Parallels in Revelation: Chapters 1-12

Chapter 19 War in Heaven

There is no doubt that Jesus identified the dragon in the vision He showed John. The dragon represents Satan. But how many preachers take the extra moment to show you how the vision identified the symbols it contains? How many preachers show you how Revelation was designed to teach you how to read and understand that book? Not many. Let’s not forget the fact, Satan introduced the monetary system this world uses and depends on. That is the key. The world depends more on the monetary system Satan invented than on the Creator of this world. And Satan knows how to use that money system to control and manipulate people. Especially when they have no idea who is manipulating them, how, or why. That’s why we have to be extra cautious. That’s why it is a lot safer for us to study on our own at Jesus’ feet. We have to learn to put away those worldly sources of information and learn to rely on Heaven for all the answers. One other detail we have to consider. Satan wants nothing more than to hide, remain in the back ground, and not be seen, or identified. So his army of battle horses is gong to flood this earth with lies, half lies, false leads, and empty hope. And he is doing a rather fine job of it.

Revelation 12:7-9 NLTse (7) Then there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon and his angels. (8) And the dragon lost the battle, and he and his angels were forced out of heaven. (9) This great dragon–the ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, the one deceiving the whole world–was thrown down to the earth with all his angels.

We have to realize, Satan was kicked out of Heaven and sentenced to this world where he spends the rest of his life trying to deceive everyone. Satan has more experience than we could imagine. But Satan does not have the Holy Spirit. When Satan interprets scripture he is only guessing. That should help to identify close to 2/3 of the teachers you need to avoid. Guessing at symbols is a sure sign of a distance or void between that person and God’s throne.

Satan was able to deceive a third of the angels in Heaven. Angels who saw God, worshiped God, and talked with God. Angels who saw a perfect Heaven, and understood every letter of God’s law. You may think you are safe with the odds in your favor at 2:1. But you have no idea how often you reject God and His angels. When you reject God and His angels, who do you think steps in to take their place?

Satan has more experience deceiving people than anyone on this planet. We have no idea how many years Satan was allowed to deceive the angels in Heaven. That’s another factor we have to keep on mind. Especially when we hear those theories and watch those movies about a few people out witting the devil after he ceases world power. Based on scripture, that is impossible.

Since we stumbled upon the devil, we should look at a few details about him. But I do not want to enter into a full study about the devil. I have seen far too many people lead downhill with such an obsession.

Parallels in Revelation: Chapters 1-12
Download the eBook here

Isaiah 14:12-21 NLTse “How you are fallen from heaven, O shining star, son of the morning! You have been thrown down to the earth, you who destroyed the nations of the world. (13) For you said to yourself, ‘I will ascend to heaven and set my throne above God’s stars. I will preside on the mountain of the gods far away in the north. (14) I will climb to the highest heavens and be like the Most High.’ (15) Instead, you will be brought down to the place of the dead, down to its lowest depths. (16) Everyone there will stare at you and ask, ‘Can this be the one who shook the earth and made the kingdoms of the world tremble? (17) Is this the one who destroyed the world and made it into a wasteland? Is this the king who demolished the world’s greatest cities and had no mercy on his prisoners?’ (18) “The kings of the nations lie in stately glory, each in his own tomb, (19) but you will be thrown out of your grave like a worthless branch. Like a corpse trampled underfoot, you will be dumped into a mass grave with those killed in battle. You will descend to the pit. (20) You will not be given a proper burial, for you have destroyed your nation and slaughtered your people. The descendants of such an evil person will never again receive honor. (21) Kill this man’s children! Let them die because of their father’s sins! They must not rise and conquer the earth, filling the world with their cities.”

Isaiah was told to record this description of Satan for a reason. Once we see how close Satan was to God, we can see how we have no chance against him on our own. We also see how high Satan had his sights set. He wanted to take God’s throne. No wonder there was a battle in Heaven. Jesus stepped up to defend His Father. That’s what every good son should do. But Jesus defended God by coming to this world to die at Satan’s hands. The Universe had to be shown how far Satan would go. If Satan wanted God’s throne, murder was not out of the question. We can see how Satan loves to destroy nations and all the people in them. There is more.

Revelation 12:10-12 NLTse (10) Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens, “It has come at last– salvation and power and the Kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters has been thrown down to earth– the one who accuses them before our God day and night. (11) And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony. And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die. (12) Therefore, rejoice, O heavens! And you who live in the heavens, rejoice! But terror will come on the earth and the sea, for the devil has come down to you in great anger, knowing that he has little time.”

