another Scripture about this. Is. 34:6b "for the Lord hath a sacrifice in Bozrah, and a great slaughter in the land of Idumea." Bozrah is in Edom (as is Petra). Here we see that there will be a great slaughter there, so this may also refer to the same event as this also occurs in the Day of the Lord.]

Over the years a certain picture of how we think the order of events are to occur has come about, and it is a little difficult to alter that vision. However, we must look to what Scripture says and be willing to change our ideas to fit what Scripture says rather than dogmatically cling to the teachings that have been developed and promoted by scholars over the years. For years it has been taught that a secret rapture will occur and that the first time Christ is seen is when he shows up at Armageddon with us all in tow. We have already seen that the rapture is not secret, nor does it occur before the seven years begin. Now we may see that Christ, while not appearing to the entire world until His Second Coming, may in fact appear to this special group of Jewish males and all the people He tramples before the rapture and Second Coming. It may also be that the resurrection and the rapture are separated by a ten day gap, aligning them with the holy days.

I cannot say for certain which of the latter two views is the better one, as both have sufficient reasons to support them. I cannot say for certain if any of the views is the answer, nor anything else that I have written for that matter, but I try to understand God's Word in its simplest most straightforward way using all of Scripture to define and support whatever I do write, and that is how I have also covered this.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Revelation 14:1

Chapter 14

The first problem with this chapter is to determine where it falls in the timeline. Some think that it is a continuation of chapter 13 and picks up at the tribulation or mark of the beast where chapter 13 ended. The other possibility is that the strings of the guitar (to use a previous metaphor) have now all been played and everyone has been caught up to speed, and we are proceeding on from where chapter 10 left off at the end of the 1260 days. As chapter 15 is a continuation of chapter 14, it must also be considered when deciding where this chapter falls. The fact that 144,000 are mentioned and followed by a harvest (rapture) and the appearance of a group of people on the sea of glass (in chapter 15) so parallels chapter 7, that it is seen by some to be a reference back to that chapter. It will be shown why this is not the same events as in chapter 7.

First, the 144,000 mentioned in chapter 7 are not redeemed at that time. That is why they must receive the mark - for protection through the trumpet judgments. Christians are already sealed (marked), so this group is clearly not saved in chapter 7. Yet in chapter 14 they are referred to as being redeemed (Christians). Time has to have passed for them all to have become redeemed, therefore this is not the same time or event as in chapter 7. They have made it through the trumpet judgments for which they were marked to be protected and have become redeemed. Therefore it is most likely that the trumpet judgments are past. (Ergo the 1260 days are past.) This leads to the conclusion that this event is at the end of the 1260 days. Second, while the group on the sea of glass in chapter 15 is mentioned following the mention of the 144,000, as was chronologically done in chapter 7, it is a distinctly different group from that of chapter 7. Therefore this group cannot be used as a reference back to the first group on the sea of glass. They are in fact described quite differently from those in chapter 7, as will be shown later. Just because the two accounts have two similar groups does not mean that they refer to the same event, time, or even groups. This is the same sort of mistake that is made by people who say that the seals, trumpets, and bowls are all the same judgments just because they are numbered one through seven. Similarities in situations, people, places, and etc. can be shown to refer to the same thing and therefore give more information, or they may refer to something entirely different. One has to look closely at details to determine which is the case and be very careful not to confuse the issues by making two different things be the same.

Another problem is that the angels are announcing that God's wrath is about to fall. It is for what the saints have been patiently waiting - Christ's return and God's punishment of the world. However, God's wrath will not fall until the trumpet judgments are over, as they are not part of His wrath. God's wrath is never announced until this chapter. The seals and trumpet judgments were never announced as God's wrath, and were shown to be part of Satan's wrath and agreement with God. It has been shown that those judgments run until the 1260 days are over. Therefore again, this narrative must begin after that ends, making it come after the events in chapters 9 and 10.

As the trumpet judgments were not part of God's wrath and His wrath is about to fall, we know that the trumpet judgments have to be finished (again 1260 days after the abomination of desolation) and therefore should see the rapture occuring in Scripture somwhere at this point before the bowls are poured out, as Christians are not appointed to God's wrath. This is exactly what we see in this chapter. The timing of this chapter would seem to be after the 1260 days when the trumpet judgments finish, but before the bowl judgments are poured out, which would put the reaping of the harvest at precisely the right time to fulfill Scripture in that it comes after the tribulation, after the signs of the sixth seal, but before God's wrath is poured out.

