In our walk through the Tribulation of the Last Days on earth...The first three years of this Seven Year Holocaust…Have brought death to a literal…ONE HALF of the entire planet's population! Through means of wars, natural disasters, attacks from demonic hoards, and direct Judgments from God Himself!
In our Journey... We have reached a pause in the events of earth...Just before the Seventh Trumpet is sounded... Which will bring in the Third and Final "WOE!
In this pause, John was given a vision which led him back to the start of the Tribulation... Giving us a glimpse of the Third Temple...And the Ministry of the 2 Witnesses of God…Through these 3 1/2 years...Their mission ending again at this midway point of the Seven Years!
With the up and coming antichrist finally killing the 2 prophets...Only to see their dead bodies rise again in 3 1/2 days...And a massive earthquake killing 7 thousand people in the city of Jerusalem as the prophets are taken Home again!
Let's step back into the Journey exactly where we left off...With the Seventh Angel about to sound the Trump!
Revelation 11:15 (NKJV)
15 Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!"
These are the words which the Saved of this earth have waited for since the days of Adam and Eve! OUR CRY OF VICTORY!!
Revelation 11:16-19 (NKJV)
16 And the twenty-four elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17 saying: "We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty, The One who is and who was and who is to come, Because You have taken Your great power and reigned. 18 The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, And the time of the dead, that they should be judged, And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, And those who fear Your name, small and great, And should destroy those who destroy the earth."
These Saints in Heaven are not praising and worshiping for what HAS already occurred...But because the Declaration has been made! And God claims Ownership of this world once again! This Declaration will have MUCH to do with all that we study about today!
The nations that have raged against Him... Will now be destroyed for their arrogant anger and rebellion... “For destroying the earth!” The evil deeds judged... And the good rewarded...From this moment forth... The Declaration is irreversibly made...All things are HIS once again...And all things will be purged and made NEW!
Remember shortly ago... This break in the chaos first began with the appearing of a Great Angel before John (Rev 10:6-7)...The angel said that at the Sounding of the Seventh Trumpet..."There would be no more delay"...
And the Mystery of God's Salvation would be finished!! THIS IS THAT MOMENT SPOKEN OF BY THE ANGEL TO JOHN!!
The Ultimate Goal of Christ's Sacrifice …The Mystery of Our Salvation…
Was to restore us into the Presence of God, right?! Well, watch what this Sounding of Seventh Trumpet now brings!
Revelation 11:19 (NKJV)
19 Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple. And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail.
Remember...Everything represented in God's Laws, Ceremonies and Feasts of the Old Testament...Were designed to be a "Shadow" and a "Picture" of things to come! Throughout the history of Israel...The Ark of the Covenant has represented the Very Presence of God!! And it has always been hidden from men...In the Place called the Holy of Holies in His Temple here on earth...Because the sin of this world has kept us SEPARATED from His Presence!
NOW... The REAL Temple of God in Heaven is OPENED TO ALL!!! And the TRUE Ark of the Covenant is REVEALED! THIS MAY LITERALLY BE THE THRONE WHERE GOD HIMSELF SITS! HIS DWELLING PLACE IN HEAVEN!
This Moment... Was foreshadowed at the exact TIME of Jesus' Sacrifice on the Cross...In the INSTANCE He Died to restore us to God again...
The Veil in Herod's Temple was literally torn from top to bottom...Revealing the Ark of the Covenant to men for the first time!
Matthew 27:50-51 (NKJV)
50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. 51 Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split...
This Incredible Act... Proclaims to ALL OF CREATION...That God is no longer separated from men...But He will NOW come to take His Place in Creation as was meant to be... HE is accessible to ALL! NEVER to be separated again! As this Revelation takes place in Heaven...The earth is literally ROCKED... As it was in Jesus' Death...With the POWER of this Moment...As lightening, thunder, hail and a great earthquake...Give witness to this Passing of Power!
Now... John will once again step back into time for a few moments... Far back this time…To give us a quick but powerful history of Satan's rebellion and battle plan against God...From the beginning...To this moment in the Tribulation!
And of Israel's history leading to this Seven Years called "Jacob's Trouble!"
Revelation 12:1 (NKJV)
1 Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars.
There have been so many crazy interpretations of just who this woman is in this Passage...But her identity is not meant to be a mystery at all...And if we again... Will just look to Scriptures to interpret Scriptures...The answer is very clear!