We can see how John and Isaiah reflected each other’s views on the devil. He is sentenced to this planet and has his sights set on destroying everyone and everything. If Satan can’t rule Heaven, he can at least rule this world. With that in mind, we can see how we have to deal with his distorted idea of power. The more people he can get to follow that distorted version of power, the better he feels about himself. People follow that distorted idea of power without realizing where that idea originated. They don’t read scripture with the Spirit who can explain those details. God uses His power to teach people in this world. Satan uses his power to hide and distort that information.

We also see how Jesus had to use His own blood to defeat Satan. That is far from a normal way of winning a war in this world. In this world wars are won by making more people on the other side shed blood. That is not the case in this war between Jesus and Satan.

Parallels in Revelation: Chapters 1-12
Purchase the paperback here

When we see how different this war between Christ and Satan is, we can see how important it is study the details we are given. It is also important to listen to Jesus, who sees everything happening behind the scenes. What chance do we have against an enemy we can’t see, feel, our touch? We are all but helpless. If we ever plan on winning a single battle, we have no alternative than to take orders from the One who has already defeated the enemy.

When Satan was thrown down to the earth, it was a sign showing how he lost the battle and war in Heaven. For the time being Satan is allowed to torment this world. He will spread out grief and suffering. His main focus will be on those who witness for Jesus. Satan can tell the difference between those who witness based on their own ideas and concepts, and those like John who witness for Jesus based on their visits to Heaven and the information Jesus shared with them. Satan uses man made ideas and flaws to his advantage. Satan finds it easy to plant seeds in the minds of people who don’t believe God and the Holy Spirit communicate with this world. Satan can introduce, formulate, and manipulate ideas. Look what happened in the dark ages when laws were passed telling the world only a select few were capable of reading and understanding scripture. Satan loved those days and would like nothing more than to brings those days back to one degree or another.

What about Jesus’ victory? We have a collection of stories about Jesus’ life and His sacrifices here on this planet. But do we study them enough? The Old Testament is filled with over three hundred prophecies about Jesus and His ministry. What kind of general publishes books about His plans hundreds of years before He puts them into action? Not any General from this planet. Imagine that. Place your plans in a number of books, then enter into a new phase of the war with your greatest enemy. Why did Jesus do that? Was that to impress us or send us a message? How often have you studied those battle plans? How often have you heard people preach about those battle plans? One thing is certain, Jesus’ followers know something about those battle plans and the lessons they teach.

We know very little about that war in Heaven. There are no casualty reports like other stories in the Bible. We have no reports about numbers in the two armies. But we do know Satan had one third of the angles on his side. Jesus must have gathered every other angel in Heaven for that war. No one was neutral. Everyone dedicated their time and effort to the war. We also know God spoke everything into existence in this world. Why was there a physical war in Heaven when God could have put an end to Satan and his followers in a second? There are a number of spiritual weapons mentioned in scripture. Did the angels use weapons? We have no way of knowing. Statues have been made with angels carrying swords. But that information was conjured up by man’s imagination. We know little about Heaven and less about that war that was once fought there. Even placing a date on that war is difficult. Was that war fought before or after Jesus’ sacrifice on this planet? Many details point to after Jesus’ sacrifice and ascension. Wars consist of battles. There may have been a series of battles to win before the final victory was achieved. Revelation offers us some comfort by telling us that Satan and all his followers will be utterly destroyed in the future. That will end sin in the Universe.

There has to be a reason why sin was able to rage in Heaven for a time. Satan was able to build forces to stand against God. To plan on taking God’s throne. Why? Based on accounts in Eden, Satan has a history of promising more. Satan cannot create. There is no account or record of any angel creating anything. Only God and Jesus have been credited with creation. Satan may be able to manipulate what he was given. Which is this world. Scientists have been able to come up with a variety of new and specialized creatures by cross breeding, and more recently, genetics. Was Satan able to manipulate life forms through genetics? Where did weeds, thorns, thistles, and mosquitoes come from? When were insects given the ability to carry diseases? We have seen some manipulations in our generation. Did Satan work through human agencies or is he able to manipulate life forms on his own? We don’t know. At this point we don’t have the answers. We do know it is possible. Look at genetic manipulation on the Internet. Men have been experimenting with that science for years. Some times the results can be beneficial. Sometimes the results are hazardous. There are a number of highly funded research projects in the field of military genetics. It makes sense on the human side to develop super soldiers. But is Satan using that research to one day develop a line of super angels to defend himself and defeat God? Think about that. God waited until Satan gathered one third of the angels in Heaven. If God would have waited any longer, the odds may have turned in Satan’s favor. Of course God could have ended everything with one word or thought. But what if Satan is working on a new plan to manipulate angels and humans? Satan is not giving up until he turns to ashes in that lake of fire. What might we see in the future that points to the last moments before those last seven plagues begin hitting the earth? At least one branch of science may not be too far from the truth.

