REVELATION CHAPTER ELEVEN
CHAPTER ELEVEN PREFACE
Well here we are - about halfway through the Book of Revelation. We will find that Chapter 11 is one of the most important chapters in the Book of Revelation. We will also find that of all the chapters in the Bible, Revelation 11 is one of the best chapters for opening our understanding the scriptures.
Chapter 11 is the key to the Book of Revelation.
The Book of Revelation is the key to the Old Testament.
The Old Testament is the key to the New Testament.
One reason that many people get "messed up" in the Book of Acts, the Book of Matthew, and the Book of Hebrews is because they have refused to believe the Book of Revelation, which opens the Old Testament passages connected with these books. The key to understanding Revelation 11 is believing what we read.
If we believe the Book of Revelation, as it is written, when we get to Revelation 11:1-3, we will have to believe in the rebuilding of the Jewish temple at Jerusalem. The exact time of this temple's existence is found in Revelation 11:2,3; it is forty-two months of thirty days each.
We are told in Revelation 11:15 that there will be time when the "kingdoms of this world," not the Kingdom of God, are going to belong to Jesus Christ - not to any religious system (as some would claim!) In other words, if we believe Revelation 11 as we find it, where we find it, to mean what it says, as it says it, where it says it, we will have to open our minds to accept some doctrines that are unfamiliar among Protestants, Catholics and Jews alike.
We will find something very peculiar in chapter 11.
We find a Rapture in 11:12 - a "catching up" of somebody who was killed. (This takes place long before the White Throne Judgment.)
Then, in 11:8 we are told that Jerusalem is called "Sodom" and "Egypt" in this dispensation, and yet, is going to be restored. This statement gives the key to the Church Age, in which Israel and the Jew are in temporary rejection, and it tells us that they are going to be restored later and come back into political power under the Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah. This, in turn, gives the Pre-Millennial system of interpretation.
Also in Revelation 11:7 we are introduced to a man who is called the "beast." It is not the "spirit of Antichrist" or the "lawless spirit." It is a person called "the beast." This man is one of the main themes of the Bible, outside of the person and work of Jesus Christ. Outside of the Lord Jesus Christ, the "greatest" person in the Bible is "the beast" (Revelation 11), the Antichrist (1 John 2), "the wilful king" and "king of the north" (Daniel 11), "the man of sin" and "the son of perdition" (2 Thessalonians 2).
Revelation 11:1 - And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.
This "reed like unto a rod" is a measuring stick. Notice, too, that this "temple of God, and the altar of them that worship therein," to be measured, is not the heavenly temple referred to in Revelation 8:3-5. The temple that is mentioned in Revelation 8:3-5 is found mentioned again in Revelation 11:19; the temple that is measured in Revelation 11:1,2 is on the earth. It is important that we make this distinction.
Revelation 11:2 - But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.
If we believe what we read, as we read it, where we find it, as it is, there will be a literal city on this earth which literal Gentiles will "tread down" a literal 42 months. Then this temple and this altar is not in heaven; this is an earthly temple and an earthly altar on this earth, and Gentiles tread it down for forty-two months.
Therefore, if we believe what we read, we must believe that temple worship will be restored in the future. No matter how eccentric this may sound, notice that in Matthew 24 the Lord Jesus Christ speaks of this time.
Matthew 24:15 - "When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)." (See also 2 Thessalonians 2:1 - 5.)
We will often be lead by certain scholars who want to make Matthew 24 refer to the "destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD." The reason for this is their desire to put the prophetic fulfillment in the past so it will have no prophetic fulfillment in the future.
The issue of the Second Coming of Christ came up in Christianity between 1800 and 1910. (The issue of the Trinity came up in the first century of church history, and the issues of the Deity of Christ and the natures of Christ came up in the next two centuries of church history, and the issue of the sacraments came up in the next three centuries). The issue since 1910 is not the "Virgin Birth." It is not the "Deity of Christ." It is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, as it draws nigh. This is the last controversial Bible doctrine to be defined among the members of the Body of Christ. The issue in this day and age is the Pre-Millennial coming of Jesus Christ. Anyone who is a Pre-Millennialist can place the scriptures where they belong properly, and others who aren't Pre-Millennial doesn't know what to do with the Old Testament, the prophets, or the future, because the prophets tell of the future.
In this passage, Revelation 11:1,2 the Holy Spirit speaks about a literal temple on this earth which the Gentiles are going to trod under foot forty-two months; and it is not 70 AD. In 70 AD Jerusalem was not "trod under foot" forty-two months. Herod's Temple, which was destroyed in 70 AD, had four courts, but this one here has one court. The people who believe that Matthew 24 and Revelation 11 apply to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD are people who desire to reject revelation of future events. There is only one court in the temple in Revelation 11:2, and Herod's Temple had four courts. That is a matter of history that can be checked from Josephus or any other historian of the time.
"And the holy city." It is called the "holy city" in verse 2, and "Sodom and Egypt" in verse 8. Notice the difference.
In verse 8, Jerusalem is spiritually "Sodom" and "Egypt" in God's sight because of its rejection of the Lord Jesus Christ; nevertheless, as far as the promises go (and the restoration of Israel at the end of the Tribulation), it is the "holy city" (Revelation 11:2). Now, think about that! Here is a city called the "holy city" which people say was destroyed in 70 AD. They say God is all through with Jerusalem. They say the "church" is the true Israel. They say that the promises went to the Gentiles, and are to be spiritualized. They say that since Jerusalem is spiritually "Sodom and Egypt, God is all through with it. Then, how do we account for the fact that it is called the "holy city" in Revelation 11:2? The context of verse 2 is when the Gentiles have finished treading it down for three and a half years. It wasn't called the 'holy city" when Titus got through with it in 70 AD! These people that believe Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 17 refer to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD are "historists." They believe that every passage of scripture is only historical, and has no future application. Every verse has three applications as we have seen over and over!
"They tread under foot forty and two months." How many days in forty-two months? A literal 1260 days, that's how many!
Revelation 11:3 - And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.
In the Bible forty-two months is one thousand two hundred and sixty days. Therefore, a Bible month has thirty days; then the last half of the Tribulation is three and a half years long.
"And I will give power unto my two witnesses." (The One speaking is the Angel of Revelation 10:1,9,11.)
Revelation 11:4 - These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.
This opens up another whole line of thought, a line of thought about which there is a great deal of disagreement among fundamentalists who are always going to "the Greek" to prove their point.
Notice - the two witnesses are called "the two olive trees and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth." The Mormons believe that the first witness is the Bible and the second witness is Joe Smith's "Book of Mormon." The thing that is wrong with this private interpretation is that it completely ignores Revelation 11:4,5,6, and 7. (Anyone who will take a verse out of the scriptures and make it teach what he thinks is right, because what he thinks is right is more important to him than what the scripture says, is nothing but a spiritual fool.) In this passage we are told nothing about some Joe Smith who found some golden plates- which some demon woke him up in the middle of the night to go out and dig up - that had part of the King James Bible written on them! (Malachi 3 that is repeated in 3 Nephi 24 of the "Book of Mormon" is the King James text!) Whoever wrote the "Book of Mormon" (far from writing it at the time of the American Indians 2000 BC - 1000 AD), waited until 1611 to hack off those golden plates! Bereans check it out!
Revelation 11:4-7 yields the proper interpretation.
We don't have to mess around with it like poor Mary Baker Patterson Eddy. (She said that she wasn't going to die and requested in her will that a telephone be placed in her grave so she could phone up to prove she wasn't dead! If the poor soul weren't dead, she wouldn't need a telephone to start with down in the hole; she could have just phoned up from the house!) Mrs. Eddy taught that one witness was the Bible and the other witness was the "Key to the Scriptures!"
Roman Catholics teach that the Bible is the first witness and their Apocrypha being the second witness! The Jews think that the Old Testament is the first witness and the Talmud is the second witness. The unconverted Mohammedan thinks the first witness is Abraham, Isaac, Moses, and the Law, and the second witness is Mohammed. All of these have one thing in common - they have no use for the passage as it found!
Zechariah 4:11-14 - "Then answered I, and said unto him, What are these two olive trees upon the right side of the candlestick and upon the left side thereof?. And I answered again, and said unto him, What be these two olive branches which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves? And he answered me and said, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. Then said he, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth."
The two witnesses are not books! They are "two anointed ones" - present tense, before Joe Smith was born, present tense, before Mohammed ever kicked the desert sand out of his boots. The two olive trees are "the two anointed ones (present tense), that stand by the Lord of the whole earth," present in Zechariah 4 (written 530-487 BC). Therefore, there isn't any chance whatsoever that either of them could be the "Key to the Scriptures" or the "Book of Mormon." So, the first thing we learn about Mormon elders and Christian Science practitioners is that they have no regard for the scripture at all. (As individuals we may love them and pray for them; as individuals we may witness to them and try to win them to Jesus Christ. But as church organizations, we can disregard whatever they teach about the two witnesses in Revelation 11. We can disregard it without any compunction whatsoever, knowing it is just another outrageous, interpretation, unless of course, they admit that these "are the two anointed ones, that stand by [present tense] the Lord of the whole earth." 487 years before Jesus Christ was born!) The scripture told us what it meant, as it meant it, where it said it, the way it was written, with no reference to the Greek or the Hebrew! We did not need a lexicon. We did not need a teacher. We didn't have to go to school. All we had to do was to believe what we read, as we read it, where we found it.
Revelation 11:5 - And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.
We can burn the "Book of Mormon" and no fire will come out of it to burn us; we can burn the Apocrypha and no papal anathema will come near you. We might find the Papal Inquisition going around trying to burn Protestants because they don't care for the Apocrypha. But the passage (Revelation 11) is not about a Pope! No pope "stood by the Lord" in 487 BC!
Who are these two witnesses then?
Revelation 11:6 - These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.
The "two anointed ones" who stand by the Lord of the whole earth destroy their enemies with fire, and one of them has "power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the clays of their prophecy." (Look at verse 2 - forty-two months; look at verse 3 - three and a half years; compare scripture with scripture - James 5:17, three years and six months.)
James 5:17 - "Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months."