There is only one other place in all of the Bible which uses these exact descriptive words...When Jacob...Who was named “Israel” by God... And who was the father of the Twelve Tribes of Israel...Was told of the dream his son Joseph prophetically dreamed...Joseph's description of his family... Later to become the Nation of Israel...Was given using the following symbolism... Listen!
Genesis 37:9-10 (NKJV)
9 Then he dreamed still another dream and told it to his brothers, and said, "Look, I have dreamed another dream. And this time, the sun, the moon, and the eleven stars (plus Joseph) bowed down to me." 10 So he told it to his father and his brothers; and his father rebuked him and said to him, "What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall your mother and I and your brothers indeed come to bow down to the earth before you?"
This was the prophetic telling of how Joseph would one day hold a position in Egypt second only to the Pharoah... And he, his father, mother and brothers...Which WOULD BECOME THE NATION OF ISRAEL...Would be saved by his actions!
This WOMAN of Revelation 12...IS the unmistakably described Nation of Israel... From her very founding origin! (Sun) Jacob, (Moon) Rachel…And (11 stars) Sons of Israel + Joseph! THIS FACT becomes glaringly apparent as we follow her plight!
Revelation 12:2 (NKJV)
2 Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth.
The Nation of Israel was to be used of God to do what? To bring forth His Only Son into the world for Salvation!! And Israel has suffered much through the ages leading to the Moment of His Birth!
Then another character is introduced…
Revelation 12:3 (NKJV)
3 And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads.
We do not have to guess who this dragon may be...Because in a few short verses to follow... He is named... Satan! This beast is also described similarly in
Revelation 13:1...And Daniel 7:7-8, 2...The heads and horns in these passages...
Are used to reveal the Kingdoms from which he will originate on earth...
Revelation 12:4-5 (NKJV)
4 His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born. 5 She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne.
Satan lured one third of the angels of Heaven into rebellion with him against God! And Satan's biggest goal throughout mankind's history...Has been to prevent the Messiah's Coming...Through attempts to destroy Israel completely...
Attempts to turn Israel from their God... And through attempts to kill Jesus' prophetic lineage...And after failing to prevent His Birth...Satan then attempts to destroy Him immediately upon His arrival...BEFORE He could save mankind! (Devour her Child!) King Herod killing all male children! (Matt 2:16) And Israel's Child (Jesus) was taken up to the Father after His redemptive Work was completed! John NOW brings this history lesson of Israel to the Present...
And reveals the plight of Israel…At this point in the Tribulation...
Revelation 12:6 (NKJV)
6 Then the woman fled into the wilderness where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days
As will shortly be described in more detail...Satan pursues "the woman", Israel...
Relentlessly from this moment forward during the Tribulation! After the antichrist makes a Seven Year Peace Treaty with Israel at the beginning of the Tribulation...
He breaks the Treaty halfway through the Tribulation...Proclaiming HIMSELF as God...And persecuting Israel in an all out attempt to annihilate God's people!
This moment when all of Israel will have to flee to survive...Is the moment which Jesus was warning His disciples about concerning His Second Coming in Matthew 24...
Matthew 24:15-22 (NKJV)
15 "Therefore when you see the 'abomination of desolation,' spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place" (whoever reads, let him understand), 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. 18 And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. 19 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 20 And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect's sake those days will be shortened.
See how every verse fits together like a beautiful puzzle when completed?!
Israel will flee into the wilderness at this halfway point of the Tribulation...Which we will describe in detail next week...There Israel will remain in hiding through the rest of the Tribulation!
Many strongly feel this "place in the wilderness" will be the lost City of Petra in Jordan! (A city of Esau's descendants, the Edomites) An ancient city 50 miles south of the Dead Sea... (Built around 300 BC) Some of the City is literally carved into the sandstone surrounding it...Surrounded by rugged, mountainous terrain...With one access which is a narrow mile long crevice (Easy to defend)...
Many are so sure this is the place Israel will flee to...That tourists are encouraged to leave Bibles there...For the Israelites to read about their Messiah as they hide away in the Tribulation!There is no Scriptural reference telling where in the wilderness the Israelites will flee... Only time will tell us!
Now... Before we continue... Let me ask you a question...How many of you have always had this picture of Satan…Being in hell waiting for lost people to arrive so he can torture them as he rules? He's not in hell yet!But is actually the god of this world at present time...
2 Corinthians 4:4 (ESV)
4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers...