Revelation 12:13-18 NLTse (13) When the dragon realized that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. (14) But she was given two wings like those of a great eagle so she could fly to the place prepared for her in the wilderness. There she would be cared for and protected from the dragon for a time, times, and half a time. (15) Then the dragon tried to drown the woman with a flood of water that flowed from his mouth. (16) But the earth helped her by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that gushed out from the mouth of the dragon. (17) And the dragon was angry at the woman and declared war against the rest of her children–all who keep God’s commandments and maintain their testimony for Jesus. (18) Then the dragon took his stand on the shore beside the sea.

Based on the information John provided, our best guess can be that Satan was thrown down to earth after Jesus rose from the grave.

She gave birth to a son who was to rule all nations with an iron rod. And her child was snatched away from the dragon and was caught up to God and to his throne.

Then there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon and his angels. And the dragon lost the battle, and he and his angels were forced out of heaven. This great dragon–the ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, the one deceiving the whole world–was thrown down to the earth with all his angels. Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens, “It has come at last– salvation and power and the Kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters has been thrown down to earth– the one who accuses them before our God day and night. And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony. And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die. (Revelation 12:5 NLTse), (Revelation 12:7-11 NLTse)

When we look at the sequence of events, we see a few details that become relevant. Jesus defeated the devil with His blood. That could be taken in the physical sense, but at what time, and what is the exact repercussion for the devil? Satan may have been restricted from Heaven before Christ died. Jesus’ blood may be a sign pointing to the final defeat of Satan, or the evidence God needed to pass a final verdict in Satan’s trial.

From the Book of Job we can see how Satan was allowed to pass between this world and God’s throne for a time. When and if that privilege ended, we have no way of knowing. We do know that God can and will restrict Satan. Why does Satan obey those restrictions? Does Satan understand that he could be destroyed with a single word from God? That would mean that Satan feels fear and has to deal with it. Satan knows his time is coming, but he clings onto life as long as he can. In some ways, Satan has human attributes.

What if God destroyed Satan? What if Satan crossed the line and lost his life? Would this world change? There are a million concepts on temptation. Some believe temptation comes from the devil like we all have a good angel and evil angel telling us what to do, and what not to do. If Satan was destroyed, would that put an end to sin? Or is sin ingrained in men’s minds, and they will continue to sin without the influence of outside sources?

There seems to be a change in symbolism here. At first the woman appears to be a physical woman delivering a physical child through birth. If we compared stories in the Gospels, the woman would have to be Mary giving birth to Jesus. That is physical in nature. But after Jesus returned to Heaven, the symbolism seems to turn take on more of a spiritual tone. Are there other examples of this in Scripture? Of course there are. Moses was a physical man. Moses was also a type of symbol pointing to Christ. So was David and others in the Bible. The same with cities and other locations such as Jerusalem, Babylon, and others. Why not this woman in Revelation?

There is another factor we cannot over look. “When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.” And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home. (John 19:26-27 NLTse). In this scene Jesus not only assigned John the task of taking care of His mother, but also made John part of His family. Joseph had sons from a previous marriage and the Bible does mention the fact, Jesus had brothers who could have taken care of Mary. But Jesus had a good reason for making this request. On the spiritual side, John became the son of the woman that was persecuted by the dragon. And John experienced that persecution first hand. John was a disciple, then an apostle. John worked hard to bring more disciples and apostles to Christ. In essence, John was a living symbol of the people who the dragon waged war against.

I know there is a lot of date setting and details other people read into this section about the dragon pursuing the woman and her offspring. I also know there are a number of churches who take a few words out of this story in Revelation and use them to place a label on their faith and identify themselves as God’s one and only remnant church. But John never wrote a word about a remnant church.

As for those 1260 days. That same number was mentioned in the previous chapter. We can take a look at it to see what details we can find there.

Then I was given a measuring stick, and I was told, “Go and measure the Temple of God and the altar, and count the number of worshipers. But do not measure the outer courtyard, for it has been turned over to the nations. They will trample the holy city for 42 months. And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will be clothed in burlap and will prophesy during those 1,260 days.” (Revelation 11:1-3 NLTse).