Then, there is no doubt about the first witness at all. The first witness is not the Bible, never was the Bible, and never will be the Bible. The first witness is an "anointed" prophet that "stands by the Lord of the whole earth," fire proceeds out of his mouth to destroy his enemies, and he "shuts heaven" so that it doesn't rain for "three and a half years." If there is any doubt about this interpretation, we fortunately have the word of God and the plain English to lean upon. We never have to run to anyone to get their corrupt, private interpretations.
1 Kings 17:1 - "And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the Lord God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word."
Elijah stood before the Lord of the whole earth. He was present on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17) on the right side of the candlestick! Guess who was on the left? Moses.
"And have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will."
Notice the colon in the middle of the verse 6 after the word "prophecy," and that the second clause applies to the other witness. The second witness has "power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will." There is no doubt about who this is; this is Moses.
Can we see how Revelation 11 opens things?
Exodus 33:20,21 - "And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. And the Lord said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock."
Then Elijah and Moses both stood before the Lord of the whole earth. In the Old Testament and the New Testament, both of them were "anointed."
Numbers 16:31,34,35 - "And it came to pass, as he had made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground clave asunder that was under them: And all Israel that were round about them fled at the cry of them: for they said, Lest the earth swallow us up also. And there came out a fire from the Lord, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense."
This is Moses speaking to the congregation of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. Notice, the fire does its work in the case of Moses. Now, let's see if fire had anything to do with the way Elijah destroyed his enemies.
2 Kings 1:10 - "And Elijah answered and said to the captain of fifty, If I be a man of God, then !et fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty, and there came down fire from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty."
Moses and Elijah were both anointed; Enoch wasn't.
Moses and Elijah stand by the Lord of the whole earth; Enoch doesn't.
Moses and Elijah both destroyed their enemies by fire,' Enoch didn't.
Moses and Elijah smote the earth with plagues and kept it from raining for three and a half years; Enoch didn't.
Moses and Elijah were on Mt. Sinai forty days and forty nights, Enoch wasn't.
Moses and Elijah were on there forty days and forty nights with nothing to eat or drink; Enoch wasn't.
Moses and Elijah both had ministers who took up their ministry (Joshua and Elisha), Enoch didn't.
Moses and Elijah both appear with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration,' Enoch didn't.
Moses and Elijah are the last two human beings mentioned in the Old Testament (Malachi 4:4,5), and they are mentioned in connection with Mt. Sinai (Horeb), and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now, let us go through the reasons why some people think that they could not be Moses and Elijah.
The first reason why they think it could not be Moses is that Moses was not "caught up without dying." (Most commentaries say that it is Enoch and Elijah because both Enoch and Elijah were caught up without dying. They say that since Moses died and was buried that it could not be him. But, this is an error. Lets see how this is an error.)
Deuteronomy 34:5,6 - "So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord. And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Beth-peor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day."
The Lord buried Moses, but they never could find where Moses was buried any more than they could find Enoch when they looked for him; Moses did not stay buried!
Jude 9 - "Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee."
Then, the "body of Moses" was a point of contention between Michael and the Devil. This phrase: "body of Moses" was used. There is no doubt that the "body of Moses" appears on the Mount of Transfiguration with Elijah. Here, the Lord Jesus Christ appears in glory (as Simon Peter said He did in 2 Peter 1) with Moses and Elijah. This shows that Moses did not stay dead; he did not stay buried; he came up from the dead. He came up ahead of time; hence, there was a contention about the use of his body between Michael and Satan.
Now, there is an objection that Elijah was already come in the form of John the Baptist, and therefore, that the second witness could not be Elijah. Now watch the verses very carefully, and believe what we read, as we read it, where we find it, without referring to any so-called "original Greek."
Matthew 17:9-11 - "And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead. And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things."
Notice the word "restore" (restoration), as we always find it in connection with the Second Coming of Christ (Acts 3:20,21). The statement of the Lord Jesus Christ is that Elijah is going to come.
Matthew 17:12,13 - "But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist."
Therefore, because of verses 12 and 13, the expositors seem in unanimous agreement that Christ is already come, that John the Baptist was Elijah. Therefore, all the Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled at the first coming, and they are to be spiritualized if they refer to the Second Coming. Their idea is that since Jesus Christ said that John the Baptist was Elijah (Matthew 17:12,13), that all the prophecies in the Old Testament which deal with the great and dreadful coming "day of the Lord," with the forerunner Elijah, were fulfilled at the first coming of Christ, with the forerunner John the Baptist. Therefore, ally passage that deals with the "day of the Lord" is to be applied to the first coming.
Notice the passage carefully. "Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. But (apparent contradiction) I say unto you...." What we find here is an apparent contradiction, and yet, there is no contradiction if we analyze it carefully. And we are going to analyze it carefully.
Luke 9:18-20- "And it came to pass, as he was alone praying, his disciples were with him: and he asked them, saying, Whom say the people that I am? They answering said, John the Baptist; but some say, Elias; and others say, that one of the old prophets is risen again. He said unto them, But whom say ye that I am? Peter answering said, The Christ of God."
Then there is confusion about three people - John the Baptist, Jesus Christ, and Elias. Although we were told by the Lord Jesus Christ that John the Baptist was Elias. Let's look at John's own testimony.
John 1:19-21 - "And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ. And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No."
Is that clear? (This is typical of the apparent contradictions that we may find in the word of God.) Jesus says that John the Baptist was Elias; John the Baptist says that he was not Elias! This is a perfect apparent contradiction. (This is what makes some people throw away the Bible and go back to reading Voltaire, Tom Paine, Rosseau, and the rest of them!) But, this is not a real contradiction. Watch it get ironed out as the Holy Spirit uses the plain old English to unravel the problem which apparently "Greek" scholars cannot unravel.
Luke 1:15-17 - "For he (John) shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink: and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."
The apparent contradiction is unravelled by the fact that John the Baptist comes in "the spirit and power of Elijah," and if the people had received Jesus Christ as their Messiah and accepted the gospel in Acts 2-7, Christ would have come back, and John the Baptist would have been Elijah!
The first coming of Christ could have been the Second. Every prophecy in the Old Testament could have been fulfilled literally, if Jesus Christ had returned in Acts 7. Jesus Christ, foreseeing that He might have returned in Acts 7 (had the Jews received His message), tells the Apostles when He is on the earth before the crucifixion and their commission, "But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come" (Matthew 10:23). The Son of man did not come, yet they did go over the cities of Israel and to the ends of the earth and He never came.
So, some of our "scholars" get stuck in the same rut they always get stuck in. They have to make the passage spiritual - i.e., Christ didn't really mean what He was saying, or that He was referring to something that nobody knows anything about, or that His first coming was His Second Coming, or that He just flat lied to the Apostles. Any system that makes one verse contradict another verse, or any system where we have to spiritualize a passage that is plainly literal, or any system that makes a liar out of Jesus Christ or a liar out of the prophets, is the wrong system.
Notice how the Holy Spirit reinforces the plain English (as we compare Malachi 4 with Luke 1) in teaching that John the Baptist is only a type of Elijah, who would have fulfilled the prophecy if Christ had returned in the Book of Acts. Since Christ delays His return (upon Israel's rejection), and calls out Paul to preach to the ends of the earth (and the Church Age is ushered in), then Elijah's return is postponed until a later date.
Malachi 4:4-6 - "Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. Behold, I will send we Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse."
Luke 1:17 - "And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."
The commissions are not the same. They are not the same because the plain English, in the plain passage, where we plainly read it is not the same wording. Therefore, since they are not the same words, and they are spelled differently, they are not the same. It is really simple if we believe it. We should have no problem in understanding. Our problem is in unbelief, as every man's problem is unbelief.
In Malachi 4:4-6 we are told that Horeb (Mt. Sinai), Israel, the Lord, Moses, and Elijah are the five proper names that will be the main subjects of interest at the Second Advent. Before the "great and dreadful day of the Lord comes," you've got to deal with Mt. Sinai, the Lord Jesus Christ, Israel, Elijah, and Moses. Elijah comes to turn Israel back to God lest Christ come at the Second Advent and "smite the earth with a curse." John the Baptist comes at the first coming of Christ to turn "the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord." John the Baptist comes "in the spirit and power of Elias," and therefore, to all practical purposes, is Elijah, and would have been Elijah, if Jesus Christ had returned in the Book of Acts.
Since Jesus Christ does not return in the Book of Acts, the Book of Acts becomes one of the most difficult books in the entire Bible to understand, and consequently we should beware of those teachers who are eager to get their main doctrinal material from the Book of Acts. The situation in Acts 2 is not a present day situation at all. In Acts 2, they are all Apostles - there are none now. They all have signs, wonders, and miracles - they don't now. (If they say they do, check them and we will find that they are a bunch of "liars" [Revelation 2]. I know this sounds awfully tough and unforgiving but that is what it says!)
In Acts 2, they are connecting water baptism with salvation, exactly as John the Baptist connected it before the crucifixion - it is no longer connected any more (1 Corinthians 1:17). They split their property and make it communal property - this is where Marx got his manifesto - Christians no longer do that. The Campbellites think they are obeying the word of God because they keep Acts 2:38, and yet they don't keep Acts 2:42-45 (in the same chapter)! Do we know why they don't? Because in Acts 2 Israel is waiting for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. In Acts 3 Peter is not even telling these people that their sins were blotted out at Calvary! He is telling them that their sins will be blotted out at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ (Acts 3: 19)!
The key to the Book of Revelation is Chapter 11. Once we know that Moses and Elijah are the two witnesses, we know a thousand other things. For example:
The Bible shows that not only Moses and Elijah were on Mt. Sinai, but that Jesus was on this mountain. (See Matthew 4, Luke 4.) (Some say that mountain is unidentified. Is it?) The Bible teaches that Jesus was up there 40 days and 40 nights with nothing to eat or drink. The Bible teaches that Moses was on Mt. Sinai 40 days and 40 nights with nothing to eat or drink. (See Exodus 24:13-18.) The Bible shows that when Elijah ran from Jezebel that he was 40 days and 40 nights going to Mt. Sinai with nothing to eat or drink! (See 1 Kings 19:8.) The Bible tells us that Moses died east of Jordan on Mt. Pisgah. (See Deuteronomy 34:1-6.) The Bible shows us that when Moses died he commissioned Joshua to carry out his work. (See Deuteronomy 34:9.) It also shows that when Elijah was caught up to heaven he commissioned Elisha to carry out his work. (See 2 Kings 2:9-14.) The Bible teaches that when Jesus died and went back to heaven He commissioned Paul to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles in Romans 15:16-19. The Bible teaches us that Moses' minister, Joshua, had signs and miracles accompanying his ministry to Israel; that Elijah's minister, Elisha, had the same signs and wonders that Elijah had; that Jesus Christ's minister to the Gentiles, Paul, had the signs, wonders, and miracles that Jesus Christ had! If there is any doubt about this, look at Romans 15:16,18,19.
