The Tabernacle, Temple, and Sanctuary: Revelation

Back In Heaven Revelation 14

Revelation 14:1-5 NLTse (1) Then I saw the Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with him were 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. (2) And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of mighty ocean waves or the rolling of loud thunder. It was like the sound of many harpists playing together. (3) This great choir sang a wonderful new song in front of the throne of God and before the four living beings and the twenty-four elders. No one could learn this song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. (4) They have kept themselves as pure as virgins, following the Lamb wherever he goes. They have been purchased from among the people on the earth as a special offering to God and to the Lamb. (5) They have told no lies; they are without blame.

As soon as John saw a vision of the world and those beasts, God immediately switched the scene back to Heaven. What a contrast between Revelation chapter 13 and 14. Which is in fact another rule God used in scripture, contrasts. Contracts may be one of the most difficult things for people to see, but they are used throughout the Bible. In this case, the previous chapter ended with the mark of the beast, while chapter 14 begins with the Lamb standing on Mount Zion. The previous chapter showed visions originating on earth, and from the earth. John is then taken to a vision of 144,000 with His Father’s name in their foreheads. If that isn’t a contrast, I don’t know what one is.

The Tabernacle, Temple, and Sanctuary: Revelation
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The first word in chapter 14 pointed us back to the previous chapter. The word, “then,” tells us, we can’t hope to understand this chapter unless we review the previous chapter. As soon as we do, there is no mistake, John is shown a series of contrasts.

Angels don’t have trouble seeing contrasts. They see them everyday. They see the splendor and peace in Heaven, then they look at this world to see what is going on. In this world, angels see people running around trying to solve problems. In Heaven, there are no problems. That leaves plenty of time to praise God. There is a lesson there we should pay attention to.

People also waste a lot of time trying to explain what the number 144,000 is, and who those people actually are. Is it a literal or symbolic number? As usual, people go to the world for answers. I don’t know any two numbers in the Bible that have received more attention than the numbers 666 and 144,000. The Bible shows those numbers are a contrast. 666 points us to the rule of repetition. Comparing the number 666 found at the end of chapter 13 to the number 144,000 at the beginning of chapter 14, tells us to use the rule of contracts.

The rule of contracts is an extension of the rule of repetition. Words can be the same, similar, related, or contracts. Contracts have something in common with other related words.

It is relatively simple to see contrasts on the surface between Revelation chapter 13 and 14. Chapter 13 is all about this world, is viewed from this world, and takes place in this world. Revelation 14 suddenly shifted to Heaven, a good place to split John’s letter into a new chapter. Beginning a new chapter does not mean it is no longer related to the previous chapter. John wrote one long letter that was broken into chapters generations later.

We also need the end of chapter 12 to show us who those beasts on Revelation 13 follow, the devil. It is evident who the 144,000 in chapter 14 follow, the Lamb, used to symbolize Christ. That is one of the most vivid contracts in the Bible. The mark of the beast and seal of God is another contrast. It seems rather strange when we look at the Christian world to see which one receives more attention. By far, the mark of the beast receives much more attention, has more people teaching about that mark and beast, has more radio programs, Internet videos, TV shows, and sells more books. If you searched the mark of the beast or 666 on the Internet, you would find thousands of links, some having hundreds of thousands of viewers visiting the site. Now we know what John meant when he wrote, “And all the people who belong to this world worshiped the beast. They are the ones whose names were not written in the Book of Life before the world was made–the Book that belongs to the Lamb who was slaughtered.” (Revelation 13:8 NLTse).


 

We have one group that worships God in Heaven, and another group dedicated to hunting down people like that and killing them. The contrasts we are given are designed to examine is a war.

It’s not by mistake or chance Jesus used music and song as a symbol here. Music contains both order and repetition. John tells us, “No one could learn this song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth.” Music and song are a contrast to words coming from the beast, and his barbaric, warlike features.”Then the beast was allowed to speak great blasphemies against God. And he was given authority to do whatever he wanted for forty-two months. And he spoke terrible words of blasphemy against God, slandering his name and his temple–that is, those who live in heaven. And the beast was allowed to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And he was given authority to rule over every tribe and people and language and nation.” (Revelation 13:5-7 NLTse).

People learn by repetition. People will either learn those warlike features the beast is teaching, or the song Jesus teaches. Is the number 144,000 symbolic? Is the beast symbolic? Is the song Jesus teaches symbolic?

When we look at the rhythm of the visions John wrote, we can see a distinct pattern of symbols. Instead of using Christ’s name, John introduced Jesus in symbolic form. To complete the pattern, information following the symbol of the Lamb would also be symbolic. That makes Mount Zion, God’s name written in their foreheads, the new song, and the number 144,000 all symbols.

The roar of the waves and thunder are descriptive words adding to the flavor of the scene John is describing.

John’s description of the people who follow Jesus is a contrast to the people following the beast. Jesus’ followers are compared to virgins. Satan’s followers build monuments to the beast, which is a form of spiritual idolatry.

Those who follow Jesus stay close to Him, and have one leader. Those who follow Satan follow a series of beasts and images, a type of prelude to Babylon, meaning confusion. Jesus’ leadership follows the consistency and order of a song. Easy to learn, soothing to the ears., and something difficult to forget once you learn. Songs have a tendency to create a safe haven. A subject covered in previous chapters by examples that included promises directly from Jesus. On the other hand, the devil uses force and broken promises, seen consistently throughout scripture. Other stories show us the way demons possess people, holding them in spiritual chains.

That leads us up to another concept in the introduction to Revelation 14. The term redeemed and purchased is introduced at this point. We see how Jesus had to pay a price for His followers. Remember the story of the woman who poured oil on Jesus’ feet?

