B oth Haggai and Zechariah throw light on the year 520 and after, when the rebuilding of the Temple was commenced. Haggai was shocked to find that nearly twenty years after Cyrus had allowed the exiles to return, the Temple was still in a ruined state. His description of the poverty of the community (1:6) suggests that the people were too occupied in scraping a bare living to be concerned about it. They used the foundations for sacrifice anyway and were used to seeing them in their burned-out and damaged state. Haggai, however, felt that if they made the effort to rebuild the Temple, God would reward them with the fruits of the earth and the book of Malachi records such blessings in vivid description as if God had opened the windows of heaven. God told Haggai that it would be greater than the old temple. For a detailed description of the Temple read Ezekiel 41-48.
This group of exiles had lived in Babylon which is now Iraq. King Cyrus of Persia had conquered the Babylonians and allowed the Jews to return to their homeland. He told them to build their own Temple but they built an altar and foundation for the Temple and then stopped the work for 16 years. In the year of 520 B.C. Haggai told them it was time for them to finish what they had started. Haggai had showed them that God was angry with them. He cited three examples: Inflation─bad crops─bad weather. Haggai inspired them to get busy on the project and within 4 years it was completed.
The grand theme of the bible is the story of human redemption. This theme is well illustrated by how it is discussed in the first and last books of the bible. l. Genesis begins with creation of the heavens and the earth. Revelation ends with the creation of the new heavens and earth. 2. Genesis begins with man in the garden of Eden. Revelation ends with man back in a garden with the tree of life. 3. In Genesis man meets Satan, is overcome and falls. In Revelation Satan meets the Son of God, is cast out of heaven and stripped of all his authority. 4. In Genesis man is cast out of Eden and deprived of the tree of life. In Revelation the redeemed are invited to eat of the tree of life and live forever. 5. In Genesis is a tree, the fruit of which was the curse of all nations. In Revelation is a tree, the leaves of which are for the healing of all nations. 6. In Genesis we see the beginning of sin, pain, sorrow and death. In Revelation we see the end of sin, pain, sorrow and death. 7. In Genesis we see Satan enter to deceive man and the world. In Revelation Satan is cast out that he may deceive the nations no more. Heaven is pictured as a Holy City. All the cares of this life are over. There will be no sorrow in Heaven. Great joy will abound. This vision is both profound and exciting. Reader you can experience all these joys for the Spirit and the Bride say come!
This is not a description of a renovation or remodeling job. The Bible is explicit about the destruction of heaven and earth. John sees the New Jerusalem not the one located in the holy land but one descending from heaven. In the vision he sees God dwelling among us with no death, mourning, crying or pain. A special announcement is being given from the throne of God; “I AM MAKING EVERYTHING NEW!” God promises all this to the OVERCOMER. The second death is for all unbelieving, vile etc. An angel shows John the Lambs wife–the Holy City Jerusalem. It shined with brilliance like Jasper. It had 12 gates, 12 angels, and inscriptions on the gates of the 12 tribes. The walls had 12 foundations with an inscription of the 12 apostles. The city was 1400 miles square with walls 200 feet high all of which was made of precious stones. God and Christ were there and their brilliance lightened the city. The pearly gates are always open but only the saved can enter. The redeemed will walk on streets of Gold. Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.
In our discussion of the seven seals we disclosed the fall of the Roman Empire. The seventh seal is developed by seven trumpets, and when the last is sounded this announcement is made: "The kingdom of the world is become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ: and He shall reign for ever and ever (Rev. 11:15) Now the real question is what the kingdom of the world became. Did the kingdom of the world go to the Devil or become the kingdom of the Lord? Is this world headed for a better day or headed for the rocks? Did Jesus send us out with a message of despair or a message of hope? Either the gospel is good news or bad news. Either Christ and His kingdom shall triumph or the kingdom of Satan. In this chapter we will find the answer to these questions. We know that "the gospel is the power of God" (Rom 1:16) and that it is the means of Satan's downfall. (Rom. 16:20) Jesus shall reign until every enemy is abolished (I Cor. 15:25,26). Yes Christian friend there is hope for a brighter day and this chapter forecasts such a triumph. Alleluia! We have heretofore described the proclamation of "eternal good tidings" (Rev. 14:6,7). This proclamation of the Gospel has been committed to the church. Therefore, the idea of an angel "flying through the midst of heaven proclaiming the word to every nation and tribe and tongue and people." must have reference to an effort to evangelize the world by means of telstar and other satellite communications used by the people of God to proclaim the gospel. In the previous chapter (19:11-16) we have the following description: A rider on a white horse, followed by warriors “clothed in fine linen, white and pure,” a sword is protruding from the mouth of the rider on the horse. This sword is the word by which he will smite the Nations and take rule of the world resulting in the fall of “Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and of the Abominations of the Earth” (17:5). We have already described the power and the Roman Catholic church. The False Prophet of which we have described as Mohammed, these two powers along with the Kings of the Earth are described as being overthrown. The nations of this earth are doomed because of their misrule, because they supported these beastly institutions. Evidence of that fact at present is the diplomatic relation between the Vatican and all civilized nations. The Devil is arrested and incarcerated. He is sentenced without parole for a thousand years. Our Lord spoke of Satan's defeat as a result of preaching by the seventy (Luke `10:17,18). In Rev. 12:10-11, Satan (who is called the dragon with seven heads and ten horns) is overcome by three means–the blood of Christ, the testimony of the gospel, and the suffering of the church. Martyrs are reigning with Christ for a thousand years. This is called the first resurrection. After the millennium Satan will be released for a short period. Like most released convicts he is incorrigible and goes out to stir up more trouble but this time God will put him and the false prophet where they belong–in the lake of fire and brimstone to be tormented for ever and ever. In the previous chapter we noted that the beast and the false prophet were already in the lake of fire and brimstone. The general resurrection will then occur in which all the dead will participate. The whole world will be judged and those written in the book of life will experience all that is promised them in the next two chapters. You are now invited to join me in an analysis of the text.