If Moses preached to Pharaoh in the Old Testament, then Pharaoh is a type of the Antichrist in Revelation 11, yet to come. If Elijah preached to the wicked prince of Israel, Ahab, then Ahab is a type of the Antichrist yet to come. Since Ahab's wife was Jezebel, we will find Jezebel referred to in Revelation 2 in connection with Baal worship, yet to come.
For additional thought, where a listing of all the scriptures would be too much to handle for now (but I would advise that Bereans would check it out,) let us try to lay this thing out where we can get a hold of it, even if it is a bit "unorthodox!"
When the Lord Jesus Christ came to this earth the first time to die for sinners, it was prophesied in the Old Testament. It was also prophesied that He had to be buried and rise from the dead the third day. Therefore, Jesus Christ had to come and die on the cross, be buried, and come up again before all Old Testament prophecies could be fulfilled. When Christ comes up from the dead and goes back to heaven in Acts 1, what is there left in the Old Testament that yet needs to be fulfilled? The answer is - the prophecies which deal with the Second Coming of Christ.
There are several hundred prophecies in the Old Testament that deal with His Second Coming. If we were to make His first coming the Second Coming (like these A-Millennialists and Post-Millennialists do), we would have to spiritualize these several hundred literal promises. The Lord Jesus Christ had to come the first time, and He will have to come the second time! The only missing information in the Old Testament is the time element between the first and Second Coming! This time element is so undisclosed that the prophets of God couldn't even find the time gap between the "sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow" (1 Peter 1:9-12).
This is the problem that many scholars have, they are unable to get the time element between the first and Second Coming. That is, they are just as much in the dark as a Hebrew, Old Testament saint was in 1000 BC.
Since there was no time element given between the first and Second Coming, the Jew was looking for the Second Coming at the first coming. The Jew was looking for a literal, physical, visible Kingdom on earth when Christ came the first time. They crucified Him, then He was buried and arose from the dead. Until Acts 7, the literal, visible, physical Kingdom is offered to Israel. (That's the teaching in Acts 2-7. In Acts 1-7 we won't find anybody preaching the "gospel of the grace of God" that Paul preaches in Galatians 1 and 2, and Ephesians 2 and 3. In Acts 1-7 the Jew is still waiting for the fulfillment of a literal, physical, visible Kingdom.) The only trouble is that the Jew does not want Jesus Christ as his Messiah for this Kingdom. So, he not only crucifies and rejects Him, but after the resurrection, he turns down the offer of the Kingdom. On the cross, Jesus said, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." The Lord did forgive them for they knew not what they did. In Acts 2-7 they had a second chance to receive Jesus Christ as their Messiah, which they turned down.
Since the time element between the first and Second Coming is not given, the Jew thought the comings were identical. When he thought they were identical, he rejected the Messiah that God gave him. Therefore, he puts off indefinitely his opportunity to have a visible, literal, physical, Davidic, Messianic Kingdom in Palestine.
Now, the average Bible student makes the same error except he makes it backwards. In this age he looks back to the first coming, and he says that since there is no time element given between the first and Second Coming, when Christ came the first time, that was the fulfillment of the literal, physical, visible promises to Israel. Therefore, since the Jews did not get literal, physical, visible promises, these promises are to be spiritualized and applied to the Christian! When the Gentile turns up his nose at an Old Testament Jew for making a mistake in regard to the Kingdom, he should remember that he may have already made the same mistake!
The Jews thought that because there was no time element given between the two, the first coming was the Second Coming; but they did not want this Messiah as a literal, physical, visible leader. So they killed Him. He arose from the dead, they had a second chance to receive the Kingdom, and they turned it down. From that point on, a new era comes in, in which a spiritual kingdom of God is preached, a man has to be "born again," and receive "spiritual blessings in heavenly places" until the Second Coming of Christ. The time element between the first and Second Coming is unknown.
This means that Jesus Christ could have come back to this earth anytime up to Acts 7, and every promise in the Old Testament would have been fulfilled. When Stephen is stoned in Acts 7, he looks up to heaven and sees the "Son of man standing" up, ready to come back, and from there on in the Bible, He is always spoken of as being seated. He did not return. The time element is an unknown element. It means that the physical, literal, visible promises given to Israel in the Old Testament in regards to the Second Coming of Christ, are going to take place later. It does not mean that they are to be spiritualized and put into this age. The unknown time element is the day and age in which we are living - the Church Age; this is the age of the "calling out" of the one spiritual body of "born-again believers" in Jesus Christ. Not one of the Old Testament prophets ever saw this age. It is an unknown period of time, and the end of it is not clearly given in scripture.
If Moses and Elijah are going to come back before the Second Coming of Christ (and they are), then they have yet to come in the future. If Christ had returned in Acts 7, then Elijah would have fulfilled the promises in the Old Testament by appearing in "spirit and power" in John the Baptist. What about Moses? There is no clear promise in the Old Testament that Moses had to come back; the only clear promise is that Elijah will come (Malachi 4:3-6)! We are not told that Moses will come back until Revelation 11, which is written in 90 AD, long after Acts 7. All that has to happen in Acts 7 is for Christ to come back and destroy the Antichrist.
The Bible teaches, therefore, that before the Second Coming of Christ, Moses and Elijah will come again, but we don't learn that until Revelation 11. If we read just the Old Testament (which is all the Apostles had - Genesis to Malachi), we have the second coming of Elijah already fulfilled by John the Baptist; we have the first coming of Christ already fulfilled in His death, burial, and resurrection. He could return and destroy Rome (which will again be in power at the Second Coming). He could have done it in Acts 7. This means that Acts 1-7 is a transition period, in which God has an opportunity to fulfill His promises to Israel. If Israel had received Christ as its Messiah officially, and Israel's elders, priests, and scribes had trusted Him as their Messiah, Jesus Christ would have come back to this earth and set up a Millennial Reign at Jerusalem in Acts 8. What!?
Look at that Hamitc Gentile [Acts 8] coming from the temple [reading Isaiah the prophet], as the Gentiles will have to come to Jerusalem in the Millennium [Isaiah 11:10; 42:1]! It's no secret that when Christ comes back the second time, the Gentiles will have to come to Jerusalem to worship Him [Isaiah 60:3,5,16]. It's no secret that the Gentiles are going to get in on the plan of salvation in the Millennium [Jeremiah 16:19]. This is prophesied in the Old Testament over and over again Isaiah 42:1; 49:6. So, if Christ had returned, not one promise would have been left unfulfilled!
What about the church? We'll find (in Ephesians 3) that the church was a mystery "hid in God," not revealed, and the whole Old Testament could have been fulfilled coming through Acts 7, without contradicting one verse from Genesis to Malachi. The church was not a revealed truth in the Old Testament; it was a truth revealed to the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 3. Peter, James, and John did not know about it in Acts 2!
But if this is the truth there goes the whole Roman Catholic and Campbellite plans of salvation clean out the window. We can't be "baptized in the name of Jesus for the remission of sins," and if we are, you'll go to hell just as straight as a bullet. We can't get the Holy Ghost by "being baptized in the name of Jesus for the remission of sins," and if we do you'll probably be demon possessed! We can't go back to Acts 2 because we have to go forward to Ephesians 3.
The thing is worked out and we can't get around it. God worked it out so that the first coming could have been the Second Coming, and since it was not, He put the Second Coming into the future! The Jew made the mistake of thinking that both of them were together, and made the additional mistake of rejecting Christ as his Messiah. (If the Jew had accepted Christ, both comings would have been together!) The Gentile "popes" thought that since both comings were together in the eyes of the Jew, that they were both together in reality and are now past. They are both dead wrong. The Second Coming of Jesus Christ to a literal, visible, physical, Davidic, Messianic, earthly Kingdom is future, and will be preceded by the second coming of Moses and Elijah.
Whenever we find ourselves believing a system that causes any Bible verse to contradict another one, or apparently contradict it, we always should alter our system to fit the scripture. I don't know about you but I don't know one iota (is that Greek?) about the Greek language! Not once have I ever gone to the Greek or the Hebrew to force the verse to meet the demands of my own belief system.
What happens is that the word of God shapes and molds the system, until the system is so different from the systems that men have forced the scriptures into, that people say, "Well, that's just his interpretation." "He thinks that he's right and everybody else is wrong." But that is just an ignorant response. And that is how we can always spot ignorance. When we say "ignorant," we are not referring to anybody's lack of education. We use it in the sense that Paul does- "ignorantly in unbelief." (See 1 Timothy 1:13.) We don't have to say, "He thinks he's right and everybody else is wrong," because the scriptures will interpret themselves.
When anyone says, "That's just your interpretation," do we know what he means? Whenever some people hear something new or different, instead of going to the word of God, checking the facts, and checking to find out whether or not it is so (as the "Bereans" did [Acts 17:11]), they dismiss it by saying, "That's just your interpretation," or "He thinks he's right and everybody else is wrong." They continue on in willful, stubborn ignorance in relation to the word of God, and keep their own conceit that their "church" is right.
For example, if we should ever deal with a Catholic, we'll most likely find him saying again and again - "That's just your interpretation." We haven't "interpreted" a thing until we've tried to explain what it teaches. If we just read the thing, that isn't "interpretation." That's just "reading." But, it is characteristic of many Bible-ignorant people, that when they are faced with something that is new, or they don't understand, they always defend their ignorance by attacking the other person and saying, "That's just your interpretation."