You didn’t greet me with a kiss, but from the time I first came in, she has not stopped kissing my feet. You neglected the courtesy of olive oil to anoint my head, but she has anointed my feet with rare perfume. “I tell you, her sins–and they are many–have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.” Then Jesus said to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven.” (Luke 7:45-48 NLTse).

Those who have been forgiven a lot, are thankful beyond all comprehension. Those who have been forgiven little should be just as thankful. All are a special offering to God and the Lamb.

Another Angel

Revelation 14:6-7 NLTse (6) And I saw another angel flying through the sky, carrying the eternal Good News to proclaim to the people who belong to this world–to every nation, tribe, language, and people. (7) “Fear God,” he shouted. “Give glory to him. For the time has come when he will sit as judge. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and all the springs of water.”

John introduced this angel, some people refer to as the first angle, as another angel. That means, this angel follows another angel. Who was that first angel? A simple search using the word angel in the Book of Revelation shows us who that other angel is.

Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices shouting in heaven: “The world has now become the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever.” The twenty-four elders sitting on their thrones before God fell with their faces to the ground and worshiped him. And they said, “We give thanks to you, Lord God, the Almighty, the one who is and who always was, for now you have assumed your great power and have begun to reign. The nations were filled with wrath, but now the time of your wrath has come. It is time to judge the dead and reward your servants the prophets, as well as your holy people, and all who fear your name, from the least to the greatest. It is time to destroy all who have caused destruction on the earth.” Then, in heaven, the Temple of God was opened and the Ark of his covenant could be seen inside the Temple. Lightning flashed, thunder crashed and roared, and there was an earthquake and a terrible hailstorm. (Revelation 11:15-19 NLTse).

John just gave us a time line to deal with. The actual first angel is the seventh angel to blow a trumpet, making a vital announcement, the judgment process began in Heaven. Then John added details about events leading up to the day the judgment process will begin. That leads to a point in time mentioned later in Revelation chapter 14, which is the end of the judgment period. In other words, a short overview of earth;s history from the beginning to the end of the judgment period.

Many people shun the judgment period, even frowning on any study of the judgment period. Other books in the Bible deal with the judgment process in more detail, and a collection of related prophecies tell us the beginning of the judgment period. John explained how the Judgment period began with the Sanctuary doors opening, the Ark is seen, and Jesus in the form of a slain Lamb is before God. All that is pretty basic information. Jesus is the High Priest, one of the main themes explained in the Book of Hebrews.

That is why Christ did not honor himself by assuming he could become High Priest. No, he was chosen by God, who said to him, “You are my Son. Today I have become your Father.” And in another passage God said to him, “You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.” While Jesus was here on earth, he offered prayers and pleadings, with a loud cry and tears, to the one who could rescue him from death. And God heard his prayers because of his deep reverence for God. Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered. In this way, God qualified him as a perfect High Priest, and he became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey him. And God designated him to be a High Priest in the order of Melchizedek. There is much more we would like to say about this, but it is difficult to explain, especially since you are spiritually dull and don’t seem to listen. You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong. (Hebrews 5:5-14 NLTse).

Jesus as High Priest is something we are supposed to know and teach. That’s why is seems rather odd to hear and see so many people teaching about the mark of the beast when we see instructions telling us what to teach go ignored.

Looking at this with a view from Heaven, we know angels are close to Jesus. Angels watch His every move. They know what Jesus is working on as well as what Jesus had to go through in Heaven and on earth. Angels and the elders in Heaven seated next to God’s throne are another contrast we can learn from. A subject far more important than studying who the devil is and what he is doing on earth.

The first announcement in Revelation 14 is the beginning of the judgment period. What can we tell the world about the judgment period, the trial in Heaven? The angel who followed the seventh trumpet has a message, the eternal Good News. When you think about is, that is a relatively long message. That message is supposed to go out to the whole world. The question is, has it, and was the right message delivered?

The first angel in Revelation 14 has a direct connection to the angel with the seventh trumpet. Both announcements concern the judgment period. Does the world know it is being judged at this very moment, and your name could come up at any minute? What is gong to happen when your name comes up? Is Jesus going to be able to stand up before His Father and tell God about the relationship you have? Or is Jesus going to have to say, he doesn’t know you? How much have you shared with Jesus, and how much does He know about you? How much do you know about Jesus and His role as High Priest?

Second and Third Angels

Revelation 14:8-13 NLTse (8) Then another angel followed him through the sky, shouting, “Babylon is fallen–that great city is fallen–because she made all the nations of the world drink the wine of her passionate immorality.” (9) Then a third angel followed them, shouting, “Anyone who worships the beast and his statue or who accepts his mark on the forehead or on the hand (10) must drink the wine of God’s anger. It has been poured full strength into God’s cup of wrath. And they will be tormented with fire and burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and the Lamb. (11) The smoke of their torment will rise forever and ever, and they will have no relief day or night, for they have worshiped the beast and his statue and have accepted the mark of his name.” (12) This means that God’s holy people must endure persecution patiently, obeying his commands and maintaining their faith in Jesus. (13) And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this down: Blessed are those who die in the Lord from now on. Yes, says the Spirit, they are blessed indeed, for they will rest from their hard work; for their good deeds follow them!”

After the announcement about the beginning of the judgment, another angel followed in what appears to be quick succession, and introduced Babylon as a new symbol. John heard the announcement in his vision, but didn’t see the physical city fall. Based on the study rule of looking back in scripture for an answer, the word immorality points us back to only one place, the dragon in Revelation 12, and the beasts that follow him in Revelation 13. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist or theologian with countless degrees and titles to see what side of the war Babylon is on.

The link to consider is the one between the beginning of the judgment period and the city Babylon falling down. Where does that lead us to? 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. (Revelation 12:7-10 NLTse).

