Thursday, December 22, 2011

Was Jesus born on December 25

One question that you may have asked yourself, or maybe someone has asked you before is, “Was Jesus really born on December 25?” Most of us just assume that this is the day that Christ was born because that is what we have always been told. The truth is that Jesus was probably not born in December. The bible does not tell us the exact date in which Christ was born, but we can determine from clues his approximate birthday.

The fact that Jesus was born in a manger should give us some sort of a clue. The winter months in that part of the world are notoriously terrible. It would have been almost impossible for a young woman to sleep and give birth in a stable during this time of the year.

We are also told in Luke 2 that after the birth of Christ angels appeared to a group of shepherds who were “keeping watch over their flock by night.” Again because of the cold winter nights it was customary for shepherds to keep their sheep located in pens or coralls during these months. The nights were so cold that they would not stay out all night with their sheep in the field during the winter months. It seems highly unlikely that a group of angels would find shepherds in the field at night near the end of December.

So when was Jesus born?

Well as I have already said we are not given the exact date of His birth. We are however given a clue. According to Luke chapter one the angel Gabriel appeared to Zacharias, the priest, while he was ministering in the temple and told him that his wife Elisabeth was going to have a child. Of course this child was going to become a great man we know as “John the Baptist.” Zacharias did not believe the report from Gabriel and because of his unbelief was stricken dumb and could not talk.

According to verses 23 & 24 when Zacharias’ time of temple service was over he returned home and Elisabeth conceived a child. In verse 5 we are told that Zacharias served as a priest “of the course of Abia.” When a priest served in the temple it was not an ever day, every week job. According to I Chronicles 24 the priesthood was divided among the sons of Aaron. The temple service was divided into 24 courses and the priest would rotate through the year the temple service. The course of Abijah was the 8th shift. It was this course that Zacharias served. The course of Abia or Abijah ran from around June 3 through June 17. Therefore Elisabeth conceived sometime around the end of June or the first of July.

You may ask what this has to do with the birth of Jesus. Well looking back in Luke we learn that in the sixth month of Elisabeth’s pregnancy the angel Gabriel appeared to a young virgin named Mary and told her that she would also be giving birth to a child. Doing some simple math tells us that Elisabeth gave birth sometime in late April or early May. If she was six months further along than Mary that means that Mary must have given birth in late September.

Why then December 25?

The truth is that December 25 was celebrated by the heathen Babylonians as the birth of the sun god. In fact many of our present-day Christmas traditions find their way to Babylon. The Yule log, candles and the Christmas tree are just a couple examples. Babylonian celebrations grew in popularity through the years, and the Catholic church feeling the pressure to celebrate holidays, or lose part of their following, established a group of Christian holidays such as Easter and Christmas. For Christmas they chose the day the heathen celebrated, December 25.

What does this mean to you and me?

Considering the information above should we continue to celebrate Christmas? I am going to, and I encourage you to as well. The fact that there is a day set aside to remember the birth of our Lord is a wonderful thing. No, maybe Jesus was not born on December 25, but He was born. John 1:14 emphatically states that God wrapped Himself in flesh and dwelt among us. That is something worth celebrating!

I hope each of you will take the time to teach your children and grandchildren the true meaning of Christmas. Teach them about a God that loved them so much that He sent His only Son into this world. Teach them about how this God-man grew to a man, laid down His life for the sins of the world on a cross, and three days later arose from the grave victorious over death, hell and the grave. That is the story of Christmas the world needs to hear.

Let me finish by wishing you a Merry Christmas. I hope your holiday is filled with fun, family, friends and food.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Rise of Antichrist & His False Prophet

Revelation Chapter 13

In our previous blog we discussed John’s vision of two wonders in heaven. After these visions John is now upon the seashore. While standing there John watches as a beast comes from the sea. As the beast begins to arise out of the sea John describes him to us.

Let me first say this about the sea in this chapter; the sea in this verse, like many other times in the bible refers to people. This beast will arise from the masses. It is also a symbol of the abyss in which the beast comes from.

The beast had seven heads and ten horns, and upon each horn was a crown. John tells us that the beast had the body of a leopard, feet like a bear; the mouth of a lion and the dragon is the one giving him his power. This does not mean that the dragon has given him his own throne, but he did give him the power and a throne and great authority.

The description of this beast brings us back to the book of Daniel. In the book of Daniel we saw each of these beasts represented a kingdom that would rule upon the earth. The book of Daniel is broken down into four main visions by Daniel and a dream by Nebuchadnezzar. All of these deal with the “times of the Gentiles” in relationship to the latter days.

In chapter two Nebuchadnezzar had a dream in which God revealed that there was to be four world wide empires leading up until the time in which a “Stone Kingdom” or the millennial kingdom of Christ is set up. In this same chapter we are told that Babylon was the first of these four kingdoms. As the book progresses we are told who the second and third empires will be and we are given a clue revealing who the fourth will be.