The historical interludes of the two witnesses, Israel, Satan, and the beast have now brought everyone involved up to the end of the 1260 days, and from the above reasons, it can be seen that the narrative now continues on from that point. What follows are the events that will occur in the days following the 1260 days. As we know from Daniel 12, there are 1290 days from the time of the abomination until it all (God's wrath and the reclamation of the world by Christ) is finished. This leaves us with thirty days for the resurrection, the rapture, and the bowl judgments. John is now going to be viewing things that are happening from the vantage point of earth, and more specifically from Jerusalem. In chapter 15 he will again be in heaven viewing things there.

Verse 1 "And I looked, and lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads."

Mount Sion or Zion is the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. In a few verses in the Bible it poetically refers to the city of Jerusalem as Zion, but it is actually the Temple Mount that is called Mount Zion. Hebrews 12:22 refers to a heavenly Zion, but while many say that this is what is referred to here, one verse is not sufficient to build an interpretation on, given that all the other verses speak of an earthly Zion. Also, this specifies that it is Mount Zion, not just Zion. Therefore, it appears that the earthly Zion is what is in sight. Christ has brought the 144,000 to the Temple Mount and He will stand there with them. They were sealed for protection from the events in the trumpets, but now those have been completed and Satan's conditions that had to be met for the ownership of the earth to be transferred are now over. The world will be reverting to Christ's complete possession and God's wrath will begin to fall.

There are several ways of viewing this verse. The first two presume the 144,000 are dead. The first would say that they are standing on the heavenly Zion. The second would say that they have died, been resurrected, and are standing on the earthly Mount Zion or Temple Mount. The third way presumes that they are still alive and are standing on the Temple Mount.

The first viewpoint is not plausible for the following reasons: 1) Zion in Scripture (except for the verse in Hebrews) always refers to Jerusalem or the Temple Mount on Mount Zion, not the Zion of heaven. 2) John is viewing things in the rest of the chapter from an earthly viewpoint. It would seem that then these first few verses are also being viewed from earth, which would then seem to imply that it is the Temple Mount in Jerusalem that is being seen. 3) in verse 2, John hears a voice coming from heaven. If he were in heaven, he would not say that it came from heaven, but simply that a voice was coming from the throne or some specific location in heaven. He would not indicate it as a separate location from the one he is occupying. 4) Zion is referred to as a mount. Nowhere in all the description John has given of heaven does he say that God's temple in heaven is on a mountain. There is no mountain ever seen in heaven, and this clearly specifies that they are standing on a mountain. Therefore it has to be the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. So that eliminates the first view that they are dead and in heaven.

The second viewpoint says that they are resurrected and have joined Christ on Mount Zion. There are pros and cons to this viewpoint. One problem is that they were sealed to go through the trumpet judgments. One would suppose that this means that they were meant to make it through alive, although it could be that they were only sealed to prevent them from being tortured by the demonic hordes. If the latter is the case, they still have died as a result of the trumpet judgments. As they were not saved at the time of their sealing, they would have had to come to salvation later, as in the next few verses we are told that they are now redeemed. (They would not have had to have been sealed otherwise. They were not sealed as ministers of the gospel as some teach. They are not even saved until some point during the trumpet judgments (this we assume by deduction) and that is no doubt on an individual basis, not a mass conversion). If assumed they are dead and resurrected, (as they would have to be to appear on Mount Zion) this would mean that the resurrection has taken place. We know that the resurrection does occur before the rapture and we will see that in the latter verses of this chapter, Christ appears in the clouds and reaps the harvest (the rapture). So it could be possible that this is the resurrection before the rapture, but then Christ's Second Coming appearance in the clouds would have to occur after He has resurrected this particular group, as it is described later on in the chapter. There might be some validation for this. First, the two witnesses have been resurrected. This might occur at the same time (or not). Maybe when the witnesses were resurrected, everyone was. When studying the fall feasts, it was seen that the shofar blown on Rosh haShanah was announcing the coronation and the Day of the Lord, as well as heralding the Messianic Age and accompanying the resurrection of the dead. Yom Kippur however was about the returning of the groom for the bride. In between were the Days of Awe where people had ten days to get their lives in order and decide if they were going to be in the Book of Life or not.