In Revelation chapter 12 the woman was protected for 1260 days. God sent down two witnesses for the exact same time period. Is that a coincidence, or are they related? Since the two witnesses represent the Old and New Testament, how are they used to protect the woman? Isn’t the entire book of Revelation written to protect Jesus’ followers? Those who have God’s seal upon them. When we put those two stories together in the sequence they were presented, we can finally make sense of all the conjecture and guesses this world has been feeding Christianity as a whole. The book of Revelation mentions a limited number of symbols and physical items assigned to protect God’s people who are sealed. The alter is a one of those symbols. Being at God’s throne is another location mentioned a number of times in Revelation. Jesus’ blood, is another. Knowledge is a large part of that protection plan. Where we get that knowledge is covered in a number of chapters in Revelation. Chapter 11 identified the Old and New Testament as one of those protective measures. But no where does John write about an institution. Common sense would tells us that churches manipulate God’s Word to attract people. To call them into their church. We know the definition of a church is to call people out. When we look at how a few words have been manipulated and for what purpose, a few questions should cross our minds. If we compare those actions to what we’ve learned while reading Revelation like a book, like it has been written, we can see a cross section of Satan’s forces at work. Take a few words out of Revelation. Tell people how difficult it is to understand a book about prophecy. Give people with advanced training the task of unraveling those prophecies. Make it sound like it takes years of training to understand more than three words in Revelation. Satan does his best to place his own seals on Revelation and the rest of the Bible. Satan never earned the right nor was given the authority to remove a single seal from the book John described in Revelation. That angered Satan. So he created ways of placing his own seals upon the entire book of Revelation. But each of Satan’s seals are fake. Those who have God’s seal can and will see how fake those seals are. They will be like John. God’s seal comes with an angel to stand next to you and explain each and every word, symbol, and event in every one of those stories and visions in Revelation. If those warnings apply to you, you will hear and understand those warnings. If those events coincide with a message you need to deliver, you will understand each and every one of those symbols, the events, and how that event relates to the world around you. Compare Revelation to the other books John has written. John’s Gospel told us about how the Holy Spirit worked behind the scenes in Jesus’ ministry on earth. John’s letters talk about Jesus’ love and concern for this planet. Revelation is no different. It is a combination of Jesus’ love and the Holy Spirit working in your ministry. When your ministry in this world parallels Jesus’ ministry in Heaven, you will know it. You will feel it. You will know Jesus’ true witnesses in a heartbeat. All the doubts and confusion about Revelation will disappear. You will hear God’s voice and feel His seal upon you.

Parallels in Revelation: Chapters 1-12

Chapter 8 How to Approach God’s Throne

I felt I had to take a break from Revelation to add in a sort of educational chapter. After reading and writing about Revelation chapter 4, I asked a number of people if it was still possible to approach God’s throne. For the most part, people didn’t want to answer, or didn’t know the answer. But a few did.

Approaching God’s throne is a personal matter. Each person has their own unique way of approaching God’s throne. Some people skip God’s throne while still meeting personally with Jesus while others grasp onto the theme in Hebrews chapter 4 telling us to, “boldly stand before God’s throne.” Let’s face it, personally talking with God and Jesus have been a rather obscure subject to say the least. Either people will agree or disagree. Few people will look at the subject of approaching God’s throne and a learning opportunity. There are a few, but that is a minority of people. An even smaller minority are those who want to share their moments at God’s throne. Those people are few and far between.

When it comes to direct communication with God, doubters go as far back as Moses. No one heard God’s voice for about 400 years. Then one day this well known figure, who could have, and should have done something about slavery in Egypt when he was next to Pharaoh’s throne shows up dressed like a common shepherd. What happened Moses? You were a prince then disappeared. Now your back here telling us God is going to free us from slavery. Why didn’t you do something about it when you were a prince?

It seems God placed Moses in a tight spot. Moses could have taken action when he was next to Pharaoh’s throne. In a sense, Moses did take action by killing a single Egyptian. That didn’t solve anything. Moses had no idea about the big picture. Maybe God had a plan to use Moses when he was in Pharaoh’s court. We have no way of knowing if Moses altered God’s plan to a certain degree. That will be interesting to find out when we get to Heaven. In the long run, God had a plan that worked. In hindsight, Moses placed himself in a tight spot.

No Israelite in Egypt heard God’s voice for over 400 years. Of course they prayed. If you were a slave, you would be praying to. But God didn’t answer. So when Moses showed up and said he talked with God, people doubted. We are still plagued with that mentality. Try sharing something new with someone who thinks they have a direct line with God. Some people have the attitude, “if God didn’t go through them with a message, that message must have come from the other side.” I’ve run into that mentality many times. I ask them how they communicate with God, and they normally shot back with a few verses about false prophets, which has nothing to do with the subject at hand. But those verses about false prophets is their man made defense mechanism they use for every circumstance they don’t agree with.

Parallels in Revelation: Chapters 1-12
Download the eBook here

It took a few choice miracles or plagues, depending on their point of view to convince people, Moses was meeting with God and delivering messages from God. And then there was Pharaoh. The guy who knew each and every one of those Egyptian gods were fake. He thought he was in control and that God Moses talked about was as fake as the gods Pharaoh and his family made up. Pharaoh was a tough nut to crack. In his world everything outside his control was fake. People still have that mentality today.