We have now identified the two witnesses in Revelation 11:6. There should be no doubt about them at all. Revelation 11 opens both Testaments and the transitional books between the periods. It shows us that Matthew is a transition between the Old Testament and the New Testament; it shows us that Acts is a transition between Israel and the Church. It shows us that the Book of Hebrews is probably a transition between the Church Age and the Tribulation. But, without any controversy, the two witnesses of Revelation 11:2-6 are Moses and Elijah. They are not Moses and Enoch; they are not John the Baptist and Moses; they are not the "Book of Mormon" and the Old Testament; they are not the Old Testament and the Koran; they are not the Scriptures and the "Key to the Scriptures." They are not the Old Testament and the Apocrypha. They are what they are, where we find them, as it was written.
The scriptures interpret themselves so that any man who believes them, and will sincerely, earnestly search them, will get the Holy Spirit's absolute truth from them; and not the private interpretations of religious priesthood or religious system.
Revelation 11:7,8 - And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.
In Revelation 11:7 there appears for the first time in the Book of Revelation that notable character called "the beast." (As we have noted in the preface, the key to the Book of Revelation is chapter 11, and the Book of Revelation is the key to the Bible.) Revelation 11 opens all 22 chapters of the Book of Revelation; Revelation opens the Old Testament and enables a man to interpret Matthew, Acts, and Hebrews correctly. We cannot get Matthew, Acts, and Hebrews correct doctrinally, until we have an understanding of the Old Testament; we cannot get the Old Testament open to us without the Book of Revelation; and we cannot open the Book of Revelation without chapter 11.
When we get to verse 7, there appears this character called "the beast." Instead of waiting until we get to Revelation 13 to discuss this beast's "reign" in detail, let us look at the scriptures right now which identify this "beast" once and for all, as a man.
"And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shah make war against them."
Notice very carefully that this beast is not the "revived Roman Empire." The revived Roman Empire does not come up "out of the bottomless pit," and the bottomless pit is not in Europe. Therefore, to make the beast of Revelation 13 the "revived Roman Empire," is an error. We can make the beast the revived Roman Empire when we talk about his domain, and the ten kings reigning with him, but when we talk about the beast himself, the beast is a man in the bottomless pit.
Revelation 13: 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."
Notice not the "number of man," but the number of "a" man. See how people change it? A little change like that will be the difference between false and correct doctrine. The truth is exactly as we find it in the Bible. The beast is a man (singular). We were told this in the Old Testament. We were told that a beast always represents a man before it represents a kingdom.
Notice in Daniel 7, the four beasts (verse 3) are said to be four "kings" (verse 17) before they are identified as "kingdoms" (verse 23).
Daniel 7:17- "These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth."
Nothing could be plainer. The only way we can make it different is to make it different; the only way we can change it is not believe what we read. The beast is a man; he is a king,' he comes out of the bottomless pit.
Revelation 9:11 - "And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon."
Observe that the inhabitants of the "bottomless pit" have a king, who has a name. (We discussed this in Revelation 9. This king was identified as the angel of death, or this "Destroyer" with death personified in Revelation 6:8.)
This beast is a king; he is "the angel of the bottomless pit." He has a Hebrew name and a Greek name; both his names mean "Destroyer." He is now in the bottomless pit; he is the king of the bottomless pit. In the Tribulation, he "ascends" up out of the bottomless pit.
Revelation 17:8 - "The beast that thou sawest was (He was a man living when John wrote Revelation.), and is not (He was not living at the time John wrote; then he was living before John wrote.); and shall (future) ascend out of the bottomless pit (He is in the bottomless pit now.), and shall go into perdition."
Notice how carefully the Holy Scripture has identified this man - without any reference to any Greek manuscript! (We can get the meaning of the text without a college education!)
This man was on the earth before John wrote; he is in the bottomless pit now; he will ascend out of the bottomless pit in the Tribulation. Now, thatís pretty clear, right?
2 Thessalonians 2:3- "Let no man deceive we by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition."
Here we learn that when the Antichrist comes in the Tribulation and takes over, he comes to the literal temple at Jerusalem (Revelation 11:1-3), goes into the holy place and sits down in his original position as "the anointed cherub that covereth" (Ezekiel 28, Isaiah 11). When Satan incarnate, Lucifer, "the angel of light," the fifth Cherub, comes down to this earth in the Tribulation, to sit in a Tribulation temple, look what he is called - "the son of perdition" (Revelation 17:8). The root word for "perdition" in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, is the identical root word for "Apollyon" [àπώλεια] in Revelation 9:11! It means, loss, destruction. OOPS! I used Greek here didn't I?!
2 Thessalonians 2:4,9 - "Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders."
When this "christ" comes in, he will have the Apostolic signs and wonders given to Israel; he will be the false Messiah, professing to be "King of the Jews." He is Lucifer, the fifth Cherub, the "angel of light," the dragon, the beast, the Devil incarnate as a man, a man whose number is 666, who is the "angel" or king over the bottomless pit, who is the "son of perdition," and the son of perdition is identified in John 17:12.
John 17: 12 - "While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled."
This is exactly as we find it in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, Revelation 17:8; 9:11. The reference in John 17:12 is to Judas Iscariot.
Zechariah 11: 12,13 - "And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. And the Lord said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the Lord."
Notice that immediately following the betrayal of Christ by Judas, the next man mentioned is the Antichrist. Here we have a reference to Judas Iscariot selling Jesus Christ for thirty pieces of silver, casting them on the floor of the house of the treasury, and the Pharisees taking them to buy the potter's field to bury strangers in. But what nobody seems to notice is the next three verses!
Zechariah 11:15-17 - "And the Lord said unto me, Take unto thee yet the instruments of a foolish shepherd. For, lo, I will raise up a shepherd in the land (Palestine; the man will profess to be a Jewish Messiah.), which shall not visit those that be cut off, neither shall seek the young one, nor heal that that is broken, nor feed that that standeth still: but he shall eat the flesh of the fat, and tear their claws in pieces. Woe to the idol shepherd that leaveth the flock! the sword shall be upon his arm, and upon his right eye: his arm shall be clean dried up, and his right eye shall be utterly darkened."
Notice that this shepherd is spelled i-d-o-l and not i-d-l-e. (This is not "idle" in the sense of being lazy.) As the Baal worshippers, Ahab, Jezebel, and the Phoenician Baalites, this shepherd worships idols. He uses images "as an aid to worship," and sets himself up in the temple as deservative of worship. In Zechariah 11:15-17 then, we have a reference to the Antichrist, and it follows a reference to Judas Iscariot. Judas Iscariot is called the "son of perdition" in the New Testament.
John 6:70,71 - "Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen we twelve, and one of we is a devil? He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve."
Here we find that Judas, far from being a human being, was "a devil," as those who inhabit the bottomless pit. Although he had a human father (as Cain), he was "of that wicked one," as Cain.
Again, notice the statement in John 6:70 is not:
"I have chosen we twelve and one of we is the devil."
"I have chosen we twelve and the devil is in one of you."
"I have chosen we twelve and the devil is incarnate in one of you."
"I have chosen we twelve and the devil is entering into one of you.
"The statement is, "Have not I chosen you twelve, AND ONE OF YOU IS A DEVIL?" The statement clearly says that Judas was not a human being, but he walked, talked, ate, and died like a man. There is no space to go back to Genesis 6 and tell we about the fallen angels who left their first estate and had to die like men. There is no space here to take we to Hebrews 13 where some have "entertained angels unawares." There is not room to go to the Old Testament and show that every angel in the Old Testament is a male, and is furthermore, mistaken to be a man when he is an angel. All we can do is to show John 6:70 and show that Judas Iscariot was a devil. By the way, when he died he didn't go to hell. He went "to his own place" and he was the king over it!
Acts 1:24,25 - "And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place."
This is the prayer of the disciples for the Lord to show them which replacement to make for Judas. We are told in John 6:70 that he was "a devil." Therefore, he went to a devil's place, and it was "his own place." (The theology we now have at this point is obtained by believing what we read, as we find it, where we find it, which is the only sure, infallible method of ex-cathedra interpretation.)
Let's sum up the evidence.
These things revealed by the Holy Spirit in Revelation 11:1-7, to my knowledge, are hidden to every Greek and Hebrew scholar who ever lived, and there isn't one in the world who has ever been able to unravel what these scriptures have just unraveled. The correct method of teaching is not to go to the Hebrew or the Greek to bring out the "unsearchable riches" and all the "nuggets" which eventually turn out to be "clinkers." The God-honored method is to take the student to "scripture with scripture" until he has the Holy Spirit's interpretation of the passage.
Revelation 11:8,9 - And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.
Notice the peculiar expression "dead bodies." I say peculiar because we were told they were killed (verse 7), and there is no reason to use the word "dead" with "bodies." But the Holy Spirit uses "dead bodies" as a deliberate reference to the fact that the body has been separated from the head. (If we remember the discussion in Revelation 6 about the human sacrifices made at the altar in the temple, we found out that the people in the Tribulation who are martyred for Christ's sake, have their heads cut off [Revelation 20:3-5].)
So, these two witnesses are decapitated. This means that Elijah, although he did not die, will die. He was caught up alive in 2 Kings 2; but he will die in Revelation 11. It means that Moses dies twice! Moses died and was buried on Mt. Pisgah in the plains of Jericho. He was taken up (Jude 9), and he'll come back to this earth and die again in the Tribulation.
This revelation rattles the foundation of a verse in Hebrews 9.
Hebrews 9:27 - "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment."
The reason why many people think that Enoch and Elijah are the two witnesses is because they cling to this verse as though it were a doctrinal statement. They think that because Enoch and Elijah never died that they will have to come back and die in the Tribulation to fulfill Hebrews 9:27. The statement in Hebrews 9:27 is not a doctrinal statement on the absolute certainty of one death and one judgment. Any man who knows his Bible knows better than this; there are five judgments, and there is more than one death! The Bible speaks of the "second death" in Revelation 20.
There are dozens of people in the Bible that died twice. Lazarus was raised up from the dead in John 11, but he died later of old age. The widow of Nain had a son who was resurrected and died later. The Shunamite had a son who came up and died later (2 Kings 4). Jairus had a daughter, twelve years old, who died, was resurrected (Luke 8), and died later. Eutychus fell out of the window dead, Paul took him up and got life back to him, and he died later (Acts 20). Dorcas died of old age in the Book of Acts. Peter raised her from the dead, and she died later (Acts 9).