As we will see, an angel announcing God's redemption and wrath is about to make the rounds of earth. Then another angel announces the fall of Babylon, (Christ's becoming King and Satan's kingdom falling) and a third announces that God's wrath is about to be poured out on those with the mark. (They have made their choice and God has closed the books). This would correspond to the Days of Awe and the time given from Rosh haShanah to Yom Kippur to either make your salvation sure or take the consequences. It is possible that this is what is occurring here and would explain the gap in the fall festival's traditions as to the resurrection being on the first festival and the groom coming for the bride on the second. It is at Yom Kippur that the books are finally closed and everyone's fate is sealed. It would seem that the rapture could not take place until the Book of Life is finally closed, but the resurrection can, as their fate had already been determined when they died. Therefore this could be the firstfruits of the resurrection if one takes this point of view. We will see that after the three angels, there is a reaping of the harvest, (groom coming for the bride) so that would go along with the festival traditions as to what will happen on the two days. As the Feast of Tabernacles is the week following Yom Kippur and would immediately follow the rapture (if on Yom Kippur), this would correspond to the week long wedding feast that was traditionally celebrated for weddings (in this case the marriage supper of the Lamb). This interpretation would fit the traditional understandings of the significance of the fall festivals very well.

The third viewpoint, that the 144,000 are still alive requires studying the next few verses.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Revelation 13:18

Verse 18 "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 three-score and six."

Here is the big verse over which everyone debates, haggles, and speculates. I do not pretend to have the required wisdom to decipher what is meant here other than to take it literally. It says that 666 is the beast's number and the number of his name. If one does research, it can be found that the number 666 has been incorporated into more things than imaginable. This in and of itself is a rather extensive study. It is generally not overt, being most often stylized, but it is everywhere. If one starts looking with an eye to see, one sees it every place one looks. It is a number the Illuminati (and other groups and subsidiaries of their long-reaching tentacles) likes to use as a mockery. Is it that God assigned this number 666 to antichrist and they, thinking that God assigned it, adopted it out of derision, or is it that God saw that they would use the number 666, as the number has deep occultic meanings, and He merely let us know that whenever and wherever we see the number, we should realize that it is the antichrist system at work? It is like the old question, "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?" In that case, I do know the answer - the chicken, obviously, as God created things full grown. In this case it is not so obvious. Prophecy is not always about God telling us how things will go because He is actively making it happen that way, but often just telling us the consequences of our bad actions. He lets nature take its course, as it were, and we reap what we sow. Perhaps this falls into that sort of category. Satan has had numbers be an important part of his worship for millennia. He chose this number and God, knowing he chose this number, told us that we should watch for the use of this number. It is a very widely used number in company logos, marketing campaigns, architecture, art work, etc. Most of the time people are oblivious to it, as it is hidden in stylized ways. The Illuminati and occult love to hide things from the "unenlightened." They are very big into displaying things to the public in hidden ways, thinking that they are the only ones who understand. It is a source of amusement to them. One way of displaying the 666 is to make the three sixes interlock and create a triangular type of a shape. For those of you with a New King James Version of the Bible, check out at the front of the book. You will see a stylized 666 in an intertwined triangular shape just as I have described. Once you know what to start looking for, you will be amazed how many places you will see it. This number does not have to wait for the antichrist, it is already here. Here is a short video (about 4 min.) that shows some of the ways it is stylized and used.

666 Is Everywhere

As to how 666 is the number of the beast's name, I do not have that wisdom, nor will not enter into the gematria games that every writer of eschatology seems to enter into to try to make people's names add up to 666. I believe that when he presents himself, it will be obvious, and until then it is pointless to speculate.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Revelation 13:16-17

Verse 16 "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:"

Everyone seems to know about this mark, even people who know nothing else about the Bible. Everyone will be required to receive some sort of mark. Everyone. This is probably one of the reasons back in the Old Testament Laws that God told people that they were forbidden to put marks on their bodies. God was thinking ahead. This mark goes in either the right hand or in the foreheads.