Forty-eight years after this dream Daniel has a vision. In this vision Daniel is standing upon the sea shore and watches as four beasts come forth from the water. I believe if you study these beasts you will see the similarity to John’s vision. Remember that John saw a wild beast which had the body of a leopard, feet like a bear and a mouth like a lion.

So that is:
  1. wild beast
  2. leopard
  3. bear
  4. lion

Now turning back to Daniel’s vision let us notice what he saw. Daniel describes the four beasts in the following order.

  1. Lion with wings of an eagle (Babylon Empire)
  2. Bear (Medio Persian Empire)
  3. Leopard with wings of a fowl (Grecian Empire)
  4. A wild beast (Roman Empire / Revived Roman Empire under Antichrist)

I think that it is obvious that these two men were seeing the same thing. Daniel looking from the present toward the future saw the kingdoms of the world leading up until the end time in which Antichrist would rule. John saw from the future in which Antichrist ruled backward through history. This man, Antichrist, will be a terrible man. He will be composed of men ago: Nebuchadnezzar, Xerxes, Alexander the Great and Caesar Augustus. He will be a great humanitarian, the friend of men (especially the Jew) and he will persuade all that he is there to usher in the kingdom pictured by the prophets. He will intoxicate men with strong delusion, he will be slain and arise from the dead having lost none of his power, and the world will accept him.

Now as we turn back to John’s vision of this man we see that the beast has seven heads and ten horns, and the horns are crowned. When we see the crowns upon the head of the beast it speaks of the height of his power. John actually had two visions of this beast. One is in this chapter and one in chapter 17.

John also sees this beast in chapter 17 coming up out of the abyss, but at that time the heads of the beast are not crowned. This means that the beast we see in chapter 17 represents the Antichrist before he receives his power and kingdoms, or the Antichrist at the beginning of the week, and the crowned beast we see in chapter 13 is the Antichrist in the middle of the week.

We also notice that the beast in chapter 17 is being ridden by a woman, who represents the papal, one world; church that comes into power after the true church is removed from this world. As the judgment of God begins to fall upon the world and wars begin to break forth there will be ten kingdoms that will unite for mutual protection, and no doubt the fake church will play a large part in this merger.

Because of her help she will be rewarded with political power, thus we see the woman riding the beast or dominating it. But when the beast receives its power or crowns we see that the beast becomes angry with the woman or “whore” as she is called and will hate her, make her desolate, eat her flesh and burn her with fire according to Revelation 17:16.

While we know that the seven heads of the beast represent seven mountains, which represent the Roman Empire, we are also told that they represent seven kings.

Revelation 17:9-10

This tells us that in John’s day five kings had already fallen, the sixth was in power and ruling in John’s day, and one was yet to come. The last or seventh king no doubt will be the Antichrist. In this verse John tells us that one of the heads of the beast had received a deadly wound.

Revelation 17:11

The only clear explanation is that the seventh head, or the Antichrist is the one who receives the deadly wound, probably at the hand of an assassin. The body of the Antichrist will lay dead.  Before the burial, his body will come back to life and he will therefore become the eighth king as well as the seventh. From Eden until the end time Satan has always counterfeited the works of God. This is no different. It would not surprise me if the Antichrist does not lay dead for three days, and at the end of three days come back to life.

This will make the world wonder after him and they will proclaim, “Who is able to make war with the beast?” This will take place at the middle of the week, the time in which the dragon is cast out of heaven, and it will account for the drastic transformation in the attitude of the Antichrist. It will be at this time he will break his covenant with the Jew, desecrate the temple and calling himself God according to Daniel chapter 9.

Also consider the following verses.

“And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change the times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.”  Daniel 7:25

“And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand.”   Daniel 8:25

“And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvelous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done.”   Daniel 11:36

After John sees and describes the first beast that he saw which came up out of the sea, he then sees a second beast coming up out of the earth. Again John begins to describe what he sees.

As John begins to describe this beast he describes him as being like a lamb. John does not say that this beast was a lamb but that he was like one in that he had two horns. Because of this resemblance to a lamb many try to claim that this beast is actually the antichrist and imitating Christ. While Christ is called a lamb many times throughout this book we do notice a difference between this beast and the description given to Christ. Christ is said on multiple occasions to be a lamb with seven horns while this beast only has two.

This second beast is actually given a name, the “False Prophet.” This name is used for him three times in the scriptures begin in chapter 16. Christ spoke of him when He said the following.

“There shall arise false Christ’s’ and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders: insomuch if it were possible they shall deceive the very elect.”   Matthew 24:24

So in this chapter we see three main characters: the dragon, the antichrist and the false prophet. These three will make up the “satanic trinity.” The dragon will imitate God the father, the antichrist will imitate God the son and the false prophet will be an imitation of God the Holy Spirit.

The false prophet will cause an image to be erected of the first beast. He will give power to the image so that it can speak, and will demand that all people worship the image. I can imagine that replica images will be sold, people will have them in their homes, they will be at government buildings and no doubt at all “mark” application facilities.