So, it is not true that men always die only once. Many people in the Bible die twice. Therefore, Hebrews 9:27 is not a doctrinal statement: if we will look at the passage, we will find that it is a comparison.
Hebrews 9:27,28 "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation."
The passage is a comparison. The comparison is the fact that one death is a general truth. It does not say, "And as it is appointed unto every single man one time to die." The statement says, "And as it is appointed unto men (mankind) once to die, but after this the judgment." Yet, men will cling to this verse, and thereby make the two witnesses Enoch and Elijah, and cross up the other verses listed in this study. Aren't people strange? They'll get one little truth, like eternal security, or water baptism, or the baptism of the Holy Ghost, or predestination, and then they'll just ride that hobby horse to death until they stamp their stinking dirty feet all over God's Word, and just tear it to bits. Yet, they claim to be "scriptural." Aren't people peculiar? That's one of the greatest sins committed by modern, conservative, fundamental, orthodox scholars. They try to make every verse in the Bible line up with a certain truth that's true in this age. What is true in this age is not always true in another age. Noah was not saved by receiving a risen Saviour; he was saved by building an ark, and he was saved by water without getting in it! In Acts 2, the people who receive the Holy Ghost do not receive the Holy Ghost unless they are baptized in water. In Acts 10, Cornelius received the Holy Ghost before he was baptized in water. In Acts 2, a baptism is commanded in the name of Jesus, and yet not one single one of the twelve Apostles was ever baptized in the name of Jesus! (There's a nut for a Campbellite to break his teeth on. There isn't one of them original Apostles that was baptized in the name of Jesus for the remission of sins - not a one of them! Every one of them was baptized with the baptism of John the Baptist!) When some disciples were rebaptized in Acts 19, they talked in tongues; a Campbellite doesn't talk in tongues. Aren't people peculiar? It isn't really "peculiarity." Somebody will say, "Well, it is appointed to men once to die; therefore, Enoch and Elijah both have to go; therefore, the witnesses are Enoch and Elijah." Know what they just did? They tore out 50 verses of scripture. They slammed the door of revelation shut and threw away a key that would have opened another 100 verses.
If that weren't enough, they have damaged the Body of Christ. Enoch is the only man who never died, or never will die, and there has to be one man who never died, or never will die, or there is no type of the Christian who is living when Christ comes! Enoch is a picture of the Christian who is living when Christ comes, and he never will die. If Enoch died as one of the witnesses in the Tribulation, it would mean that after the Christians are caught up, they would have to come back to this earth and die!
Do we see how God has the thing worked out? If we want the correct doctrinal interpretation, there is only one infallible interpretation - the Holy Spirit, giving the English with the English to an Englishman, the Greek with the Greek to a Greek, the German with the German to a German, and the Spanish with the Spanish to a Spaniard.
Having shown that many men in the Bible die twice, and that Moses will die twice, these examples must be pictures of somebody else that is going to die twice. Enoch is a picture of the Christian who is living when Christ comes; Moses pictures a man who dies and is caught up at the Rapture; Elijah pictures the Christian who is living and caught up at the Rapture. The second death of Moses, the second death of Lazarus, the second death of Eutychus, the second death of Dorcas, and the second death of Jonah must picture somebody who is going to die twice literally. And, sure enough, they do! (We will see this in Revelation 21 and 22.) The only time the Holy Spirit ever promised anybody a body like Jesus Christ, or promised to make anybody exactly like Jesus Christ (a glorified, sinless, perfect body that would never die), is in the Pauline Epistles written to the church, or in the epistles written in 90 AD by John to the church, which were written with the whole Pauline revelation lying on the table before him.
There is not one promise to anybody in the Old Testament, Tribulation, or Millennium that they will ever have a perfect, sinless body like Jesus Christ. There is no indication anywhere in scripture, anytime, under any condition that they ever will get perfect bodies until after the White Throne Judgment. The bodies they get are not bodies like Jesus Christ; they are bodies like Adam and Eve - male and female.
Revelation 11:10,11 - And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth. And after three days and an half the spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.
Notice the Holy Spirit is referred to as the "spirit of life" in verse 11. He is referred to as the "seven Spirits of God" in Revelation 4:5. He is referred to as just the "Spirit" in Revelation 3:13. This change in nomenclature from the "Holy Ghost" or the "Holy Spirit" to just the "Spirit," or the "Spirit of God" (as we find Him in the Old Testament), is indicative of the fact that the period is no longer the Church Age but another dispensation. Isn't it amazing how exact the Word of God is even in its tenses and nomenclature?!
A man that doesn't properly divide the word of God into the divisions which the Holy Spirit intended it to be divided has to rely on some other system to help him interpret the Bible - beside the system the Holy Spirit gave him. (See 2 Timothy 2:15) This is what drives men to Rome for interpretation. A man who does not properly divide the word of God into dispensations would not make a distinction between the Old Testament and the New Testament. If we make a distinction between the Two Testaments, we have already rightly divided half of it; but of course, we have a long way to go. I'm not talking about "lack of education." we don't need any education, we need to read and believe!
Anybody who knows the Bible at all knows that the Old Testament refers to the Mosaic Law, which is not given until Exodus 20. Therefore from Genesis 1 to Exodus 20 is another dispensation. That's three of them. The words "new testament" do not occur in your Bible until Matthew 26, and the New Testament is not instituted until the Last Supper. Therefore, from Matthew 1 to Matthew 26, we are still under the Mosaic Law. From Matthew 26 to Acts 2 the Holy Spirit has not come to indwell men; they are not saved by grace through faith; they are not circumcised spiritually; they are not "born again" when they receive Christ: they can't receive Christ because the Holy Spirit hasn't yet come to represent His body. Therefore, Matthew 26 to Acts 2 is another dispensation. We are now studying the Tribulation, which is another one: we are getting ready to study the Millennium, which is another one!
Notice Revelation 11:8, and compare it with Jeremiah 23:14 and Ezekiel 16:46. These are references to show that this city is Jerusalem in this dispensation. At His Second Coming, it will once again be the "holy city" (Revelation 11:2).
Also notice in Revelation 11:9 the continual occurrence of "three and a half" (Revelation 11:2,3,9,11). This is a tremendous number in the scripture. For example: in Daniel 9 we are told in the seven years of Daniel's Seventieth Week that the Antichrist will break the covenant in the middle of the week - three and a half. The time to look out for is high noon Wednesday! Really?
This is very instructive in the death of Jesus Christ. It means that He was probably not crucified on Friday or Thursday. (Yes, I know I have mentioned this before and said that I thought that Jesus had been crucified on Thursday, but looking at it again, I wonder?)
Matthew 12:40 "For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth."
The Lord Jesus Christ had to be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights. A Jewish day begins in the evening and is followed by the morning. In Genesis 1 we read, "And the evening and the morning were the first day." "And the evening and the morning were the second day." "And the evening and the morning were the third day." (If we mistook the order, He is very careful to repeat, "And the evening and the morning were the fourth day." "And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.") If we still didn't get it - He said the sixth time, "And the evening and the morning were the sixth day." Therefore, we know that a Jewish day begins in the evening and ends in the morning. This means that a Jewish day begins at 6 o'clock in the evening, and ends at six o'clock the following evening - the morning being the second part of the day. The first twelve hours are night -6 P.M. to 6 A.M.; the next twelve hours are day - 6 A.M. to 6 P.M. Every Jew buys this, understands it, believes it, and practices it.
The Lord Jesus Christ dies in the middle of the week. A noted commentary suggests that if we will check our Bibles carefully in the Book of Mark, we will find every morning, afternoon, and evening given - from Palm Sunday morning until he is nailed at 9 o'clock Wednesday morning, without the omission of a single day. The plain English, as we find it, where we find it, says He will spend three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. If the Bible says that He was in the earth three days and three nights, then, He was in there three days and three nights, and we can't change that timing with a blowtorch or a bulldozer.
The Lord Jesus is nailed at 9 o'clock in the morning; He dies at 3 o'clock; there is darkness over the face of the earth from 12 o'clock until 3 o'clock; He is taken down between 5 and 6 o'clock; He is interred in the tomb at 6 o'clock in the evening. His body is in that tomb all night Wednesday night (1), all night Thursday night (2), and all night Friday night (3). His body is in that tomb all day Thursday (1), all day Friday (2), all day Saturday (3), and comes out of the tomb after 6 o'clock Saturday evening, which is the beginning of the first day of the week. A Jewish "first day" begins at 6 o'clock Saturday evening, and the morning would be 6 o'clock Sunday morning. As Bereans we should carefully examine this question and be convinced of the truth of this study by comparing it to the Word of God.
Christ is crucified on "three and a half," the two witnesses die on "three and a half," they lie there dead "three and a half."
Revelation 11:10 - And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.
Now, the verse does not say that it is Christmas time, but there is a strong leaning this way. Some may think that this is stretching it, but when we study our Bible thoroughly, we learn something; we learn that people borrow expressions from the Bible unwittingly and unknowingly, and that Satan definitely leads people in choosing the expressions that they use. When Mario Lanza makes a picture of the "City of the Seven Hills," he may not know that he is quoting Revelation 17, but that doesn't change anything. Folks say a man is "half-baked." They may not know it, but they are quoting Hosea. When the Liberty Bell bears the inscription, "Let liberty be proclaimed throughout the land" in Philadelphia, the populace may not know that the reference is to Leviticus 25, but that doesn't change it. When Southerners refer to "lightbread" and "cornbread," not knowing they are quoting Isaiah and Numbers, that doesn't change the facts. The fact that no beer manufacturer in the United States knows that the word "beer" is a Hebrew, Old Testament word found in an English Bible, doesn't change it. The Word of God is not bound. This word is not just "one drop of truth in an ocean of truth," containing a lot of other books; this one Book compasses, without any effort whatsoever, every book that's ever been written, and anything that anybody ever said, good or bad, in any century, in any time, under any condition. It is the infallible, eternal, infinite, word of God. And Satan knows this, even if we don't.