Now comes a question. If people are forced to take the mark, even if they do not want to take it, would a Christian forced to take the mark then be sent to hell? What of a person who wants to acceps the Lord after being forced (or even willingly under duress) to take the mark? Is there anything in Scripture that will cover this problem? I believe there is. Matt. 5:30 "And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast if from thee; for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell." (Note that the right hand specifically is mentioned here.) Mark 9:43 "And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched." Mark 9:47 "And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire." Note that the alternative to removing the offensive limb, so as to be able to enter into life (as in eternal) or into the kingdom of God (as in Millennium), is to be cast into hell. I think God gave us these verses for this very purpose. It would seem that possibly having one's head cut off may be the only solution to removing the offensive mark forcibly put there, and may be a second reason (added to that of the Muslim traditions) as to why beheading is the means of death for Christians during the tribulation. If put there forcibly, antichrist may have it put it on our foreheads, as God marks us on the forehead to claim us as His own, and Satan knows this. Branding us with his mark in the same place would be his way of mocking God.

Verse 17 "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."

Without the mark, people will not be able to buy or sell. That means no food, no shelter, no fuel, no anything. Think of the consequences that implies. It is a well-known fact that we are moving into a cashless society and that things are being set up in such a way that people are being chipped. In fact, in some countries being chipped is now getting to be not only the norm, but mandatory. One article I read said that they are hoping to chip everyone in Israel. Is that not ironic? Of all places. Of course, not ironic when you realize who is really behind it. At this point, although one still cannot say for certain, it appears that the "mark" is in fact a chip. Information that I have read or heard indicates that these chips are being created with shut-off switches so that when people do not comply as desired, the chip is turned off and they will no longer be able to buy or sell. So even if they receive the chip or mark, they still have to be careful not to step out of line or they will find themselves in the same boat as Christians.

It seems that the "mark" which is always assumed to be one specific thing is not the only way of marking people though. It says the mark, OR the name of the beast, OR the number of his name. This implies there are three ways of marking people. Possibly the chip for more technological societies, and then some other form such as a tattoo for those in more backward third world countries, tribal areas in remote locations, or such conditions where technology is not available to monitor people in that way. The name of the beast, or the number of his name marked on people will be sufficient for the purpose. Again, this is Satan marking his people just as God marks Christians (and the 144,000). That is why a tattoo would also suffice.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Revelation 13:14-15

Verse 14-15 "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. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast would both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed."

Now we see that people are deceived by the miracles this false prophet performs and believe that they should do as he says and worship the beast. He does these miracles in the sight of the beast, which again implies it is he, not the first beast that is doing all the miracles. He tells people they should make an image to the beast. There is much speculation as to what this image will entail. The range of ideas is remarkable. Some say it is simply an idol, but that the idols will be inhabited by demons who will render the idol capable of speaking, thereby giving "life" to the image. Some say it will be an image via television (we all know what CG can do these days). John would never have seen television, so to see an image on a screen that is "alive" would seem miraculous to him. Some say it will be a holographic image beamed into everyone's home. I have no idea what it will ultimately be. If everyone is told to make or get their own personal image, being inhabited by demons would then be a must in order to make the image speak, and also to report back on whether or not the image is being worshiped. Note that this is a second raison d'etre of the image. It reports back on people. Those who do not comply are killed. The second idea is likely, as everyone seems to have a TV or online computer these days. It is completely plausible that the cables running to our houses and into our televisions and computers (not to mention the telephones) can be used for sending information (video as well as audio) both ways. At this time the government is not all that interested in watching most folks - at least not yet. As for holographs being beamed into people's homes, it is within the reason to assume this technology is available, (think of DisneyWorld having holography years ago) although only the government would have it at the moment. Again, their ability to spy on our activities is easily within the realm of possibility, so they will know if people do not comply. Any one of these ideas, or ones not even presented or thought of here, are a possibility, as Scripture is not very forthcoming with more information on this.

We are told that the first beast is wounded by a sword. If that is to be taken literally (and we are trying to take things literally whenever possible), it would seem that he has engaged in hand to hand combat. While Europeans, Americans, etc. do not use swords in this day and age, they do love their swords for beheading in Muslim countries, therefore a sword wound is easily a possibility. The prophecies (both the Bible and those of Islam) indicate that the antichrist (and/or Mahdi) will go to war quite often at the beginning. Being literally wounded by a sword in that part of the world is not as far-fetched as it might be in warfare in another part of the world.