As the followers of Christ are sealed with the Holy Spirit until the day of redemption, so shall the followers of antichrist be sealed. They will be sealed with what we call the mark of the beast, which is the name, or number of the name of the antichrist, 666. All both will be forced to receive the mark of the beast under the penalty of death.

This mark will either be a tattoo or a brand in the fore head or right hand. It seems likely that this will be accompanied with a micro chip. This chip will contain information such as your banking information, maybe your social security number, maybe even the kingdom in which you live. We are not far from this today. With technologies such as debit cards, smart phones, and the internet. Consider technologies such as “Google wallet” which allows you to pay for purchases by waving your cell phone over the cash register. We are not far from just waving our hand over the register. It would be harder to steal a hand than it would be a cell phone.

This number, 666, is the number of man. This is the number, which stops short of perfection, which is the number 7. Man was created on the sixth day. Goliath, the opposer of God’s people, a type of Satan, was 6 cubits in height, he had 6 pieces of armor and his spearhead weighed 600 shekels. The image of Nebuchadnezzar was 60 cubits in height, 6 cubits wide and 6 musical instruments played when people fell down and worshipped it.

In this day no one can shop without the mark under the penalty of death. If men cannot buy or sell without the mark then they must be forced to beg, or starve. The names of those killed will no doubt be published to place fear in the hearts of all the undecided.

Imagine the local news containing footage of some “rouge fanatic” that would not accept the mark of Antichrist. No doubt they will show them lead to the guillotine and maybe even show them having their head removed.

This all will continue until the Lord returns and cast the dragon into the bottomless pit for 1,000 years and cast the antichrist and the false prophet into the lake fire.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Two Wonders in Heaven

Revelation Chapter 12

It has been a few days since my last post on the book of Revelation. I would like to pick that up and continue where we last left off. Beginning in chapter ten we are given seven parenthetical chapters. These chapters explain to us things that are taking place during the last half of the tribulation period. In chapter ten we are told of a mighty angel with a little book. In chapter eleven we see the work of God’s two witnesses.

In chapter twelve are now in the middle of the week. At this time John witnesses to wonders in heaven. He sees a wonder of a sun clothed woman, and a wonder of a great dragon.

The Sun Clothed Woman

There is a lot of speculation about who this woman represents. Some would have us believe that the woman is the church. They claim that the church is pictured in this woman by saying that the woman is the visible church or the outward church, and the man-child is the real church. And that the man-child or real church is to be called out at the middle of the week. If this be true then you must believe that the church will go though the first half of the tribulation period. We know this is not true, as we have seen in chapter 4:1.

Others claim that this woman is the Virgin Mary. This is not true for the Virgin Mary has never been described as this woman is described.

This woman is Israel. The word “wonder” in this verse is the same word used in the Greek for sign. Therefore this woman is a sign. I believe this woman is a sign of Israel. When you compare the description of this woman, with some Old Testament descriptions of Israel you can see the similarity. For example look back to the dream of Joseph in the book of Genesis.

“And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me.”  Genesis 37:9

The woman in this chapter is seen to be with child. This condition has never been said of the church. The church in the scriptures is called a virgin and an espoused virgin at that. In fact if the condition of this woman were the condition of the church, then it would make the church unfit to be the bride of Christ.

The church is never a mother, but being a mother was prophesied of Israel.

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.”  Isaiah 9:6

The Great Red Dragon

The second wonder in heaven that appears is a red dragon. There is no doubt who this dragon is. He is identified for us in verse 9. In this verse the dragon is named “that old serpent, the devil, and Satan.”

Notice the description of this dragon. First notice the color of this dragon. He is red in color which is the color of blood. This is a fitting description for Satan because we are told in John 8:44 that Satan is a murderer, and has been from the beginning. Second I would like for you to notice that this dragon wears a crown. This tells of his earthly dominion. Some people have a hard time accepting the earthly dominion of Satan, but the fact that Satan has a kingdom is something that is clear in the scriptures. In fact in Luke 4 Satan offers Christ the kingdoms of the world, and Jesus did not dispute with Satan over his claim to kingdoms.

“And the devil taking him up into an high mountain, showed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 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. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.”   Luke 4:5-7

His seven heads, ten horns and crowns associate him with the beast that comes out of the sea in chapter 13. The beast from the sea is the Antichrist. These two have some relation. The dragon will embody the Antichrist and at that point he will become the beast, break his covenant with the Jew, and set up himself as God.

John then tells us that the dragon awaits the birth of the man-child, or Jesus Christ, so that he can devour Him as soon as He is born. It is interesting to trace the story of the fight between  Satan and God to bring forth the man-child. From the Garden of Eden until the cross, Satan has tried to destroy the man-child. Satan however was unsuccessful.

As a result of the travel, the woman brings forth a man-child who is to rule the nations with a rod of iron. There is no question who this man-child is. He is the Christ.

The man-child is not the church, because the man-child is caught up to the father's throne where he is now seated. The church is not caught up to the Father's throne but to meet the Lord Jesus Christ in the air.