When people speak, they are led to do one of three things:
These "Biblical expressions" we hear people use are not to be disregarded. When a man says, "Boy, we said it," he may not know he is quoting Judas, in Matthew's Gospel, but that doesn't change it. By the time we have run down a hundred of these references like "horse laugh," "golden earrings," "Chloe," and "breach of promise", we will find that, indeed, there is something to it.
"Make merry, and shall send gifts one to another." We are not going to say dogmatically that this is an indication of Christmas time, but one should study some thoughts that pass through hearts and minds around "Christmas." We have already studied the passage in Jeremiah 10:1-5, which is an obvious reference to a Christmas tree. connected with the worship of the sun god on the 25th of December. Notice, Jesus Christ is not born in December, but in September or October! He "tabernacled'' in the flesh and "dwelt among us," and the Feast of "Tabernacles" is between September and October. When Christ was born, the sheep were in the fields and not in the stables; therefore, He was not born in the midst of winter. We are told that Octavius was the sole emperor at the time of Christ's birth, succeeding his great-uncle, Caesar (27 BC). He reigned jointly with Antony and Lepidus from 31-27 BC. At this time the Roman Caesars had the worship of Baal and the Sun God transferred to Rome with the "Circus Maximus" taking place. (Baal's birthday, in Syria, was December 25.) The circus and the gladiatorial combats took place on this date - December 25th. (Leviticus 23:39-44 would indicate that the birth of Jesus is about September 15- not December 25th.) we can check the dates of the Roman emperors and the birth of John the Baptist to get the thing worked out within a month.
The first mention and illusion to Christ being born on December 25th (and we might know where we would find it) is in Alexandria, Egypt, North Africa, in the 3rd century. The first mention of Jesus Christ being born on December 25, the birthday of the Sun God, is found in the "stromata" of Clement of Alexandria, in the 3rd century.
December 25th is the time of the winter solstice - the time when the Northern Hemisphere is as far from the sun as it gets; the earth returns toward the sun and is closer in June. The longest days in the year, then are June 22nd-25th, and the shortest are December 22nd-25th. (The earth goes around the sun, and when we say "farthest from the sun," we mean "the angle is different." If we draw a circle, and put the sun in the middle and the earth in the outside of the circle, we'll find that the sun is not exactly in the middle of the circle. The sun just happens to be four days "off center" of the circle. These four days are from September 20-23, according to the best Jewish authorities, who treat this four-day interval as the creation of the earth. The earth is nearer the sun in the winter than it is in the summer, but September 23rd, day and night, are equal all over the world. This four-day interval is indicated by the "Feast of Tabernacles." This is undoubtedly the birth date of Jesus Christ. The reason why God didn't "make it clear" is very obvious - God never intended for we to remember that baby; He intended for we to remember the crucified, buried, and risen Saviour!
If there is any doubt in our minds about this, turn to Luke 2 and notice that with all that commotion over the birth of Jesus, the only sign that is given is in Luke 2: 12 - "And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger." (Every modernist loves Luke 2; every modernist loves a little baby that he can control. Everybody thinks that a little baby is the sweetest thing in the world! But few care much for the bloody Saviour whose "hairs were white like wool, and his eyes were as a flame of fire" (Revelation 1). The only sign about that baby in Luke 2 was that He was going to be wrapped different than other babies are wrapped! Other babies have blankets over them: this baby is wrapped up in grave clothes. "That's the way they wrap all the babies over there." Really? What book did we get that out of? We didn't get it out of the Bible. Those swaddling clothes were the ones Lazarus was wrapped in when Christ said, "Loose him, and let him go." The swaddling clothes are the ones that the young man wound Ananias up in (Acts 5) before they buried him! This baby is born to die! Thousands of babies die every year, but this is the only baby that was ever born, who was born for only one purpose - to die for other people.
John 3:16 - "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
Romans 5:8-10- "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, CHRIST DIED FOR US. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life."
Then, the Lord Jesus Christ's birth date is not clearly marked because God didn't want we to remember it.
1 Corinthians 11:26 - "For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come."
God wants we to remember the Lord Jesus Christ's death - not His birth!
This day, December 25, when the sun is near the earth and yet the Northern Hemisphere is cold, when the earth continues its trip around the sun, and things begin to get warmer, has been observed from time immemorial by Phoenicians (who were seafaring men and populated the coasts of Europe, Africa, and Asia), as the worship day of Baal, and the Sun God, and the queenly consort and cohort, Astoreth, the goddess of the moon - "the queen of heaven." This is why every country in the world observes December 25 today. (Ever wonder why Chinese, Japanese, and Indians observe December 25, when they don't even profess to believe in Christ as Saviour? Isn't it strange that even Jews will go along with this time as a time of celebration for certain things? Hasn't it ever occurred to us as being rather odd that Christmas has always been popular with unsaved drunks, Communists, Catholics, Protestants, Buddhists, demon worshippers, and dope addicts?) December 25th is not the birthday of Jesus Christ!
Tradition, in Egypt, says that the son of Isis was born December 25th. "Yule" is the Chaldean word for "infant" or "little child." In England they put on the "yule log," burn it, and pretend that it comes up "from the dead" Christmas morning, and becomes a beautiful Christmas tree - a picture of a dead, wooden totem pole being resurrected!
If we want the details on these things, see the web site reference in the adjacent column about "The Two Babylons" by Hislop, and you'll discover that December 25th is not connected with the birth of Jesus Christ!
Revelation 11:11 - And after three days and an half the spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.
This passage is not only a fearful passage, but it is a humorous passage too when we remember that when these dead bodies stand up, their heads pop back on them! These witnesses are decapitated,' they have their heads cut off (Revelation 6, 20, 11:8-10). When the "spirit of life from God" enters into them, they stand up and the head pops back on the body. It's no wonder that "fear fell upon them which saw them."
Hence, we find similar stories in fairy tales, legends, movies, radio, plays, television, and mythology. This is the old "ax" business - "Don't lose your head," "They're chopping off heads down at the office," "The Headless Horseman," etc.
Revelation 11:12 - And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.
This cloud is present in Acts 1 when Jesus is caught up; this cloud is present in Matthew 17 when Moses and Elijah appear on the Mount of Transfiguration; this cloud is present at the Second Coming of Christ; and this cloud is present again in Revelation 14:15,16.
Here, we have a visible Rapture. This is not a Rapture in which dead bodies below the ground are transferred into bodies like Christ; this is not a Rapture in which living saints are caught up "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye," and nobody sees them go. This is like Acts 1, where the Lord Jesus Christ was lifted bodily off this earth, and went straight up to heaven in a cloud, while two men stood by in white clothes, and said, "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus which is taken up from we into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven."
This Rapture is not a Rapture of Church-Age New Testament saints, but a Rapture of Tribulation saints at the end of the Tribulation. Notice the context of this "Come up hither" is Revelation 11:15, when "the kingdoms of this world (not the Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of Heaven) are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever." This is not when the "kingdoms of this world" become the property of the "Roman Catholic Church." This is not when the Holy Roman Empire usurps all crowns and tells all kings to be in subjection to it; this is not when the Roman Catholic Church dictates foreign policy to the United Nations. This is when the kingdoms of this world become Jesus Christ's.
This is the difference between correct Bible interpretation and incorrect Bible interpretation. Every Roman Catholic that ever lived believed that the way the "kingdoms of this world" belong to Christ are through the gradual power of the Roman Catholic Church conquering the secular governments of the world. (This is one of the official decrees of the Council of Trent , and there isn't a pope who ever lived that didn't believe it, even if his "church members" didn't.) There isn't a pope who ever lived (he's the spiritual leader of every Catholic who ever lived) that didn't believe that his church was commanded to take over the world in the name of Jesus Christ, and conquer the secular kingdoms, and put them into subjection to his church. No one is slandering the popes; no one is being radical, dogmatic, or a critical "attacker of your religion." These are facts that we ought to know.
This thing takes place with the seventh trumpet - the trumpets that began in the Tribulation, after the church was caught out. Therefore, there is no doubt about the time element - it is at the end of the Tribulation. The kingdoms of this world will not become His until He comes down and takes them over. He did not do this when He came the first time.
The context of this Rapture in Revelation 11:12 is the end of the Tribulation (verse 15), which clearly indicates a catching up of Tribulation saints. They are headed up by Moses and Elijah - two Old Testament, circumcised Jews, who had the "signs, wonders, and miracles," which were given to the Old Testament saints and to the Apostles, for Israel. This post-tribulation Rapture is primarily Israelish in its character and design; it is not the Rapture of the church.
To see how some can get this confused, let us turn to Matthew 24. Matthew 24 is taught as referring to the destruction of Jerusalem and the coming of Christ's Kingdom gradually by the conversion of the world to the church.
Matthew 24:13 - "But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved."
"The end" is not the end of your life, as quoted by the Holiness and others, it is the end of an age. How do we know this? We know this by the Holy Spirit's interpretation instead of the private interpretation of any church. Private interpretation reads, "He that shall endure to the end of his life, the same shall be saved."
Matthew 24:14- "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall THE END come."
Notice how the Bible interprets itself, and we never have to lean on any group of scholars for an "interpretation." Fortunately, the Lord has spoken to people in such plain language that anybody, anytime, anyplace who wants the truth can find it. Anybody who doesn't will have to accept the private interpretations of a religious age gone mad. "The end," in the passage, is the end of an age, and there is no doubt about the age. Look at the passage again, referring always to the English.
Matthew 24:21 - "For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be."
This period of time is called "the tribulation," and it consummates the end of the age. It is not the "gospel of the grace of God" that is being preached; Paul preached this and called it "my gospel" (Romans 2). Matthew 24:21 is the gospel of the "Kingdom." This Kingdom which is being preached is a literal, physical, visible, Davidic, Jewish, Messianic Kingdom.
Matthew 1:6 - "And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias."
King over what? The church?
Matthew 2:2 - "Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him."
Is this the "king of the Christians"?
Matthew 2:6 - "And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel."
Not the "Body of Christ!" Not the "Israel of God!" Not the "spiritual Jew!" Not the "circumcised in heart!" "My people Israel!"