Eventually God got Israel out of Egypt and into an environment they could mellow out and think. One day God decided to show Himself to Israel so they could believe He was real and could talk to them. Of course every Israelite that left Egypt with Moses saw all those plagues. They saw Egyptian crops being ruined as their crops flourished. They saw Egyptian cattle dying when not one of their cows or sheep showed any signs of being sick. They saw water turn to blood, hail from from the sky, frogs, locusts, and other bugs controlled by God. They should have had a firm belief in God. Something went wrong. After spending their entire lives learning how to fear every god from A to Z, that fear clung onto Israel like the chains that kept them as slaves. Since they were used to someone telling them what the gods demanded, they asked Moses to play that part as a go between themselves and God.

God offered the priesthood to every Israelite that came out of Egypt. And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. (Exodus 19:6 KJV). They turned down that offer.

We see the same pattern repeated when Jesus began His ministry. And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong. But he passing through the midst of them went his way, (Luke 4:28-30 KJV).

No one seemed to hear God’s voice for a few hundred years between the end of the Old Testament and the beginning of the New Testament. Once again God was silent for a time, and people just thought that pattern would continue. Or they invented new ways to make people think, God spoke to a select few in some mysterious way. So don’t ask for details, just follow their lead.

Parallels in Revelation: Chapters 1-12
Purchase the paperback book here

After the apostles, the same thing happened. No one seemed to hear God’s voice. It seemed the contact with the Holy Spirit Jesus promised was meant for a few choice people, and when they died, this world was left to figure things out on their own. The world grew dark and it seemed it needed a new religious leader. So a group of people got together and selected the most likely candidates God would eventually speak to. One after another was set in solitude to see if they heard God’s voice. After a number of attempts, one man came out of the room and told the committee, he heard God’s voice. That was good enough for that pious committee. They made that man their new leader and created a new religion based on the belief that God talks to one man here in earth, and the rest of the world has to follow dictates from that single man for God to bless this earth. That concept has stuck with this world ever since, and people who don’t fall in line are looked upon as outcasts or part of a cult. The devil won. He convinced the majority of this world that concept of one man between themselves and God was the only choice this world had. For some reason people read the Bible, and instead of taking God’s Word, and following God’s instructions, they decided to take the word of slaves. They decided that the choice that group of slaves made was the only choice. Scholars sipped right over God’s offer to be a nation of priests and clung onto the decision that Israel made. They convinced themselves and much of this world that Israel’s decision was somehow inspired. Reading that story the way it was written shows how Israel rebelled against God. But Satan took out the few words he needed to form a new religion, and had his agents spread it all over the world. Satan thought he had his prison door shut and locked. But God has always been at His best when it came to reaching people in prison.

Today it is rare to find people who approach God’s throne. It is rare to find people who know anything about approaching God’s throne. Or are open minded enough to learn anything about approaching God’s throne. Why is that? We just covered a few of the concepts the devil found to be effective. There are more. Take out a few choice lines in the Old Testament, add in a long speech about how God chose a few choice prophets to talk to, and you have a theology that forges the same chains that one man concept created. In the long run, the devil doesn’t want anyone to approach God’s throne, talk to Jesus, work with the Holy Spirit, or read scripture. Those are a few things the devil fears the most.

As soon as you enter God’s presence, you are in a place the devil can’t touch you. His influence is gone, and you are opening yourself to total, untainted truth. The thing is, you have to learn to put away so many thing this world has taught you. But when you approach God’s throne, you take the first step to separating truth from fiction.

I’ve talked to a number of people over the past week to get their view points on approaching God’s throne. It’s good to know God still has a number of people who will talk to Him. It may seem rather strange to think of God as feeling lonely or rejected. After all, God has billions or requests to deal with from billions of people everyday. God hears their prayers. People ask for favors, blessings, and ask God to deal with countless situations every second of every day. God knows how to deal with each of those situations. If you ever approached God’s throne, you know how God will tell you how to deal with your situation. God will give you step by step instructions you can’t argue with. If you follow those instructions, the problem is solved. The problem is, the devil is watching, and launches a hundred more attacks.

At times God will take you back a few steps to remind you how you got yourself into that mess. God is also a Teacher and Father who never wants you to repeat your mistakes. Correction from God may be a little difficult for some people to accept. That is one reason some people avoid God’s throne. You just have to learn to get over your pride.

I have may own way of approaching God’s throne. It may not be right for you, but at least you have something to think about. I look at Jesus as a way to God’s throne. To me it makes sense to cleanse myself, to make myself pure enough to approach God’s throne. After all, Aaron the high priest had to wash himself and dress in the proper way to enter the Tabernacle and to offer a sacrifice. I ask Jesus to be forgiven for my sins and to be cleansed. Then I find myself in God’s presence. Not so much to make requests, but to listen and learn. I may ask one question, then another. I may go through three or four questions before I hear a response. When I do hear a response, I know it is God’s voice. I could never second guess or argue with any of the answers God offers. They make total sense. God backs them up with stories from scripture. God’s answers are often verified by real life events that confirm His answers and messages.