People will be living to witness the destruction of “Babylon The Great”" better known as “union of Church and State.” In the previous chapter and in verses 9,15, 16, 17, men were witnessing the destruction of Romanism. Christ is on the battlefield and her demise is sure. We are informed in this chapter that God “hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand” (ver.2) Heaven’s ruling class of twenty-four elders are shouting Alleluia. We are then told that our Omnipotent God reigns! He is elsewhere described as Omnific, Omnipresent, and Omniscient. Our God invites us to the “Marriage supper of the Lamb.” This scene is anticipatory; the full vision is reserved for chapter 21. We are now told of a warfare waged by the one who is called Faithful and True: with eyes like as of fire and many crowns on his head and wearing a vesture dipped in the blood of his enemies and his name is called The Word of God. This will be warfare in defense of truth. During this great period of time He will smite the nations; and rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the enemies of truth like grapes in a winepress. Will you join me as we gather at the supper of the great God? Verse twenty tells us that the Beast (Papal Powers) and the false prophet (Mohammedan Powers) are captured and reserved for severer fate than death on the battlefield. The scene ends with God casting them into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. Join me with an exposition and analysis of the very verses that describe these scenes. I will give you a tour of the battlefield where the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but spiritual.
The great blasphemer is now receiving her retribution from a just and holy God. She was the hold of every foul and unclean bird and the habitation of demons. To the student of history the Vatican is the headquarters of the rottenest and most corrupt acts in history. Our God is seen saying, “come out of her…do not partake of her sins.” There is nothing holy about the “holy Catholic church.” God is going to pour out his judgment double unto her. The sentence is pronounced and execution is certain. She is going into hell at last. She must pay for her involvement in killing saints and prophets and trafficking in the souls of men. Well! God had a score to settle with the old “mother of harlots” and in this chapter he tells us about it. Read on brother and sister!
Come with me and I will introduce you to the harlot. She is drunk (not with intoxicants, but with the blood of saints). She is on a scarlet colored beast. No one can take a picture of her hierarchy without seeing this color. The Catholic church has blasphemed and held out a cup luring people into sin by her indulgences. The ten kingdoms of Europe helped the Catholic church who opposed God's people. Many people were bamboozled and hoodwinked by this religion of whom God declares does not have eternal life. It was such a riddle and mystery that even the apostle wondered with great admiration. John tells us that the beast he saw was the ten kingdoms of Europe and that they would give the Catholic church their power for a period of time and then hate her. She would make war with the Lamb and his followers but in the final analysis the ten kingdoms of Europe would finally bring her down. God's word was and is being fulfilled. Alleluia. Daniel the Prophet declared, "And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of times" Dan 7:25. She claims the power to make and unmake kings. She changed the laws respecting the Lord's Supper. She set up images. In l075 Pope Gregory VII declared all clerical marriages invalid. This was the greatest mass divorce in history. She changed times and laws. She changed our calendar. In 1518 Pope Gregory changed our calendar ten days. She changed the l0 commandments. In general she claims absolute control of all religion. The last verse of the chapter tells us that the "Woman" is a "City" which rules over the earth. If this isn't ROME, then please tell me what city he had in mind.
This chapter will give us the detailed accounts of the judgments upon the “beast and its image.” The fourteenth chapter is but a summary of the events while the fifteenth, sixteenth, seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth presents the unfolding of the events. The seventh seal lead us to the overthrow of Paganism–the seven trumpets lead us to the overthrow of the Roman Empire–Now the seven vials lead us to the overthrow of the Beast. Each one of the series of sevens leads up to the fulfillment of an epoch. It is important to understand that the seven bowls of wrath are to be poured upon the “beast with seven heads and ten horns.” She is variously described as the harlot, the great city Babylon, the scarlet adulteress, etc. After the Reformation, which brought untold misery to the Roman Church, she still did not repent but rather asserted that she was infallible. As we look at 2 Thess. 2:9,l0 we are told that she would use signs and wonders, lies and miracles. Now John sees unclean spirits, as it were frogs, coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet." The final triumph will come when the Lord calls her to judgment at Har-Magedon.
The “key” to this chapter is the words “last” (15:1) “seven last plagues,” and the word “completed,” “God's wrath is completed.” This does not, however, mean that the world has come to an end. There is much more to come after the seven bowls of wrath, which we will detail in coming chapters. Please notice that there are saints singing praises because they have gained the victory over the beast (Catholicism). Like the Israelites when they crossed the Red Sea they composed a song and sang because of the victory, the words of the song are as follows: Great and marvelous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are your ways, King of the ages. Who will not fear you, O Lord, and bring glory to your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed. Heaven’s temple is opened and seven angels who are dressed as priests are given seven bowls full of the wrath of God. No one can enter the temple to the place of testimony to avert the judgments of God upon the beast till the last bowl of wrath is poured out.