Matthew 3:2- "And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
Matthew 4:23 - "And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people."
The Apostolic "signs, wonders, and miracles" accompany the literal, physical, visible ministry of the literal, physical, visible Kingdom of the literal, physical, visible people of Israel, who had the literal, physical, visible signs given to the literal, physical, visible Apostles for literal, physical, visible healing. Did we get that?
Matthew 8:12 - "But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
The Post-Millennialists and A-Millennialists think that their kingdom is the "Kingdom of God," and yet here the "children of the kingdom" go to hell. There's a thought! Those who teach one resurrection, one judgment, and that the church is the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies to Israel don't even consider Jesus' authoritative statement that the "children of the kingdom" go to hell! Matthew 8:12 is a passage where the people who were promised the literal kingdom are turned into outer darkness because they would not accept the spiritual kingdom before the literal one could come.
Matthew 9:35 - "And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people."
Matthew 10:6,7 - "But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand."
In the immediate and remote context of Matthew 24 (in the chapter, and on both sides of the chapter, and outside of the chapter), God is dealing with Israel in the Tribulation period.
Matthew 24:15- "When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel (a Jew) the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand)."
There is no "holy place" in Rome; there is no "holy place" in Chicago; there is no "holy place" in Jerusalem now. This "holy place" is not in your heart. For here is an "abomination," spoken of by Daniel the prophet, which is "standing" in a holy place, in Judea (Matthew 24:16). These people are observing the sabbath (Matthew 24:20). This couldn't have been the destruction of Jerusalem, 70 AD, for the Old Testament tells the Jew right on through the Church Age, that the "man is blessed" who has many children (Psalm 127:3-5; 128:3). Yet in this period (Matthew 24:19) they are told not to have children! (They also are warned against having children in Mark 13:17 and Luke 23:29.)
The period Matthew 24 is discussing is plainly, beyond any shadow of a doubt, dealing with a time of Israel's restoration in the Tribulation in the land of Judea. Therefore, the Rapture in Matthew 24:29,30 is a post-Tribulation rapture of Tribulation saints.
Matthew 24:21 - "For then shall be great tribulation such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be."
Therefore, the passage could not refer to the destruction of Jerusalem, because the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki outdid it a good bit. Many "scholars" apply the text to the destruction of Jerusalem (70 AD) when there have been hundreds of battles since then where more people were destroyed than at Jerusalem. In plainer words, they think Jesus is a liar - in a nice, "Christian" sort of way, of course!
Matthew 24:22 - "And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened."
"For the elect's sake." These are Jews (verse 31), as we find them in the New Testament in Romans 9 and 11; "the elect" in Isaiah 28:4; "the elect' in Isaiah 45:4; "the elect" in Zechariah 2:5,6; "the elect" in Isaiah 65:9-12; "the elect" in Isaiah 27:13; and "the elect" in Daniel 7:21. "The elect" here, are most certainly not the "predestinated elect" of Ephesians 1 and 2, for Paul isn't around, isn't writing, hasn't written, and isn't saved. These passages are addressed to somebody in the Tribulation, in Judea, at a future time. The context is clear; it's in Judea - we're not in Judea. It's in the Tribulation; we're not in the Tribulation. The "abomination of desolation" is there; we don't even know what it is! The verse tells someone to endure to the end of the age; we're not even in the age yet. Thousands of Christians died before the age began! We're not keeping the Sabbath; this bunch is.
Matthew 24:29,30- "Immediately AFTER the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened (Revelation 6), and the moon shall not give her light (Revelation 6), and the stars shall fall from heaven (Revelation 6), and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken (Revelation 6, Isaiah 27): And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven (not, an "X" cross to curse we with, like the one that appeared to Constantine): and then shall all the t-r-i-b-e-s (Revelation 7) of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory."
There is no doubt about the context. It is to Jewish "tribes" on this earth during the Tribulation in the "time o f Jacob's trouble" in Daniel's ''seventieth week, "at Judea (with the Antichrist there in the "holy place"), awaiting the Second Coming of Christ, and seeing Jesus Christ as the Son of man (His earthly, literal physical visible Jewish designation to Israel), coming back again at the end of the Tribulation. Could it be any plainer?
Jesus means what He says, as He says it, where He says it, as we find it. Do we think that God would obscure this thing so we couldn't find it? Is God unrighteous? "Shall not the judge of the whole earth do right?" (Genesis 18:25). "They (God's words) are all plain to him that understandeth" (Proverbs 8:5). There's nothing hard in them. We can get it.
Matthew 24:31 - "And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other."
There goes the seventh trumpet. Here is a post-Tribulation Rapture of Tribulation saints right before our eyes. There are many "fundamentalists" today that teach that the born-again "Body of Christ" is going to go through the Tribulation and be caught up in Matthew 24. This is the rapture of Revelation 11:12.
Revelation 11:13 - And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.
Then there are some people who get saved toward the end of the Tribulation, and yet are left on the ground. They weren't saved at the Rapture in verse 12, so they were not "caught up," but they "got right." Here we have the perfect picture found again in Matthew 25:1-10. In Matthew 25, we have a group of "wise virgins" who are ready to go (and there's an element of works connected with their salvation), and they are "caught up" when the Lord comes. This is the post-Tribulation Rapture. There is also in Matthew 25 a group of "foolish virgins" who are left behind. They "get right," but they "get right" too late to go into "the marriage" - here, we find them in Revelation 11:13. They "get right," and give "glory to the God of heaven" (Revelation 14:7), but the Lord has already caught out the people who were saved in the Tribulation - the people who "endured to the end" by their works (Matthew 25, Revelation 20).
In Matthew 25 we will find people who are told to buy oil (type of the Holy Spirit); we find servants working to earn salvation (and those who didn't work going to hell!); we find people, when Christ comes back, who enter the kingdom by their good deeds to other people (Matthew 25:30, etc.) Isn't it remarkable and wonderful how this Bible is laid out; the only place in that Bible where salvation is ever connected with "works" is in the Old Testament to Israel, in the Tribulation to Israel, and in relation to the Gentiles, and in the Millennium when Christ comes back.
In the age in which we are living, a sinner is saved "by grace through faith." plus nothing. (If we don't get the Second Coming of Christ right, it is hard to get anything right. Why did God fix it that way? The God we are dealing with is so wise - if we don't love Him with all our heart and soul, we don't want to see Him. If we don't want to see Him, we don't want Him to come back. If we don't want Him to come back, we won't study the Second Coming of Christ. If we don't study it, we won't learn it. If we won't learn it, we won't learn about the other dispensations that are related to Israel at the Second Coming. If we do not learn these, we cannot learn the Old Testament. If we do not learn the Old Testament, we cannot learn the other ways in which men have been saved, other than "by grace through faith." Consequently, the average Christian will be totally "out" on how a man "endures to the end" in the Tribulation and gets saved, how a man keeps the "Sermon on the Mount" in the Millennium and gets saved, and how a man "keeps the Sabbath" in the Tribulation and gets saved. Hence, the average Christian will wind up a Mormon, a Jehovah Witness, a "Church of Christ," a Seventh Day Adventist, or some other group that does not want Jesus Christ to come back, and thinks that they are appointed to "bring in the Kingdom" by their own self-righteous works.
God has this thing fixed, and if our heart isn't right, we can't get the Bible right [1 Peter 2:8].)
In Matthew we find salvation by works just as plain as the nose on your face. Consequently, every humanitarian, every liberal, every modernist, every Seventh Day Adventist, Jehovah Witness, and Church of Christ "elder" runs right to Matthew, Acts, and Hebrews.
Now I'm a saved Baptist; I believe in eternal security; but I've got better sense than to pervert the word of God and make every chapter and verse apply to what "Baptists believe." My Bible says that I am to "rightly divide" that Book. The Book has right divisions, and a teacher or preacher had better observe them. Those folks in Matthew 25 are saved by visiting the sick, seeing folks in jail, and handing out food and clothing. What a verse for the United Nations or the Peace Corps! What a verse for the Masons!
In Matthew we are going from the gospel of the Jewish king to the literal, physical, visible "Kingdom of Heaven," in a transition to the New Testament.
In the Book of Acts we are going from the literal Kingdom promised to Israel to the "Kingdom of God" promised to the born-again believer.
In the Book of Hebrews, we are going from the New Testament Church-Age into the Tribulation, where God is renewing His dealing with the Hebrews- not "spiritual Jews" - Hebrews! Not "Christians'' - Hebrews! Not "the church" - Hebrews!
Don't we see what Revelation 11 opens? Here is an assembly caught up at the end of the Tribulation - like the wise virgins; we have a bunch left - like the foolish virgins; we have people "enduring until the end" and resisting the "mark of the beast" in order to be saved, and although they are saved by grace through faith, they are not kept by grace through faith - they must "endure until the end" because they are right back under the Old Testament law.
Revelation 11:14,15 - The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly. And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever
This is the most conspicuous passage in the Bible on the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. There is no way on earth that any man who ever lived can make this passage apply to the First coming of Christ. The people who teach that the "kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ" at the First coming are people who basically make the Holy Spirit give a false testimony. The "kingdom" that is here now, which "they" are trying to spread, is an Ecumenical National Council of physical church buildings, and it is made up of property, mortgages, deeds, bonds, stocks, collateral, indemnity, and interest, etc. That is not the spiritual "Kingdom of God" that Paul preached - it never has been and never will be. The passage does not say the "Kingdom of God" has become the "Kingdom of God." The passage says, "The kingdoms of this world (Germany, France, England, America, Russia, Cuba, China, Austria, Australia, Japan) are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ." This has never happened. And a man would have to be out of his mind to believe that this had ever happened. There isn't the slightest indication in history that it ever even began to happen, pretended to happen, or ever will begin to happen until the Second Coming o f Jesus Christ.
Now, these kingdoms (Revelation 11) are literal, physical, visible, kingdoms. By comparing scripture with scripture, we get the scriptural interpretation instead of any private interpretation of any religious group.
Luke 4:5 - "And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time."
There is no reference to the "Kingdom of God" or to the "Kingdom of Heaven" in any way in Luke 4:5. There isn't any way on the earth that any man could take this passage and pervert it or distort it unless he didn't want Jesus Christ to come back to take over.