There are of course as many ways to approach God’s throne as there are people. We all have our own unique personalities. One person may see God’s throne as this, another as that. When we approach God’s throne, we have respect for other people and their stories about being at God’s throne. There is no doubt about that.

The thing about books like Revelation is, people tend to get caught up with trying to figure out the future. That’s something the devil has planted in our brains. The devil wants people to believe, if they can figure out the future, that somehow draws them closer to God. That could not be further from the truth. Common sense tells us, God knows everything about the future. So why would anyone think, God wants us to figure out the future, then tell God what the future holds? That is reverse thinking. It is actually insane. All God wants is people to go to Him for answers. But this world has been trained to go to every other source but God. People have been convinced, God doesn’t talk to this world. But David tells us different story.

The one thing I ask of the LORD– the thing I seek most– is to live in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, delighting in the LORD’s perfections and meditating in his Temple. For he will conceal me there when troubles come; he will hide me in his sanctuary. He will place me out of reach on a high rock. Then I will hold my head high above my enemies who surround me. At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy, singing and praising the LORD with music. Hear me as I pray, O LORD. Be merciful and answer me! My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “LORD, I am coming.” (Psalms 27:4-8 NLTse).

If David could enter God’s Sanctuary, why not us? If God protected David, why not us? God does not play favorites. God can’t love one person more than another. So why does the world teach us, God favors some people over others? That doesn’t make sense when we take the Bible as a whole. It’s time to make a decision. Is your view of God based on what the world wants you to think, what the devil wants you to believe, or direct contact and communication with God? What is our source of information?

Parallels in Revelation: Chapters 1-12

Chapter 12 God’s People are Sealed

Chapter 7 is where the Book of Revelation begins to take a turn. The sixth seal was just opened and described. It is by far the strangest seal with twists and turns all its own. Trying to figure out what a darkened sun, blood moon, falling stars, and an earthquake have in common is not an easy thing to do. For some people it is so easy, they pass through that seal in a nanosecond without ever giving it another thought. But that’s not what we learned from the first five seals, or the first five chapters in Revelation. We learned to take our time. To allow the Bible to provide each and every explanation. We learned how the Bible points us in one direction to find the answer and more than confirmed the answers and interpretation for every symbol.

The Book of Revelation is not much different than any other literary work. Like every other book, it follows a theme. Like every other author, Jesus has His personal style of writing, and sticks to it. Like many other books, Revelation uses symbols to add back ground and meaning to the story. And like every author who uses symbols, those symbols are explained within the story. The author explains what those symbols mean. Why does this world have respect for every other classic novelist, but when it comes to Jesus, that respect flies out the window. It doesn’t make any sense to take any book or novel, take out a few choice sentences, then offer long winded explanations on what they think it means. Or what they think the author should have written. Or what they think the author should have added. Or tell people how some strange culture effected the thought pattern of the author. That explanation is totally ridiculous. But I’ve heard it before. People try to identify John as the author of Revelation. They take Jesus out of the picture. Then they try to present themselves as the authority on the times and society John lived in. Then they try to play psychologist. They make it sound like John had some type of disorder or suffered from illusions. Then they try to tell people what John meant to write. For one thing, they never lived in the time or society John lived in. How could they be the expert they claim to be? To claim Jesus choose a man suffering from some mental illness is utterly ridiculous. Jesus could have cured any type of illness in a second. To make the claim, “John misquoted Jesus,” is the greatest mistake I’ve seen people make. Jesus is the Author of Revelation. Jesus proof read and checked every jot and tittle John penned. There are no mistakes. The inspired Word stands perfect. That is exactly what people have a difficult time understanding. How can this sinful world hope to identify and recognize perfection when it appears? What does this world have to measure against perfection? Nothing. So this world invents new ways to pick apart Revelation and other books in the Bible. This world invents new ways to pick apart, dismantle, question, criticize, and critique each and every word throughout the Bible. No one stands a chance of standing up against an entire book in the Bible. No one can argue with any book in the Bible when it is taken as a whole. So they cut it into little tiny pieces like they are preparing to view it under a microscope. That is nothing but a distraction.

Parallels in Revelation: Chapters 1-12
Download the eBook here

 

 

The most difficult thing for people to do when they approach the Bible is to forget everything they have been taught about the Bible. People cannot lay doctrines, ideas, and concepts aside long enough to read an entire story or scene in the Bible and accept it in the literary form it was written. One popular Bible Study method is called higher criticism. It is so popular and common, they don’t try to hide the fact their study methods are meant to criticize the Bible, its Author, and every inspired word.