Satan and his angels were cast down to earth. The city Babylon also fell. Babylon was the first world power identified by Daniel. Babylon was represented by the head of gold on the statue in the dream. What does that tell us when the head falls off? The figure still had arms, legs, and feet, and can still cause damage, but it is an idol showing it cannot think, see, hear, or talk. That is very close to another story in the Bible. But the next morning the same thing happened–Dagon had fallen face down before the Ark of the LORD again. This time his head and hands had broken off and were lying in the doorway. Only the trunk of his body was left intact. (1 Samuel 5:4 NLTse).

Israel misused the Ark and lost it to the Philistines, who had no idea what it was, and treated it like any other battle trophy. The Philistines were smart enough to know a powerful God was inside that Ark, and decided to get rid of the Ark before encoring any more damage. The problem was, not many people in Israel actually understood the Ark.

We see the same problem here in Revelation. People don’t understand the Ark, what it represents, or the judgment process involving the Ark. But God is sending angels with perfect understanding to help us. Jesus’ followers explain the details, but are we doing our job?

The third angel added to the first two messages and expounded on the message Jesus’ followers take out to the world, this time with a warning. The message shows, we can’t understand the warning to the world unless we follow basic Bible Study concepts and look back at that beast and the image he made. Does that mean we are supposed to spend countless hours and money studying and telling people all about that beast , his image, the mark, and what the forehead and hand represent? A warning is a warning. A road sign before a sharp curve tells people to slow down to a safe speed. No one posts a sign explaining all the details about that curve, or what would happen if they didn’t slow down. It would take so long to read, people would miss the warning, or face the danger when it was too late.

Babylon has its wine, and so does God. God has a cup of wrath and anger. Why do you think God is angry? Is it because He gave this world a message about His son, the Son who came to this world to explain the plan of salvation, only to see so many people go crazy over details about the beast, its image, and that mark?

We can see a connection between the second angel’s message and the first. That relationship established a connection between the beast and Babylon. When we look at the second message and apply a simple rule of context, seeing, Babylon is fallen, that great city is fallen, we know the information is repeated for a reason. That is a flag telling us to pray about that detail.

There were two Babylons that fell in the Bible. One was the Babylonian world empire that fell to the Medes and Persians that Daniel wrote about. In that story king Belshazzar had a feast.

Many years later King Belshazzar gave a great feast for 1,000 of his nobles, and he drank wine with them. While Belshazzar was drinking the wine, he gave orders to bring in the gold and silver cups that his predecessor, Nebuchadnezzar, had taken from the Temple in Jerusalem. He wanted to drink from them with his nobles, his wives, and his concubines. So they brought these gold cups taken from the Temple, the house of God in Jerusalem, and the king and his nobles, his wives, and his concubines drank from them. While they drank from them they praised their idols made of gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone. Suddenly, they saw the fingers of a human hand writing on the plaster wall of the king’s palace, near the lampstand. The king himself saw the hand as it wrote, and his face turned pale with fright. His knees knocked together in fear and his legs gave way beneath him. (Daniel 5:1-6 NLTse).

King Belshazzar threw a party, and decided to challenge God by praising all kinds of false gods and idols. He did this while a huge army was camped outside the city gates. It was like saying, “I don’t need you God.” The other fall of Babylon was when it was called Babel.

At one time all the people of the world spoke the same language and used the same words. As the people migrated to the east, they found a plain in the land of Babylonia and settled there. They began saying to each other, “Let’s make bricks and harden them with fire.” (In this region bricks were used instead of stone, and tar was used for mortar.) Then they said, “Come, let’s build a great city for ourselves with a tower that reaches into the sky. This will make us famous and keep us from being scattered all over the world.” But the LORD came down to look at the city and the tower the people were building. “Look!” he said. “The people are united, and they all speak the same language. After this, nothing they set out to do will be impossible for them! Come, let’s go down and confuse the people with different languages. Then they won’t be able to understand each other.” In that way, the LORD scattered them all over the world, and they stopped building the city. That is why the city was called Babel, because that is where the LORD confused the people with different languages. In this way he scattered them all over the world. (Genesis 11:1-9 NLTse).

Those people chose to challenge God by building a huge tower just in case God decided to flood the world again. They didn’t believe God’s promise anymore than Belshazzar believed promises God gave to his grandfather, Nebuchadnezzar.

What do those stories have in common? People wanted to trust in their own power, wisdom, and judgment. They wanted to live free from God and all His commands. That began in the garden with Adam and Eve. They wanted to go beyond what God gave them, the entire world. Where did all that come from? The devil.

The devil tempted Eve in the garden. The devil tempted Cain when he made his own from of worship. The devil tempted the people in Babel, and those in Babylon. All of Satan’s temptations led people away from God, leading them to a promise Satan made about a better life, free from God’s restraints. People are still making that mistake today.

People want to come up with a better, more powerful, and more interesting worship service. None of those worship services are in the Bible. Enoch didn’t need any of those services to meet with God. Enoch simply met God, and God appreciated the time and effort. Think about that. Isn’t that what we do when we study scripture with God’s Spirit? We are spending time with God outside of this world. Not wasting time inside this world looking for answers the world has to offer.

The penalty for following after that beast is rather sever. The beast as we know goes right back to the devil and his suggestions. People have to choose to honor and worship God in the prescribed way, or follow the world and their altered suggestions. Is there a proper way to worship God, and if there is a wrong way, what is it?

The Bible contains a lot of information about the Levitical laws, how worship and sacrifices were conducted in the Tabernacle. Kings and priests changed the laws given to Moses, added to them, and at times completely ignored them. That brought on Jerusalem’s fall. Finally Jesus came, died, and reintroduced God’s original plan A, the end of the Levitical priesthood on earth with direct communication and worship of God on His holy mountain, a symbol for Heaven.