Now we come to a source of confusion for many. They read these verses and assume that the woman flees into the wilderness immediately after the birth of her child. Since the time of her departure is in the middle of the week, they are very confused.

What these people fail to see is how her child can be Christ, for he was born and caught up to his father's throne thousands of years ago. But what we are overlooking is the fact that between the 5th and 6th verses is found the church period. This is the same as the gap between Daniel's sixty-ninth and seventieth weeks.

In verse 5 John described the birth of Christ and His ascension. Then John jumps the gap and describes the flight of the woman in verse 6. The reason for this jump over the gap is due to the fact that John is simply dealing with God's dealings with Israel. The flight of the woman in this verse does not take place until after the war in heaven, in the middle of the week.

A War in Heaven

The war in heaven begins by the attempt to expel Satan or the dragon from the heavenly. These verses are not describing the fall of Satan at the time of his rebellion. This is clearly taught in the scriptures, for Satan up to this point has liberty to go to and fro on the earth and even into heaven. We know that he came into the Garden of Eden in the days of Adam and we even see him approach God in heaven in the days to Job.

Since this war, and casting out of Satan, is not the casting out that took place many years ago. It is safe to assume that there must have been something new that started this war. Many, as well as myself, believe that this war could very well be started by the rapture of the church. When the church leaves this world we will go directly through the domain of Satan in the heavens. As the church is raptured, Michael will withhold Satan and his forces, and prevent them from disrupting the departure of the saints. As a result, war will begin to brew in the air.

This has happened before, therefore why could it not happen again. You ask, when did this happen before? In the book of Daniel chapter 10 we are told that God sent a message to Daniel by his messenger Gabriel. Gabriel was not able to deliver the message however because he was hindered by Satan. Therefore Michael came and fought with Satan allowing the message to be delivered to Daniel.

Michael overcomes Satan and cast him to the earth. As the dragon is cast down there will be great rejoicing in heaven, but it brings woe to those on the earth.  The dragon is filled with wrath because he knows that he has but a short time to vent his anger on the inhabitants of the earth. It will not be long until he is chained and placed in the bottomless pit.

When Satan realizes that he has been cast to the earth he immediately begins to persecute the woman (Israel). It is through Israel that Christ came. Notice that Satan will pursue after Israel, but God does not allow him success. God hides His people in the wilderness for the last 3 ½ years of the tribulation.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Testimony of Thankfulness

This week my church had a testimony service on Tuesday night instead of our normal mid week service. To hear all that people were thankful for was a blessing, but one testimony stuck out in my mind. I would like to share this testimony with you on this Thanksgiving Day.

Brother Eddie Witt mentioned in his testimony that he had spoken to a missionary friend of his in Africa. This missionary had told him that in the village he was in it has not rained in a year. These people are drying up, withering away because of the lack of rain and water. Mothers are unable to produce milk to feed their babies and their skin looks like potato chips.

These Africa people mentioned to the missionary that they believe when a person dies they get to go to America. In their mind America is heaven. They say that in America you can find more food in any garbage can than they have to eat. In America you can find better clothes in a garbage can than they have to wear. They dream of America because in America people actually put furniture on the side of the road to throw it away. Their heaven is the things that you and I consider trash.

I can’t get this off of my mind. I have been so blessed, and don’t even realize it. In the midst of what we call hard times we lose sight of the many blessings that God pours out to us every day. So, with that said, I would like to tell you some things that I am thankful for.

  • I am thankful for my family. God has blessed me with wife. I have a beautiful wife that loves me and cares for me. I have two healthy children. They can be rotten sometimes but they are a blessing in my life.
  • I am thankful for my church. God has surrounded me with a group of people that love God and have a desire to serve Him.
  • I am thankful for my job. Many of Americans have found themselves without work this year, but I still have a job to go to.
  • I am thankful for my parents. My parents have been raising me for 32 years now. I can’t tell you how much they mean to me, how much they have done for my family.
  • I am thankful for my wife’s parents. Many of you are not able to enjoy the company of your in-laws, but I can. They are a blessing in my life.
  • I am thankful most of all for my salvation. Almost two thousand years ago God wrapped Himself in flesh, came to this earth, and died for my sins.

I could go on and on. I have health, happiness, a home and there is not a day I go hungry. God has been good to me. How about you?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What's Your Dream?

Allow me to ask you a question. Have you ever had a vision? I’m not talking about the “I saw an angel standing at the foot of my bed” vision. I’m talking about the type of vision when you allow yourself to view your life, your church, and your ministry years down the road. If you answered this question “no” then you should.

The scriptures teach us that “where there is no vision, the people perish.” God wants His children to have a vision or a dream. The fact is when people and churches quit dreaming they quit evolving. Just think if Thomas Edison hadn’t been a dreamer then we would not have electricity. If Alexander Graham Bell had not been a dreamer then we would not have telephones. If Martin Luther King had not had a dream, then we would still be living in a world divided by segregation.

The same is true in the church. Throughout the history of the church we read of men like Martin Luther, Jonathon Edwards and Billy Graham who all had a dream to see the church grow and change. So, that brings me back to my question, what about you? What about your dreams?