I don’t claim to be an expert on higher criticism, nor do I want to be. Talk to twelve people using that method and you’ll wind up with twelve different explanations. They hardly agree with themselves. How are they ever going to agree with God? Take a critic. Any critic. No two critics are going to write the same review on a restaurant, motel, plane flight, book or any product in existence. Why expect a hoard of critics to agree on God’s inspired word?

That form of study is based on human nature, personal experiences, and views. Many of those circumstances are products of the critics choices in life. They created their own life, their personal environment, and life style. They claim to be experts on ancient Hebrew, Greek, Roman, and other cultures. But they never lived in that period or experienced those cultures. Their concepts and ideas are based on books they’ve read, and in many cases, stories based on a few artifacts dug from the ground and accompanied by long winded explanations with few facts to back them up.

Take a rich man. A man who tasted the best in life and excepts the best in every phase of life. Sit him down and put a burger from a fast food chain in front of him. Have him taste that burger, then write a review. Take a homeless man. A man who searches a dumpster for his next meal. Give him the same burger. Will he write the same review as the rich man? No. Views on the Bible based on the higher criticism method show the same results. Whether or not they admit it, their comments are based on the culture they live in. Not some culture they claim to be experts on.

To accept any story in the Bible, we have to know how to leave all the concepts, ideas, and doctrines forged into our heads over the years behind in Egypt and Babylon where they belong. Those were empires famous for forcing religion upon people. Modern Christian religions do the same thing today. They repeat the same ideas over and over again until the masses are convinced, it is the truth. And there is never any reason to research the matter any further. But let’s look a little deeper for a moment. Are those concepts based on scripture? Do they in fact allow scripture to support and verify scripture? Or do they use the age old approach of using one example to show how scripture identified a symbol. Then they switch over to the critical method of their choice, and use methods outside the Bible to make whatever point they want you to believe. It happens all the time. The old bait and switch trick. To be on the safe side, you have to put all of that behind you whenever you open the Bible. You are approaching God’s throne for answers. And this world and its opinions no longer matter.

Parallels in Revelation: Chapters 1-12
Purchase the paperback book here

Revelation 7:1-4 MKJV And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth so that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. (2) And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God. And he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, (3) saying, Do not hurt the earth or the sea or the trees until we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. (4) And I heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred and forty-four thousands, having been sealed out of every tribe of the sons of Israel.

Between the sixth and seventh seal, Jesus inserted another story. Why is there a chapter between the sixth and seventh seals? That has stunned and confused people for a number of years. It confuses me. Some authors use this form of writing to highlight important points they want to emphasize. Why would Jesus be any different?

This chapter begins with the words, “after these things.” Which can be taken in a number of ways. If chapter 6 ended with a sequence of events, this would be the next event to follow. If it was a comment by the author, it would mean that after John saw the vision of the six seals opening, the scene changed and he was introduced to a new vision. That explanation reminds us how Jesus is in control of everything John sees and hears.

John is in Heaven. Looking over the edge of Heaven, so to speak, John sees the earth. Four angels are at four corners holding back something we can’t see, the wind. We can’t see the wind, but we can see effects winds have on this planet. Will there be winds in Heaven? Just a question to ask to help get your mind off what you have been taught about this chapter.

Those winds are identified as, “winds of the earth.” They surround the earth and are placed there to effect the earth. How John was able to see winds, without seeing their effect is a mystery. We can’t see the effects winds have on this world until after they pass. Then we see how the wind moves flags, trees, and at times causes mass destruction. We can feel wind on or skin. At times we can hear wind moving objects. But those winds are being restrained. How do you restrain wind? No man can. So how can any man possibly translate the meaning of those winds based on personal experience? All of mankind’s experiences with wind are based on after effects. John is being shown a scene that includes wind before it is allowed to do its thing. No one on earth has any experience with any type of wind before its creation. We have no choice but to place the interpretation of those winds in Jesus’ hands. What an introduction to a new chapter.

Sticking with the subject of wind, the symbol is interpreted and identified using the simple rule of repetition. The phrases, “to hurt the earth and the sea,” and, “ Do not hurt the earth or the sea or the trees,” identified the four winds. Somehow John caught a glimpse of the damage those winds were about to cause on the earth.

Now that we’ve seen how Jesus arranged this story to introduce and define a symbol, we can look at one of my favorite symbols, God’s seal. It has long intrigued me. Not the symbol itself but the fact, most people waste countless hours studying the mark of the beast, while ignoring God’s seal. It makes me wonder whose side they are on. What is God’s seal? Can we see it?