“Sir,” the woman said, “you must be a prophet. So tell me, why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it is here at Mount Gerizim, where our ancestors worshiped?” Jesus replied, “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews. But the time is coming–indeed it’s here now–when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:19-24 NLTse).

How do people worship God through or in the Spirit if they insist on using updated versions of the Levitical priesthood placing someone, a human between themselves and God? It cannot happen that way. It was not what Jesus told that woman was coming.

Jesus died to gain the role of High Priest. We have all been given the role of priest, and there is no middle man here in earth in any way, shape, or form. Worship is worship. On the other hand, collecting and distributing funds for ministries is another issue. That involves organization to a certain degree. The apostles saw a need for organization, but that organized committee never had any control over who would minister, how they would minister, or who they would minister to. That was the role of the Holy Spirit. Any variation on that is a man made concept we have to learn to overcome.

But as the believers rapidly multiplied, there were rumblings of discontent. The Greek-speaking believers complained about the Hebrew-speaking believers, saying that their widows were being discriminated against in the daily distribution of food. So the Twelve called a meeting of all the believers. They said, “We apostles should spend our time teaching the word of God, not running a food program. And so, brothers, select seven men who are well respected and are full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will give them this responsibility. Then we apostles can spend our time in prayer and teaching the word.” (Acts 6:1-4 NLTse).

The job was not going to be easy. People who lived to follow the Spirit would often die serving the LORD. Jesus followed the Spirit. People accused Him of taking orders from the devil. Jesus had something they didn’t, a direct connection with God’s throne, and religious leaders didn’t like that. There was too much Jesus could and did expose. Religious leaders looked at the situation and two choices. They could either change, accept Jesus, or get Him out of the way. They soon found out they couldn’t challenge Jesus. So they killed Him.

Son of Man

Revelation 14:14-20 NLTse (14) Then I saw a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was someone like the Son of Man. He had a gold crown on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. (15) Then another angel came from the Temple and shouted to the one sitting on the cloud, “Swing the sickle, for the time of harvest has come; the crop on earth is ripe.” (16) So the one sitting on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the whole earth was harvested. (17) After that, another angel came from the Temple in heaven, and he also had a sharp sickle. (18) Then another angel, who had power to destroy with fire, came from the altar. He shouted to the angel with the sharp sickle, “Swing your sickle now to gather the clusters of grapes from the vines of the earth, for they are ripe for judgment.” (19) So the angel swung his sickle over the earth and loaded the grapes into the great winepress of God’s wrath. (20) The grapes were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed from the winepress in a stream about 180 miles long and as high as a horse’s bridle.

For John the scene quickly changed from watching angels flying over the earth with messages to a vision of Jesus, and another angel coming out of the Holy Sanctuary in Heaven. What a dramatic change. What were all those angels thinking when they saw that sudden change? It was easy for angels to relate to the three angels and their messages. Angels can and have seen everything that happens on this planet, and are capable of telling us when things are about to go bad. Angels in Heaven can see Satan and his angels working in the back ground, and at a moments notice, come to this world to warn or save people. That’s been their role for countless generations, and they are more than happy to do it. One word from God and they are here in a flash with powers we cannot imagine.

The question is, why does Jesus have a crown and a sickle? We have to look back at the last time John saw an image of Jesus in Heaven to understand why this scene changed so quickly. Then I saw a Lamb that looked as if it had been slaughtered, but it was now standing between the throne and the four living beings and among the twenty-four elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which represent the sevenfold Spirit of God that is sent out into every part of the earth. He stepped forward and took the scroll from the right hand of the one sitting on the throne. (Revelation 5:6-7 NLTse).

John saw a lot happen between Jesus presenting Himself to God, opening the scrolls, and coming out of the Holy Sanctuary wearing His crown. Seven seals were opened. Seven trumpets sounded. The earth was attacked, trampled, Satan and his angels were cast down to earth. John saw Jesus’ birth and persecution. We would have to cover a lot of ground to get a complete story of what happened, and everything that led to it. All of that led up to the judgment, which led to Jesus leaving the Sanctuary, crowned as KING of kings.

John saw Jesus on a cloud. It looked like a cloud. It looked like Jesus needed something to support Him and His throne. Millions of angels were around Jesus. It was one of the most important events in Heaven. Something we all should be looking for, and trying to understand. John’s attention was focused on Heaven, and the scene he saw. All Heaven was present, and knew exactly what that scene meant.

The harvest was ripe. Judgment was finished. The High Priest has left the Sanctuary. Satan was a million miles away wondering this world, knowing his time was short. He had little time to make his last stand, or convince the Universe, his ideas would work. The Universe saw what Satan did to God’s Son, and what Satan would do to them if he was in charge and they refused to fall in line. The Universe witnessed what Satan did to this planet, one of God’s perfect creations. How Satan used leaders, then cast them aside the moment they served their purpose. Fill that leader in with new leader easier to control. Satan was full of greed and knew how to push the right buttons in every human being driven by greed. Violence seemed to be the the only way to resolve issues. Dying was a way of life on this planet, something the angels in Heaven never saw before Cain slew his brother. Angels witnessed one scene after another, each more surprising and horrific than the one before it. Angels saw how leaders chose to kill hundreds of thousands of people to sway the thoughts of one man. Angels saw how none of that effected Satan and how he lost all feelings, all respect for life, and the breath of God.

Now it was time to deal with Satan and his followers. Judgment was finished. Every case has been decided. There are no do overs that this world loves to teach about. No final test or examinations. The last generation in this world will not be treated any differently that any other. All the books, movies, and radio shows in the world will not change the judgment process or a single decision made in Heaven. The courtroom scene is over and the plan of salvation enters its next phase.