Luke 4:5 shows we that "the kingdoms of the world" refer to City Commissions, Armies, Town Hall, Congress, Navies, City Hall, Circuit Court, School System, Probate Court, Parliament, Tax Laws, Supreme Court, Diet, House of Representatives, Senate, income, Social Security, etc. The passage is talking about literal, physical, political, visible kingdoms.
Luke 4:6 "And the devil said unto him. All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me: and to whomsoever I will I give it."
This is no "Kingdom of God" the Devil is talking about: it is kingdoms delivered to Satan. The "kingdoms of this world" have never been Jesus Christ's and never will be until He comes back again. They are given to the Devil, and he gives them "to whomsoever I will."
Jeremiah 27:4,5 "And command them to say unto their masters, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Thus shall ye say unto your masters; I have made the earth, the man and the beast that are upon the ground, by my great power and by my outstretched arm, and have given it unto whom it seemed meet unto me."
God the Father, Himself, delegates this power to Satan and satanic personalities. Therefore, if a pope could brag about his control over the earth, it would prove one thing, conclusively he is under the power and directive will of Satan (2 Timothy 2:26), operating under the permissive will of God. When the Roman Catholic Church gets more power daily, this does not prove that "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." It simply means that Satan is getting more control over one particular religious branch. "The kingdoms of this world" which Rome has tried to "take over" (and has taken over), belong to Satan, under the permissive will of God. If any religious system such as the Roman Catholic Church ever seizes the United Nations, we can bet your bottom dollar that it will be through the direct power of Satan, operating under the permissive will of God (Luke 4:6).
Jeremiah 27:6 - "And now have I given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant; and the beasts of the field have I given him also to serve him."
Here God calls a Jew-hating, Christ-denying, Bible-rejecting, pagan murderer His "servant." This shows we that God delegates power to satanic' personalities. When the Roman Church goes to Matthew 28:18, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth," and then claims that this power is given to their church, we should say. "Amen, it is." There's just one catch - the mediator between the church and Matthew 28:18 is Satan. The Devil is the "god of this world" (2 Corinthians 4:4). He controls it, and under God's permissive will, the Devil gives it to people like Nebuchadnezzar, Hitler, Castro, Mussolini, Yelsin, Saddam Hussein, Clinton, and the rest of the world's leaders. One of the greatest mistakes religious leaders ever made is in thinking that because they have power, that this is the power of Matthew 28, delegated directly to them. When Christ said, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth," He meant that He controlled the Devil as well as everything else. The Devil can give us all the power we need (see John 19:11). All we have to do is believe him instead of the word of God.
The "kingdoms of this world" are not Jesus Christ's; they are God the Father's, and He delegates and gives them "to whomsoever He will."
"This world is not my home; I'm just passing through,
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue.
The angels beckon me from heaven's open door
And I can't be at home in this mess anymore."
Revelation 11:16 - And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God,
Notice, the sentence ended in verse 15, which moved the chronology from the Tribulation (verses 13,14) to the Millennium (verse 15), and out beyond the Millennium (verse 17). Now this is confusing, isn't it? It is confusing if we assume that the seals, trumpets, and vials occur in a serial fashion, one series of woes following each other. Actually all these series of woes do not appear to happen sequentially, rather they appear to be parallel. For example, notice that after each sixth event that there is an interval where something else happens. Recall that John has been given a seat that reviews the past; views the present, and previews the future. So we must be aware of "where" is what he is looking at!
People who try to confine Revelation 11:17-19 to the Tribulation will get into terrible trouble. For in Revelation 11:18, we suddenly run right into the "Great White Throne Judgment" which in our understanding of chronology occurs in Revelation 20. But, events that occur there can be seen at this point.
In Revelation 11:16 we have the "four and twenty elders" worshipping God in the third heaven, and saying something which looks backward on the material you've just studied. What they say is (verse 18), "And the nations were angry (See Revelation 19) and thy wrath is come (See Revelation 20:9), and the time of the dead, that they should be judged (White Throne Judgment See Revelation 20:11), and that thou shouldst give rewards to thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth."
These four and twenty elders said:
11:17 "Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned."
Revelation 11:17 - Saying, We give thee thanks, O LORD God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.
Notice when these "four and twenty elders" speak, they are looking back on the Millennial reign of Christ. In Revelation 11:5 He is just beginning the Millennial reign. Therefore, Revelation 11:16-19 is a section picture out in eternity, looking back on the events of the Tribulation and the Millennium.
Revelation 11:18 - And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.
"Thy wrath is come." The fulfillment of this passage is found in Revelation 20:9, where the fire of God comes down and consumes everything.
"And the time of the dead, that they should be judged." This passage is found in Revelation 20:11,12.
Now comes a very difficult passage: "That thou shouldest give rewards to thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth."
Now we've have probably been taught that there are no saved people at the Great White Throne Judgment. We've been taught that this is the judgment of the unsaved dead only, and there are no saved people there. Well, this is an error. We can see it immediately by the fact that there are "rewards" passed out at the White Throne Judgment. (Once again, "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.") Revelation 11:18 is not the Judgment Seat of Christ where New Testament Christians are rewarded; it is the Great White Throne Judgment where "His servants the prophets" are rewarded. The judgment of Church-Age saints takes place in heaven, during the Tribulation. But this judgment (Revelation 11) takes place at the end of the Millennium, yet there are saved people there. (The word "saints" throws the scholars into a panic; they think the word "saints" applies to Church-Age saints, as Paul uses the word in Romans 1, 1 Corinthians 1, etc.)
Wherever a Baptist finds the word "saint," he just naturally puts it into Romans 1:1,2 and makes it apply to a Christian in the New Testament Church Age which it may not. For example, in Daniel 7 (as the first time the word "saint" is used in the Bible, 1 Samuel 2:9), it has no reference to Church-Age saints at all. (Don't forget that Daniel and Revelation fit together.) Notice, the context of Daniel 7 is the Antichrist fighting against people who have to "endure to the end" to be saved.
Daniel 7:21,22 - "I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom."
See Daniel 7:18 "But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever." (Compare to Revelation 11:15.)
The passage is talking about Tribulation saints, who are judged at the Great White Throne Judgment, and then inherit an eternal kingdom, in eternity. The passage is not talking about Church-Age saints, who are rewarded at the Judgment Seat of Christ before the Millennium; the passage is talking about Tribulation saints, who are rewarded at the White Throne Judgment, and reign in eternity over a literal, physical, visible, earthly, Davidic, Messianic, Palestinian Kingdom promised to Israel. This time has to be a time when Christ has finished reigning (verse 17), when "the nations are angry" (verse 18), when the "wrath of God" is come (verse 18), "the time of the dead that they should be judged" (verse 18), and at that time He will give reward to His servants, "the prophets, and to the saints, and to them that fear His name, small and great, and He will destroy them that would destroy the earth."
This brings up two interesting problems - saints at the White Throne Judgment, whose names are in "the book of life," and the fact that Tribulation and Millennium saints have to have some works connected with their salvation. [Every verse in Matthew, Acts, and Hebrews that teaches we "can lose it," means just what it says! But since these verses appear to contradict verses on eternal security, the error is in the system of interpretation. If there is anything that must be extremely confusing, it must be a teacher (professing to be an authority on the word of God), who is teaching people they can "lose their salvation," by taking passages like Revelation 11:18; 12:16; 14:12; 22:14, Acts 2:38, Mark 16:16, etc. and sticking them into the Church Age.
"That thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets (not to born-again believers in the Body of Christ), and to the saints (the context every place we find it, is Israel), and them that fear thy name small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth."
Notice, the text of these rewards is "fearing His name" - not "believing on His name," nor "being born again," not "receiving Christ" as your Saviour, but "fearing His name." This gospel is a Tribulation gospel.
Revelation 14:6,7 - "And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters."
Notice, these people who "fear His name" are Tribulation saints. When did Paul ever stand before an audience and say, "Fear His name"? Paul said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." Paul said, "And by Him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses."
Observe, also, that the people who get saved in the Tribulation are judged at the White Throne Judgment; they get rewards for dying for Christ; their death is part of their salvation. They've "washed their robes white in the blood of the Lamb." They have feared His name, "endured until the end," and they have not taken the mark of the beast because they did "fear His name." They feared His name because of the coming hour of judgment (Revelation 14:6,7). This means that Tribulation saints and Millennium saints will not appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ. Christians have their judgment at the Judgment Seat of Christ following the Rapture; Tribulation and Millennium saints have their judgment at the White Throne Judgment - the same judgment where the unsaved dead are judged. Hence, the "books" are there.
Ever wonder why those books were there? Most evangelists say that they are opened just to "prove your name is not in them" to make sure your damnation is complete. That's foolishness! People say that the "Book of life" is opened to show and prove to we that your name was there so that Satan can't accuse you. That's foolishness too! When those books are opened, the Christian will have already been just like Jesus Christ for 1000 years! [See 1 John 3, Philippians 3, 1 Corinthians 15.] Those books are there because somebody's names are in them and somebody's aren't. The names that are in them are the names of Tribulation and Millennium saints. If our name is there, it is there by works, and works can take it out! Now, we know what Revelation 3:5 means. "He that overcometh [works], the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life." This also applies to Revelation 22:19, "And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life .... " There is an element of works connected with salvation in the Tribulation, and the Millennium, which is not present in this age. These "books" are for those people. Hence, we will find these "books" mentioned primarily in the Old Testament.
I know my name is in the Book of Life because Paul mentioned it in a "Pauline epistle" [Philippians 4], but I'm not worried about getting it blotted out because my name [in the Lamb's book of life] is not conditional upon my "enduring to the end" of the Tribulation, or my living by the Sermon on the Mount, but because the Lamb gave me His life. "He that hath the son hath life: and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life" [1 John 5: 12]. If they take my name out, they'll have to take the Lamb's name out too,' I'm in Him!)
Revelation 11:19 - And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.
This takes we right back to the narrative of Revelation 11:15 at the end of the Tribulation. These events are the same events described at the end of the Tribulation in Revelation 6:12-14 and Revelation 16:21.
Is there something our home group can pray with we about?