I would like to challenge each of you to take a few moments and prayerfully consider what God wants from you. Where do you want to be in your walk with God three, five or ten years from now? Will you be doing the same things in the same way, or will you being doing more, accomplishing more? What about your church? What will your church look like in three, five or ten years?

While you consider these things, let me suggest an exercise that will help. I would like for you to take a piece of paper and draw a straight line. At one end make a mark and write “birth”. If you would like you can put your birthday next to the mark that says birth. On the other end of the line make a mark and write “death.” We don’t know the day we will die so don’t write a date there. Next, I want you to consider where you are on this line and make a third mark. So my line may look something like this:

Once this is done I would like for you to look at the line between your current life and death. This space represents the rest of your life. Now ask yourself the question “What can I do to make the rest of my life a success?” You can’t go back and change the left segment of that line, but you can change the right.

Let me encourage you to dream big when you are dreaming. A young boy was out one night with his bb gun when his friend asks him, “What are you doing?” The young boy replied “I’m shooting at the moon.” His friend mockingly said “Don’t you know your never reach it.” The young man replied “Well I’m getting closer than you are.” It cost you no more to dream big. One preacher said that if your dreams are not impossible in your eyes, then they may be insulting in God’s eyes. Dream big!

Lastly let me give you a word of warning. Any time someone has a dream, someone else will come by and try to squash that dream. The fact is that some people just don’t like it when you try to grow. Joseph’s brothers hated him because of his dreams. Christ was hated because of His vision of the church. This is very disappointing. You get all excited, you are ready to move forward for God and then someone comes along and tries to squash your enthusiasm. Don’t let it happen. Joseph didn’t let his brothers stop him from trusting God. Christ did not let the hypocrites stop Him from accomplishing His goal at Calvary.

I challenge you to get alone with God, let Him give you a godly vision, and then get busy. It might amaze you what God has in store for your life.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Why me?

Have you ever asked yourself the question “Why do bad things happen to good people?” I’m sure that you have. We have all had times in our Christian life when something has happened that causes us to ask “why me?”

This is even more confusing when it seems that you are doing everything right. You are attending church, paying your tithes, living a godly life and then all of a sudden “BAM” trouble hits. This is something that Christian people have been struggling with for years. It makes sense to us when someone that is missing church and living like the devil has problems, but not when it seems like they (we) are doing right.

I have been going through a similar situation lately in my life. My main job is in retail sales. As you can imagine retail sales have not been great lately with the economy as it is. This has had an impact on me and my family. I haven’t been missing church, I pay my tithes, I teach a bible school class, but I am having a difficult time. (I am saying this not for you to feel sorry for me, but that maybe I can help someone else.)

This is not the first time I have had ups and downs in my life. This time I have determined though not to handle the situation with a bad attitude (that has been hard). In the past I have become depressed and angry with my circumstances, and even become angry with God. Before you look down on me for this remembers that happens to all of us. Even the great Job complained that the suffering God brought into his life was not fair. Job complained that God’s judgment was too much, and that God would not even allow him to catch his breath.

Let me point out a few things that will maybe help you if you are going through a tough time. (Maybe these things will help both of us.)
  1. God never makes a mistake. There is a reason for this trouble in your life. God doesn't do anything by accident.
  2. God is not overlooking your situation. God knows right where you are and what you are struggling with. It may not seem like it sometimes, but He knows. There was a time during Job's suffering that he could not seem to find God. Job stated that even when he didn't know where God was, God knew where he was.
  3. One of God’s greatest blessings is the blessing of suffering. Each and every great character in the bible suffered at some point. You will learn more about God’s love and grace during times of suffering than any other time in your life. (See Romans 5:3-5)
  4. One day this will all be worth it. If God allows suffering to come into your life, He will bring you through it. Job was blessed with twice as much as God took away from him. Christ had to suffer the cross before He could purchase the church. Joseph was sold into slavery and imprisoned before he was a ruler in Egypt. It will be worth it one day.

Allow me to say one more thing before I finish. It is not wrong to ask “why.” It’s not even wrong to ask God “why.” Jesus asked while hanging on the cross “My God, My God WHY hast thou forsaken me?” At the same time we must be careful not to become angry with God. Please trust Him. God has not abandoned you. If He brought this into your life it was not without a purpose. In the end you will be better off than if you would have never suffered at all. You may not be able to see it right now, but one day you (we) will.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Two Witnesses, Who are they?

Revelation Chapter 11

The eleventh chapter of the book of Revelation is one of the most debated in the entire book. The identity of the two witnesses is something that has been haggled over by many men much wiser than me. In this post I intend to explain who these two men are, it seems pretty simple to me, and what their job will be.

Beginning in verse three we are introduced to these two witnesses. The bible teaches that they are to prophesy for 1,260 days. Doing the math that is equal to 42 months or 3 ½ years. These men will therefore prophesy for the last 3 ½ years of the tribulation period, commonly referred to as the “great tribulation.”