The Tabernacle, Temple, and Sanctuary: Revelation

The Beast Revelation 13

Revelation 13:1-4 MKJV And I stood on the sand of the sea, and I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns. And on its horns were ten crowns, and on its heads was the name of blasphemy. (2) And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and its feet like those of a bear, and its mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him its power and its seat and great authority. (3) And I saw one of its heads as having been slain to death, and its deadly wound was healed. And all the earth marveled after the beast. (4) And they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast. And they worshiped the beast, saying, Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with it?

In the previous chapter we saw the dragon, the devil standing on the shore of the sea. Now we see a beast rising up from the sea. This shows us how chapter 13 is a continuation of chapter 12. It also shows the beast is directly related to the dragon. When we look at the scene from Heaven’s eyes, we are reminded, Jesus was seen standing on the land and sea with one foot on each. Satan can’t do that. He has some form of restriction. The devil is limited to some extent. So the devil waited until something in his likeness came up out of the sea. They formed an unholy alliance.

Some people look the sea and jump ahead in Revelation to pull out an interpretation for the symbol. Then the angel said to me, “And he says to me, The waters which you saw, where the harlot sits are peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues, (Revelation 17:15 MKJV). But wait. Is this correct? We would have to compare the two chapters to see if they are referring to the same event, or the same beasts using different symbols. At this point previous chapters have shown the land and sea has a relationship to authority. Jesus has authority over all of this world. Satan has restricted authority and is looking for a way around it. When we jump ahead to try to solve riddles, we miss the main lesson the author has been building up to. We have to respect the author and the order He had these visions recorded.

Satan is not a physical dragon, and there is no physical beast that crawled up out of the water to invade the earth. All of those are symbols, and we want to know why God used those symbols to show all the angels in Heaven what was going to happen.

What does the symbol of a beast show angels in Heaven? For one thing, it reinforced the fact, Satan wants to rule everything. He lost Heaven, now he wants total control over everything in the world he was restricted to.

When we see a beast coming out of the water, what on earth can we relate that to? When God created this planet, He gave humans, animals, birds, fish, insects, and even plants the power to reproduce. Satan never had that power, and that was one of the things that upset him in Heaven. He thought God was holding something back. So when Satan makes it appear something came out of the sea, Satan is trying to hide his deficiencies from this world. Satan wants to appear as the great leader and king he established in his own mind. Where does the theory of evolution begin? In the sea. If Satan can’t be a creator, he has to remove that role from God.

That beast had some distinct features. It looked like a leopard. A leopard can lay in the shadows and no one will know he is there until he moves. A leopard is a master of camouflage that relies on shadows. A good description of what that beast represents. That beast is taking attention off Satan so he can work in the shadows while attention is focused on the beast.

The beast had seven heads, ten crowns, and ten horns. The same number of heads, crowns, and horns the dragon had. A clear connection between the dragon and the beast. Satan is creating a beast in his image. Notice another fact the beast points to. The beast is smaller in scale to a dragon. Satan is restricting the beast and its power. In other words, doing the same thing to the beast that God did to Satan.

And four great beasts came up from the sea, different from one another. The first was like a lion and had eagle’s wings. I watched until its wings were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth and made to stand on its feet like a man. And a man’s heart was given to it. And behold another beast, a second, like a bear. And it raised itself up on one side, and it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. And they said this to it: Arise, eat up much flesh. After this I saw, and lo, another, like a leopard, which had four wings of a bird on its back. The beast also had four heads; and rulership was given to it. After this I looked in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, frightening and terrifying, and very strong. And it had great iron teeth; it devoured and broke in pieces, and stamped the rest with its feet. And it was different from all the beasts before it; and it had ten horns. (Daniel 7:3-7 MKJV).

Daniel identified the first beast or world power as Babylon. The second as Persia, and the third as Greece, the exact order of world powers from Babylon to Rome, the forth world power described was an awesome and different type of beast.

The combination of those beasts found in a single beast Satan called out of the sea is another indication showing how Satan wants to control the entire world. Satan gave his beast authority to rule his world. That left Satan free to work in the back ground and use this prophecy and others as smoke screens to cover up his real intent. He was already found guilty in Heaven, somehow he had to hide that from the world.

One of the beasts heads was wounded, then healed. Satan doesn’t have the healing power God and Jesus have, but he has to show the world, he can somehow pull it off. What does every government in this world do? They all claim to have the ability to correct every problem that pops up. Every government in this world plays God to one extent or another. That is one phase of Satan’s plan.

The beast is actually bigger than any world nation. Nations remain as separate governments, but the beast is looked at as being more powerful than any nation. Add that to the art of camouflage, creation, and some type of healing power and what does that all point to? A religious power? We are still fighting a war of words. One of the horns in Daniel’s vision was given the ability to speak. And that horn made a name for itself by misrepresenting God. Why else would Satan create a beast all his own?

Blasphemies

Revelation 13:5Revelation 13:5-10 MKJV (5) And a mouth speaking great things was given to it, and blasphemies. And authority was given to it to continue forty-two months. (6) And it opened its mouth in blasphemy toward God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, and those dwelling in Heaven. (7) And it was given to it to war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given to it over every tribe and tongue and nation. (8) And all dwelling on the earth will worship it, those whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain, from the foundation of the world. (9) If anyone has an ear, let him hear. (10) He who leads into captivity will go into captivity. If anyone will kill with the sword, he must be killed by a sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.

Again we see another reference to that forty-two months, or 1260 years. This shows that chapter 13 is adding information and details to previous chapters in Revelation. Now we can see how this beast will assist Satan in his pursuit of the woman, trampling the holy city, and killing God’s two witnesses.