John 14:30 (NKJV)
30 I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me.
And he won't be ruling when he finally gets to hell... He will be in everlasting punishment!
Revelation 20:10 (NKJV)
10 The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
How many have always thought that Satan lost all access to Heaven following his rebellion from God? Not so! He serves a purpose there with rightful authority at present…
Job 1:6 (NKJV)
6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them.
Zechariah 3:1 (NKJV)
1 Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to oppose him.
Satan WAS cast from his POSITION in Heaven...And surely has limited access now...But currently has free roam of earth, air and parts of Heaven this day!
How else could he come before God to accuse God's people?
But here at the middle of the Tribulation...Obviously due to the Proclamation just made...That God has reclaimed all Satan had tried to steal from Him...Satan is about to lose all access to Heaven...And he, along with all of his demons...Are forcibly cast out forever!
Revelation 12:7-9 (NKJV)
7 And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, 8 but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. 9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
Many scholars and commentators interpret this as Satan's last desperate attack…To cause as much harm to God as possible before the end...I strongly disagree! He knows attacking Heaven would be futile...He knows hurting God's people would be more effective! There is solid evidence…This War in Heaven is initiated by God... Not Satan!
First... Note that the verse begins with Michael and his angels fighting with
Satan... Not Satan attacking first!
Second... A War broke out in Heaven... With existing parties...
Heaven was not attacked from the outside!
Third... The very next verses seem to give solid explanation for the War...To remove Satan from any Heavenly access…From that time forth! Listen!
Revelation 12:7-10 (NKJV)
10 Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, "Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.
This was the FIRST STEP towards God's Completed Plan of Salvation!!
Satan was ONLY allowed access to Heaven…Because he could rightfully come before God in accusation of His people...NOW... The Plan is Accomplished...
Satan has no need or AUTHORITY to accuse the brethren anymore! So the "accuser" has NOW been DENIED ACCESS... Cast down!!
This was clearly an Act of God... Initiated from Heaven!As He takes back His Kingdom and people! And renders Satan’s influence useless! The next verse tells how Satan was overcome...By the children of God choosing Christ and His Sacrifice! Making Satan's accusations useless... Our punishment has been paid!
Revelation 12:11-12 (NKJV)
11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.
12 Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time."
This is wonderful news for all who love and accept Christ in Heaven! Again showing the children of God already raptured and in Heaven just before the MIDDLE of the Tribulation! But this is terrible news for the people still on earth!!
Because Satan knows he is completely defeated...So he is humiliated, desperate and furious...And his time is now down to a few short years...
So his only goal now... Is to inflict as much pain and suffering on God's Creation as possible...Before being imprisoned!
Revelation 12:13-16 (NKJV)
13 Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child. 14 But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent. 15 So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood. 16 But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon had spewed out of his mouth.
Satan first turns all of his attention on the Chosen people of God...The people responsible for bringing this Messiah into the world...The Israelites... Who are in hiding in the wilderness!Whether by literal flood... Or a flood of demons and/or soldiers...God supernaturally protects His people! Seemingly through an earthquake or other natural disaster!
So Satan... Again defeated and out of his mind with helpless rage...Next goes after all of the Christians... Worldwide! Who have accepted the Messiah which Israel helped to Birth into this world!
Revelation 12:17 (NKJV)
17 And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
As if things were not already terrible enough for anyone proclaiming Christ during the Tribulation... Because of the hatred from fallen men...From this point forward in the Tribulation...Satan will literally wage a war against the saints of God! Overcoming them in his wrath and power...And causing ALL of earth to now bow to him alone... Or die!
We must stop at this point in the Story…But do you see how VERY SOON…ALL THAT SEEMS SO IMPORTANT WILL BE USELESS AND FORGOTTEN?!
AND HOW, VERY SOON... AS WE SAW TODAY…GOD WILL TAKE THIS FALLEN WORLD BACK AS HIS OWN...AND WHAT YOU DO WITH HIM… WILL BE THE ONLY THING THAT HAS MATTERED?!! WHAT ARE YOU LIVING FOR RIGHT THIS MINUTE? WHAT WILL IT AMOUNT TO WHEN HE PROCLAIMS...
"THE KINGDOMS OF THIS WORLD HAVE BECOME THE KINGDOMS OF OUR LORD AND OF HIS CHRIST, AND HE SHALL REIGN FOREVER AND EVER?!!
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