We have to look at, examine, and respect Jesus’ literary style. He first introduced wind. Something we can’t see, but we see the effects. Jesus then introduced God’s seal. In effect, Jesus defined that seal as something we can’t see, but we can see the effects. That makes sense. What doesn’t make sense is the inability of theologians to explain the simple literary process Jesus used, and how to study and accept that style over all the gibberish we receive from this world.

How do we explain God’s seal? There doesn’t seem to be a lot written about that seal. But when we accept that seal as a symbol of something we can’t see, but we do see the effects, that may be enough to lead us to another story in the Bible. My choice is found in John chapter 3.

John 3:5-8 NLTse Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. (6) Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. (7) So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’ (8) The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.”

Like everything else, when we look at the full story, we get the answers we are looking for. In this case I didn’t include the full story. But I did include Jesus’ answer to one of Nicodemus’ questions.

We are questioning God’s seal. What is God’s seal? We know that seal identifies people who will make it to Heaven. When we looked at another story about wind, we found that story is based on the same context as the Revelation chapter 7, who will enter Heaven’s gates. In John chapter 3, Jesus tells us who. Those who are born of water and the Spirit. We are going no where without the Spirit. As for water. That is another symbol all together. But we can see why the angels are told to hold those winds back from harming the water while the sealing process is on progress. The water has something to do with those who receives God’s seal.

Revelation chapter 7 has a rather long list of tribes with a designated number from each tribe who received God’s seal. Did you notice sealed written in the past tense. Does that mean those people were sealed before the vision? Or does the way it is written give us a new clue?

I know there are a million people who think they figured out what those numbers represent. With so many guesses out there, which one is right? Which one can explain exactly how Jesus defined those numbers. They are His people. Jesus should know. But we have all those people insisting they have an answer. At times they act like those people numbered in Revelation chapter 7 are their people. Some even make that claim. But right after those numbers are listed, Jesus introduced a new number.

Revelation 7:9-10 NLTse (9) After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands. (10) And they were shouting with a mighty shout, “Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne and from the Lamb!”

How could any number of those interpretations be correct when they ignore the sentence directly after that mysterious number? And most of them are not Jews. They are, “from every nation and tribe and people and language.” When people remove facts, they can make anything from the Bible appear as if it supports their concept.

At the very least those people know something about salvation. Wasn’t that what Nicodemus went to talk to Jesus about? Nicodemus knew there was more to salvation than what he had been taught. There was more to salvation then Nicodemus taught. The Spirit was able to make a connection with Nicodemus before that meeting with Jesus. Something was working inside Nicodemus. Something he couldn’t explain. But something Jesus was able to explain. Important facts we have to consider whenever we read the Bible.

Those people from that mass number knew about God’s throne, and were able to sing praises in front of God’s throne. Something a lot of people have a difficult time explaining. Something a lot of people never experienced. But something the Bible explains and John saw scenes of. In this case the number is once again symbolic. The crowd John saw was symbolic. Everything in Revelation chapter 7 is symbolic. And everything is explained when you approach God’s throne.

Revelation 7:11-12 NLTse (11) And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living beings. And they fell before the throne with their faces to the ground and worshiped God. (12) They sang, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and strength belong to our God forever and ever! Amen.”

Jesus added a countless number of angels to that countless number of people in front of God’s throne. Then Jesus listed a specific number of elders and living beings? Why did Jesus use such a wide variety of numbers in such a short space? It could be showing the countless number of people who do know and follow God. It could remind us not to number, and for lack of a better phrase, judge people, or try to determine who is sealed and who isn’t. Those numbers are designed to remind us about a lot of facts.

The song they sung shows us those angels, elders, and beings know something about God. It is very different than the song people from this world sang. A reminder that we have to learn to work with those from Heaven to get the full story.

Revelation 7:13-17 NLTse (13) Then one of the twenty-four elders asked me, “Who are these who are clothed in white? Where did they come from?” (14) And I said to him, “Sir, you are the one who knows.” Then he said to me, “These are the ones who died in the great tribulation. They have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb and made them white. (15) “That is why they stand in front of God’s throne and serve him day and night in his Temple. And he who sits on the throne will give them shelter. (16) They will never again be hungry or thirsty; they will never be scorched by the heat of the sun. (17) For the Lamb on the throne will be their Shepherd. He will lead them to springs of life-giving water. And God will wipe every tear from their eyes.”

To emphasize the cooperation between Heaven and this world, Jesus included an example. John had no idea who those people were. One of those elders had to explain it to John. We have a reliable explanation and interpretation direct from God’s throne. How many times does Jesus have to explain this before it hits home? Jesus knows how difficult it is for some people to let go of this world. Jesus has first hand experience with people like that. They killed them. Jesus had to die to show how He knows about those people and understand them. Jesus also forgave them. There are so many points we had to learn before that seventh seal was opened.