When these two men come, they prophesy of the coming judgment of God. In the Bible sackcloth and ashes always spoke of repentance, and that is exactly what God is demanding.

The big question is "Who are these two witnesses?" Well let me first say that these two witnesses are men. They are not systems, churches or a body of witnesses. These two are said to prophesy in sackcloth, which cannot be said for a system or church.


Firstly we are told that these two have power to shut up heaven so that it does not rain during the days of their prophecy. I believe that this therefore can refer to none other than Elijah. Elijah had power to shut up heaven so that it did not rain in the days of Ahab. And you can guess how long he shut up heaven. That's right 3 1/2 years according to I Kings 17:1. This is the same length of time that these two witnesses are to prophesy.

“Elijah 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.”   James 5:17

This is nothing new. It is simply a repeat performance for Elijah. You will remember the first time Elijah shut heaven was for the purpose of proving who was God. Elijah and the prophets of Baal had a contest to prove who was God. Was Jehovah God or was Baal god. The same is true during this time. Who is God? Is Jehovah God or is Antichrist god?

The prophet Malachi also prophesied and told of the second coming of Elijah.

“Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the LORD, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.”   Mal. 3:1

“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:”    Mal. 4:5

Many say that the prophecy of Elijah was fulfilled in John the Baptist, so let us talk about that. It is very clear that since the prophet Malachi said that Elijah would come just before the "great and dreadful day of the Lord." John the Baptist did not fulfill this prophecy.

When John came we know that he preached the first coming of Jesus Christ, but after his preaching there was no great and dreadful day of the Lord. Therefore this coming of Elijah must still yet be future. The great and dreadful day of the Lord will follow the prophecy of these two witnesses.

Further proof that John was not Elijah is found by the words of John himself. When the Jews came to John they ask him "Who art thou?" As we see in the scriptures John confessed - "I am not the Christ." And then they asked him, "What then? Art thou Elijah?" And he said - "I am not." It is clear from John's answer to these questions that he was not Elijah.

According to Malachi's prophecy Elijah is to come and fulfill all things. This John did not do. This makes it abundantly clear that Elijah is yet to come. Elijah is to come just before the great and dreadful day of the Lord. Elijah will be one of the two witnesses and just as in the days of Ahab the king Elijah will shut up heaven and will not allow it to rain for 3 1/2 years.


Many say that Enoch will be the other witness. They say this because he was translated and did not die, like Elijah. They say that since he did not die he must come to earth so he can then die.

They say it could not be someone else who had already died. This is not good proof however, for if Lazarus could be raised from the dead and then die again then why could not someone else?

I believe the second witness will be Moses. The Bible tells us that these witnesses are to do two things. One they are to shut up heaven and not allow it to rain, and second they are to have power over the waters to turn them into blood and to smite the earth with plagues as often as they want.

We know from the scripture that Moses is the one that God allowed to turn the water to blood and smite Egypt with plagues. We are not told that Enoch had such power. These two witnesses will be Moses and Elijah.

It is worth noting that the title of these two is "my two witnesses." This seems to imply that the job of these two is witnessing. If you will recall on the Mount of Transfiguration there were two men that witnessed.

“And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elijah talking with him.”   Matthew 17:3

There were also two men (angels) that witnessed at the tomb of Christ to the women who came to anoint the body of Christ. They told the women that Jesus was risen. There was two men that witnessed to the Galilean crowd gathered watching Jesus ascend into heaven in the book of Acts. In all three occasions the men were clothed in shining garments. These men may very well have been Moses and Elijah. It seems that God has chosen them for the purpose of witnessing. Why not allow them to do what they have done on other occasions, witness?

The job to be done

These two witnesses are to prophesy for 3 1/2 years and we are told that during that time they will be immune to death. In fact if any man tries to harm them, the Bible says that fire will proceed out of their mouth and devour their enemies. Can you imagine large crowds gather around to hear these two men preach? From out of the crowd someone attempts to attack the witnesses, but before they can harm the witnesses fire comes from their mouths and devours them. I wonder how CNN will spin this.

While they are immune to death for 3 ½ years the scripture is clear that they will eventually be killed. When they have finished their work of prophesying the beast will overcome them, will kill them, and will leave them laying dead in the street for three days.

We are told that the Antichrist will make war with them and will kill them. Their dead bodies will lie in the streets for three and one half days. In these days Jerusalem will be called Sodom and Egypt because their character will be like that of Sodom in the days of Lot and Egypt in the days of Moses.

When these men die, the Bible says that they will not suffer their bodies to be buried. They will rejoice over them and send gifts to one another. The reason they are so happy is that these two men tormented them day and night by plagues and their testimony. These people will think that because they killed these men they also killed the law of God and therefore they cannot be punished for their sins.

No doubt this victory over the two witnesses will give Antichrist the added courage he needs to make war with Christ. If he can kill God’s witnesses he will feel like he can kill God himself.