When we take another look at the witnesses, we can see that God needed witnesses in Heaven when Satan was on trial. There is one part of the story, what Satan did wrong, and another part of the story, what Jesus did to fix this world. The witnesses here in this world were sent here to tell this world what happened in Heaven, and why Satan was cast down to this planet. Information Satan doesn’t want this world to know. So Satan enlists all the help he can get to hide the truth.

The Tabernacle, Temple, and Sanctuary: Revelation
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We can see how Satan created a propaganda machine. It is a war and propaganda is an important weapon. Satan had to hide the truth from this world, so he recruited a beast made up of all the previous world powers to pump out lie after lie. Satan hired a beast with a lot of previous experience in war and propaganda. Not to mention the experience those nations had in creating and controlling religions of all types. When we read those stories and focus on how kings interacted with religions, we see a strange parallel to they way governments interact with religions today.

How did that look to angels in Heaven. Here was this beast on earth who has never been to Heaven, never seen Heaven, wants no contact with Heaven, telling people all about Heaven. How would you like someone you never met spreading vicious rumors about you? God had to show the angels what was going to happen so they were prepared for it when it did happen. God wanted His angels informed and involved.

This is the beast that makes war with God’s people. Other of Satan’s factions join in on the conflict, but this beast takes center stage and carries the blunt of the blame. All the nations follow this beast. Hence that is why the description included attributes of all the world powers. That was Satan’s plan, to control all the world’s powers. He thought he had control over the world and offered all the power, glory, and riches to Jesus. But Jesus knew better, turned down the offer, and showed Satan where he actually stood. To Jesus the powers and riches of this world are nothing. It was the people who mattered.

The Book of Revelation has already shown us how to gather all the information on a subject before scripture will begin to explain scripture. Now we are getting into another phase of study, looking back to other books. When the Bible directs us back to other books, the story in scripture tells us exactly where to look. Using sets of key words, the Bible is written much like a road map of words. Go north on highway 21 until you pass a red barn. After the barn you’ll see a gas station. Turn east at the gas station and continue for three miles. People express directions in words, and so did God in the Bible. Those directions are commonly known as key words. Key words give us direction, and are most often repeated. Key words are words that are the same, similar, or related. At the beginning of Revelation chapter 13 we see a set of related words. Beast is repeated. Beast and dragon are related. Leopard, bear, and lion are all related to beast. In this example those key words point us back to the Book of Daniel. Because this prophecy is so deep, we have to refer to more than one chapter in Daniel to find out where Daniel linked those beasts to kingdoms.


 

Since so many studies have been written and presented on this very popular subject, I am not going to repeat that process. Most Christians have heard a number of explanations on Revelation 13 and its relationship with Daniel. But I am going to show you how those chapters are related and how God confirms their relationship. The Bible has what I term as parallel chapters. One chapter has a prophecy and somewhere its fulfillment is recorded in the Bible. People like to guess at things in the Bible, especially visions, prophecies, and the all time favorite, symbols. Symbols are identified within the story by the same author. But like Revelation, it is one long story and people don’t have the patients to read the entire story and give the Bible time to reveal the answers. In a way Revelation 13 is a prophecy showing how people will study scripture as the time for this world draws to a close.

The concept of parallel chapters, key words, and links between stories and chapters in the Bible has been around for a very long time. Martin Luther developed a basic method of study using key words. Others who followed Luther learned how to look deeper and deeper into scripture. Not long after the Bible was translated from Latin to more useful languages, the Spirit revealed how words link stories, and men worked long and hard hours developing the Concordance. Each Bible translation required its own Concordance. That is why the rule of key words tells us to look at words that are repeated, similar, and related. It didn’t matter what word translators used, when we look for similar or related words, the Spirit is able to place scripture back into the perfect order.

People went back to original Greek and Hebrew manuscripts to translate the Bible into a vast array of languages. It didn’t matter how they translated a Hebrew word, one Bible used one word, another used a similar word with the same meaning. Words may have turned up a little different, but the substance of the sentence was still there. God had all of this planned long before Moses sat down and began writing the first book in the Bible.

When we look at the example comparing Revelation 13 and Daniel, we can see another sign post God used. Compare the introduction of Revelation 13 to Daniel chapter 7.

In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream and visions of his head on his bed. Then he wrote the dream and gave the sum of the matters. Daniel spoke and said, In my vision by night I was looking: and behold, the four winds of the heavens were stirring up the Great Sea. And four great beasts came up from the sea, different from one another. (Daniel 7:1-3 MKJV).

And I stood on the sand of the sea, and I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns. And on its horns were ten crowns, and on its heads was the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and its feet like those of a bear, and its mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him its power and its seat and great authority. (Revelation 13:1-2 MKJV).

Notice how all the beasts came out of the sea? The introduction to every chapter in the Bible explains the main theme in that chapter. When we find two chapters with the same, or similar introductions, we know those two chapters are covering the same theme. In this example it is easy to see how those two chapters add so many details to one another. We can see how those chapters were designed to be placed together, compared, and how one sheds extra light on the other.

People studied like that for hundreds of years. People used to be able to explain how the Bible and God’s Spirit revealed information and connections to them. But how often do we see people doing that? How often do we see people giving credit to God’s Spirit, and explaining how they were led through the scriptures? No one can explain a route they have never traveled.

Look at Revelation chapter 13. It is the only chapter in Revelation that begins on earth. It is also the choice for many people to begin teaching. When I see that happening, I know exactly where it is leading. That teacher received all his knowledge from the world, and they will use the world to present scripture. After reading a few verses out of Revelation chapter 13, they will jump right into history books, the news, or whatever they know. Where is the Spirit? Why can’t people explain how God wrote the Bible, why it is arranged the way it is written, and how the Spirit guides us through script?