The peoples rejoicing will be short lived. For at the end of three days and a half the spirit of life will come into these men and they will stand upon their feet and great fear shall be upon their enemies. A voice from heaven will be heard saying, "Come up hither" and they will be caught up into heaven in a cloud.

At this same time there will be an earthquake and a tenth part of the city will be destroyed and 7,000 of its inhabitants will die. The people will repent, but their repentance is short lived, like that of Pharaoh in the days of the Egyptian plagues.

The chapter ends with the blowing of the seventh trumpet. When this trumpet blows the earth will tremble and shake like it did when the seventh seal was broken, and like it will do when the seventh vial of judgment is poured out.

If you would like to watch this lesson taught live click the link:

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Are you tired?

This week our church has been in revival. We have had a wonderful service both Monday and Tuesday nights. In both services I have had a thought on my heart that I feel like sharing with you.

In 2 Thessalonians 3:13 Paul warns again being “weary in well doing.” This thought has gone through my mind several times over the last couple of days. The reason I have been thinking about this statement is because it has happened to me. Before you look down on me for this you must realize that it is possible that this could be said for the majority of the church.

The more I think about being weary in well doing the more I realize that this may be one of the biggest problems the church faces today. I know that churches have to deal with sin, suffering and sorrow. I really believe however that if most churches would examine the members and the church as a whole they would have to say that they are just tired. We do the same things over and over again, and while these things are good, we many times find ourselves in a rut of ritualism.

Another problem with becoming weary is that many times when you grow weary you also grow critical. Have you ever noticed that when someone grows older or sick many times they also grow critical? This is not true in every case but we have all joked about the old man standing on his front porch telling the kids to get off his lawn. I’ve experienced in my own family how that being weary in body can change your outlook on life and make you more critical than you would normally be.

It is no different in the church. When we grow tired we grow critical. Something that normally would not trouble us will cause us to be critical. When you are weary in well doing you are more prone to see the problems in everyone else’s life. Again this is not a hard rule, but I believe if we were honest with ourselves we would admit that this is the case most of the time.

The trouble with growing weary in well doing is that most of the time you don’t realize it when it happens. It happens so gradually that you never see it coming. If someone gets into sin and does something wrong, they immediately know they have messed up. It’s not that way with growing weary. Another problem is that when we do realize it, we are in such a rut that we don’t always want to get out. You would be surprised how many people know that they are weary in well doing, but they don’t care to do anything about it.

I don’t know, maybe it’s just me who feels these things. Maybe it’s just me who gets into this rut. Maybe you are on the mountain all of the time, but I doubt it. Let me tell this from experience. When you finally get to the point where you are ready to do something about the weariness in your life God will be there to help you. One of the greatest blessings in the Bible is the blessing that Jesus became a man. In becoming a man He experienced the same afflictions we face today. Jesus knows what it is like to be weary; He understands where you are at in your life. Be assured that when you finally decide to do something about the rut you are in, God will give you the help you need.

Why don’t you ask Him right now to help you?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Mighty Angel with a Little Book

Revelation Chapter 10

Beginning with chapter ten there is a lull between the sixth and seventh trumpet blasts. This is similar to the lull that we found between the sixth and seventh seal judgments. In this chapter a mighty angel comes down to the earth with a little book in his hand.

In chapter nine we also see an angel come down from heaven having the key to the bottomless pit. In that chapter I said that there was no proof, or reason to say that the angel was anything other than just what the scriptures said it was, an angel. However in chapter ten I believe there is enough evidence to identify this angel. There is very little doubt that this angel is Christ. Let me mention a few proofs.

Many times in the scriptures Christ was referred to as an angel. Christ was the angel that wrestled with Jacob. He was the angel that walked with the Hebrew boys in the fiery furnace. There are many other examples we could give, but the point is that it is nothing new for the scripture to refer to Christ as an angel.
The description of this angel is very similar to the description of Christ found in chapter one. This angel is clothed in white, has a rainbow around his head, and his feet are like fire. No normal angel in the Bible was ever described in that manner.
When this angel cries out it is like the cry of a lion. John has referred to Christ as the “Lion of the tribe of Judah” in chapter five.
The most substantial proof is actually found in the next chapter. In chapter eleven this angel refers to the two witnesses as “MY two witnesses.” Therefore this angel must be Christ.

Now that we have identified the angel let us see if we can identify the book He holds in his hand. Some claim that this “little book” is Christ’s title deed to the earth. I do not believe this to be the case. First of all why would Christ give His title deed to John? Secondly, if the seven sealed book mention in chapters five and six is the title to the earth then it would seem strange to describe it as a “little book”. The seven sealed book takes years to open so it must be a large book.  Lastly, a title deed would not have the kind of effect of John that this book does.

I believe that this book is the book of Daniel. As Daniel completed the writing of his book the Lord told him to seal up the book until the time of the end.

“But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased. And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.”   Daniel 12:4, 9

We see this to be true in that this little book must contain something that will assist John in prophesying or in his work as a prophet.