Prophecy has become big business. Billions of dollars is spent on books about prophecy, seminars, and of course donations. People need to keep the money rolling in. So every week they need to come up with new exciting stories, a different slant on the same old verse. Today prophets face a lot of competition. The race is on to be the first to hit the airwaves with new interpretations. Does it take to long to explain how the Bible revealed the prophecy, or have those people forgotten how to study?

Speaking out against God is one of the main themes in Revelation chapter 13. John repeated it a number of times to draw our attention to it. Daniel confirmed that fact. Previous chapters in Revelation also lingered on that subject. Now we are faced with a dilemma. When we know this war is focused on a war of words, do we lean on Jesus in Heaven for the weapons we need, or do we look to the world? How can we ever hope to defend ourselves with worldly weapons? We can’t.

Of course this war goes beyond words. In some stories God sent angels to act. One angel killed an entire army in one night. Jesus could have called any number of angels to His side when He was arrested. Angels are always there to help us. But how can we call on an angel if we don’t know the language, or understand their role in this war?

Another Beast

Revelation 13:11-18 MKJV (11) And I saw another beast coming up out of the earth. And it had two horns like a lamb, and he spoke like a dragon. (12) And it exercises all the authority of the first beast before him, and causes the earth and those dwelling in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. (13) And it does great wonders, so that it makes fire come down from the heaven onto the earth in the sight of men. (14) And it deceives those dwelling on the earth, because of the miracles which were given to it to do before the beast, saying to those dwelling on the earth that they should make an image to the beast who had the wound by a sword and lived. (15) And there was given to it to give a spirit to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might both speak, and might cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. (16) And it causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark on their right hand, or in their foreheads, (17) even that not any might buy or sell except those having the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of its name. (18) Here is the wisdom. Let him having reason count the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. And its number is six hundred and sixty-six.

Here is where we see Satan using the people he controls to hide behind. Satan wants to sit in the shadows out of sight. One of his main deceptions is to convince a part of the this world, there is no God. If there is no God, how can there be a devil? Satan knows this, and knows he has to make it appear as if earth is in charge of its own destiny and people control every aspect of life on this planet. How was Satan going to accomplish that? Make people believe they evolved from a lower life form. Evolution came on the scene and millions of people flocked to the theory, praising it as their god. Satan made people believe they were in charge of their own life, their own destiny, and the world.

Governments all over the world took bits and pieces of Satan’s lies and formed compromises. Look to your leaders to solve every problem in the world. All it takes is money. A meteor hits the earth. Develop a plan to shoot them out of the sky. All it takes is money. Rivers overflow and wipe out houses where they never belonged. Build walls and dikes to control the river. All it takes is money. Wars pop up, solve the problem with money one way or another. The planet is polluted, all it takes is money and new laws to solve that problem. Governments are designed to take God out of the picture and collect taxes. The hope governments can solve any problem is an illusion.

Satan hides behind one beast, then another, and another. That’s Satan’s plan. God showed that plan to all the angels in Heaven in a vision. John recorded that vision. God’s angels don’t hide behind anyone. Neither does God, Jesus, or the Spirit. They stand up, show themselves, and take full responsibility. Satan hides behind one image after another that he creates.

We can see how phrases about words and communication are once again repeated. The word worship is also introduced. Most Christians know, Satan has been introducing false forms of worship for some time.

After Cain killed Able, Cain was banished, much like Satan was. Cain asked for a mark, and God gave him one. When we look at Cain’s decedents, we see how they began to introduce their own forms of worship. That was Cain’s original mistake. He wanted to make a different form or worship.

Adam and Eve had other sons, Enoch was one of them. He sought after God one on one. His form or worship was acceptable to God. Enoch had a son and learned about the father and son relationship God wanted. It was simple. On the other hand, Cain’s decedents wanted to build huge structures, one of them used as a symbol making themselves as high and powerful as God. That one didn’t last.

We need to concentrate on the vision of Heaven God wants us to see. There is one Heaven and one love from Heaven. Enoch found it, and God took him to Heaven.

On the other hand, Satan made a million deceptions. Sad to say, people are trying to identify each and every single one of them. Or they are falling for one of Satan’s greatest deceptions, that there is only one deception to look out for.

Since John told us that Satan is involved in creating beasts tied to worship, we have to consider the form of worship angels in Heaven follow. People like to worship in churches. People like to depend on institutions and committees. Satan knows that and uses that to his advantage. Enoch didn’t need a church or a committee to show him the path to Heaven. All Enoch needed was God. That is where angels worship, in God’s presence.

Once we look through the entire chapter in Revelation 13, we can’t help but see Satan creates worship in different flavors to attract different people. But the core value is still the same. The beast that came out of the sea developed a form or religion designed to control people. Other beasts took that idea and used it in different forms. The control remained the same. It is a control lurking in the shadows. A control so camouflaged, people don’t even notice it. As a matter of fact, people worship the control imposed upon them. Satan made control an image, a pillar in his church. People not only worshiped that pillar, they claim it is their salvation.

When we trace back through the history of the church, we can see how Satan recreated the church into a group of people with rules they established as a new and easier path to salvation. A path Enoch never traveled. A path Jesus never walked or talked about. A path none of the apostles followed or wrote about, but a path the world has accepted as normal. Not only normal but mandatory. When people didn’t agree with one church or committee, Satan directed them develop a new church. It was okay with Satan, as long as the members carried the core values of the beast along with them. A few little changes to Satan’s original system of worship didn’t alarm him, as long as they stuck to his original plan of committees and man made rules for worship.

The new beast coming up out of the earth looked like a lamb. That had to remind Heaven about the image of the Lamb that was able to open the seals. And I looked, and lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, amidst the elders, a Lamb stood, as if it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. And He came and took the book out of the right hand of Him sitting on the throne. (Revelation 5:6-7 MKJV).