We also note that the angel tells John that the book will be sweet as honey in his mouth, but bitter in his belly. As John begins to read the book of Daniel it is sweet in his mouth, for he sees the deliverance of his people and the reign of Christ in his kingdom and the final victory of the Lamb. But as John begins to study the book it becomes bitter, for he realizes that his people will have to suffer. They will suffer under the reign of Antichrist and under the judgment of God.

After John takes the book and reads it (digests it) we are told that seven thunders speak. John is forbidden to write what the thunders said; therefore it would be silly of us to speculate on this point.

As the chapter comes to a close John witnesses the angel proclaim that “time will be no longer.” This proclamation is that there will be no longer delay. The greatest of God’s judgments are about to be unleashed upon the earth. This will be the most terrible time in all of history to live. I’m glad I will not be here. How about you?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Woe, Woe, Woe

Revelation Chapter 9

As Revelation chapter 8 ends we witness an angel flying through the midst of heaven proclaiming three woes to the inhabitants of the earth. Beginning in chapter 9 we are given the first woe, and the beginning of the second woe. It will not be until chapter 12 that the final woe is come. Let us now look at some (in my opinion) most terrible judgments that will come during these seven years of tribulation.

First Woe (Fifth Trumpet)

When chapter nine begins we witness a “star” falling from the sky. The fact that this is not a literal star is pretty obvious. The fact that this star, or angel, falls from heaven does not imply that the angel is a fallen angel or Satan himself as some would imply. John simply is saying that this star descended from heaven at a rapid rate, so as to appear to be falling.

This is the same star angel found in chapter 20:1-3. The angel in chapter 20 is seen coming down from heaven with the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. The angel binds Satan and casts him into the pit for 1,000 years. The work of both angels is the same, to unlock and lock the bottomless pit.

There is a great deal of speculation as to who the angel of verse one is. I think that it is not important, and does not add to the importance of the scriptures. There is little doubt that this angel is not Satan, and I do not believe he is Christ. This more than likely is an angel that has been tasked with opening and sealing the bottomless pit.

The “bottomless pit” mentioned in these verses is not hell, nor is it Hades. This is a place where wicked, disembodied spirits are held. In the New Testament this bottomless pit is also referred to as the “abyss”. This place is so terrible that when Christ cast the demons out of the maniac in Luke 8 the demons begged Christ not to send them into the “abyss”. They would rather have embodied a group of pigs than to go to this terrible “abyss.”

When the angel opens the bottomless pit a group of demon locust comes forth. These are not ordinary locust. We know this because they were a combination of horse, man, woman, lion and scorpion.

These terrible creatures are instructed to torment those who do not have the seal of God on their forehead. This torment is so great that it lasts for five months. During this time of suffering men and women will be in so much pain that they will desire to die, but death will not be allowed. Can you imagine suffering pain so great that you wish you could just die and end it all, but death will not come?

These locusts have a king over them. The name of this king is “Apollyon” which means “The Destroyer.” Since Satan is not called by this name in the scriptures, this cannot be their king. Instead this demon is simply the king of the bottomless pit.

Second Woe (Sixth Trumpet)
When this trumpet blows four wicked angels are loosed. We know they are wicked angels because up until this point they have been bound. These four angels are the leaders of 200 million demonic horsemen. We can assume that they have been bound near the river Euphrates, where Satan’s seat was in ancient days, and where the New Babylon will stand.

Again these are not ordinary horses. Their heads were as the head of a lion, their tails like serpents and smoke, fire and brimstone comes out of their mouth. The invasion of this cavalry will leave behind millions of dead for they are commanded to kill 1/3 of all living. They will kill around one billion people. Men will die either by being burnt to death by fire, by suffocating on the smoke or by the sting of the serpent like tail.

They are sent to punish men for their idolatry, demon worship, murder, sorcery, fornication and theft. The staggering thing is that the men who are not killed still are unwilling to repent of their sins.

This is amazing for we have seen the release of 13 judgments, seven seals, and six trumpets. One would think that after experiencing these judgments men would begin to think of eternity, but this is not so, they continue to rebel. We are told in the word of God that men will not repent of their sins even after they have been placed into hell. In hell they continue to gnash their teeth and wail out against God. They are angry with Him and are not willing to repent.

These verses tell us of five sins that man would rather hold onto than turn to the Lord.

1.      Occultism – This will be a time of pronounced devil worship. We know that many will fall down and worship the image of the beast, but this is currently seen today. We see the same today however, on our street corners and televisions. What do you think psychics and astrologers are?
2.      Murder – In this day murder becomes a sport, it is pleasurable to them. Today we see the acts of terrorism and hate crimes that people commit without any remorse.
3.      Drug abuse – The word used for sorceries is “pharmicia” and is translated today as pharmacy or pharmaceutical. In all of the Old Testament and in the book of Acts the word sorcery is translated and means witchcraft and should be translated as such. There are five instances however in the New Testament where this word is translated differently.

These next two are interlinked. In an effort to support their drug abuse women will sell their bodies and men will steal.

4.      Fornication
5.      Stealing

What a terrible time to live in. I’m glad I will not be here. How about you?