The main difference was, the Lamb that represented Christ appeared in front of God’s throne. Satan’s lamb came up from concepts Satan developed in this world. Of course Satan had to develop a new set of concepts that appeared to come from Christ, but in fact came from earlier concepts developed by this world. The fact Satan’s lamb had only two horns showed there was a little, but incomplete connection with Heaven. Jesus’ horns had a complete connection with Heaven.

There was no way Satan’s lamb could open or understand those seals, which began a series of visions John and Heaven were shown. So Satan had to develop his own form and methods of interpretation. Satan had no choice but to reply on the world for his information. Satan set out on a plan to create his own little sequence of events that appeared to fit into the prophecies John recorded, but like those two horns, each was incomplete. But the world ate them up faster than Satan could pump them out.

Let’s take a quick review. Satan is the dragon who watched a beast that looks like a leopard coming out of the sea. That beast has markings of all the world powers Daniel described. Another beast comes along, a lamb, a type of counterfeit to Christ, but that lamb came up out of the earth. That lamb made an image, pillar, or some object, more or less an idol of the first beast, and the world followed that image. That image somehow got the power to speak. Back to the war of words.

This series of images brings this world right back to the stone and wooden images talked about in other books. In Heaven’s eyes we appear just as primitive as ancient cultures. Our images may be more sophisticated, more detailed, more appealing, but they are even more deadly than those bought and sold in and around Jerusalem during her glory days.

What kind of statue appears to come to life and talk when viewed from Heaven? The statue is an image of the first beast, made up of all the symbols Daniel used to represent three world powers. But where is the forth represented in that beast? The forth world power was the the one who spoke out against God. Now we have a series of other beasts and images taking over that role. To Heaven it looks like people in this world are doing the same old thing, making the same mistakes, and thinking they are so wise. The fact of the matter is, their self proclaimed spiritual wisdom makes it easier for the devil to deceive them. Here is a beast people should know is bad news. So introduce a not so fierce looking beast people will trust. It says the same things the fierce looking beast said, but it looks harmless, and more acceptable. People get used to the appealing beast. After time, Satan brings back the first beast. Not the real beast but a model of it. People have been so misled, a second look at the first beast now appears appealing. Once again Satan succeeds, and no one knows what is happening.

To get his plan to succeed, Satan needed a smoke screen, a distraction to go along with the camouflage. What better way to distract people than give them a puzzle to solve. People have been wasting a lot of time and money trying to solve the riddle of the number given in Revelation chapter 13. More money has been spent and made on that number than any other number, word, or phrase in the Bible. Movies have been made, books written, and countless sermons preached. People think it has something to do with Roman numerals, an actual stamp on people, social security numbers, computer chips, and countless other things. All of that research has one thing in common, all of it is centered on the earth. People are trying to answer a question posed in the Bible with something from this world, and that is never going to work.

Imagine a religion centered on finding out, or proving who the devil is. Is that crazy or what? But that’s exactly what the world wants to learn. They go as far as calling that worship. If they stood back long enough to take a look at what they were doing, they’d see the transition of those three beasts, and their origin is from the devil. Problem solved. But not for those intent on focusing their attention on a single word, phrase, or number.

By rule, Revelation chapter 13 has an introduction and summation. The introduction tells us the main theme, and the summary sums up the main theme in the chapter. By rule, that number in the summary people are trying to identify is defined by the introduction.

Wisdom is needed here. Let the one with understanding solve the meaning of the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. His number is 666. Then I saw a beast rising up out of the sea. It had seven heads and ten horns, with ten crowns on its horns. And written on each head were names that blasphemed God. This beast looked like a leopard, but it had the feet of a bear and the mouth of a lion! And the dragon gave the beast his own power and throne and great authority.

The answer will not come from any worldly power or wisdom. No matter how much power, glory, and honor the devil promises, it will never come close to the wisdom from Heaven. That is what people have to realize.

The number of the beast is like a test. What does the number do? It repeats. It points to the simple rule of repetition God used to write the entire Bible. Over generations God used prophets from all walks of life from kings to shepherds to write books. They all followed the general rule of repetition to call the readers attention to certain words and phrases, the main theme in the story and lesson. Some people call those keys words. Those are words that are the same, similar, or related. The number 6 is repeated and used to close that chapter and portion of the vision. Whenever we have a question in scripture, we should look back in the chapter, and at the previous chapter for the answer.

The previous chapter told us about the dragon, and identified that dragon as the devil. Then John was shown two other beasts, plus an image of one of those beasts. The word image sets up a relationship with the first beast. We instantly know those beasts and that image are related, one of the criteria used in the rule of repetition. How are those 3 beasts related? They all follow the devil. When God tells us to follow the rule of repetition, tells us we need wisdom, is He telling us He already provided the answer? Or is God telling us to look past Him, to the world for the answer?

Where does the Bible talk about a mark? Cain had a mark. Cain asked for a mark. What did Cain do? He decided to make a few changes to one of God’s simple commands. That’s exactly what Eve did, and Adam followed. All Adam and Eve had to do was follow one simple rule, don’t touch that fruit. The devil had a different idea. The devil made promises he couldn’t fulfill. The devil is still working for the same goal, using the same techniques, and achieving the same results. It is all based on simple repetition. We keep doing the same things, making the same mistakes, and why in this world we would ever expect a different result is beyond me. We all do it. God is simply bringing that point to our attention by using repetition in its simplest form. But people take that clue, change the rules, insert a few standards of their own, and expect to see a successful result. They make the same mistake Adam and Eve made, the same mistake Cain made, and the same mistake we see in dozens of other stories in the Bible. None of those changes to God’s simple form of worship, and easy way of finding answers ever worked. That doesn’t stop people from trying to find short cuts through the path God made for us to reach Heaven.