A Prophecy Against the Nations ~ Yesha’yahu 34:1-17

In my last post, we wrapped up A Woe Against Those on Whom the King Will Take Vengeance ~ Part 2 in Yesha’yahu 33:14-24. In this post, we explore A Prophecy Against the Nations in Yesha’yahu 34:1-17.

In Yesha’yahu 34, we see a picture of the Great Tribulation, specifically the battle of Har-Megiddo.

1 Come close, you nations, and listen! Pay close attention, you peoples! Let the earth hear, and everything in it; the world, with all it produces.

The first thing I noticed in this verse was the pluralization of the nation. Adonai is not just the God of Israel. He is the Adonai of the whole world, so He calls on all the nations to hear Him when He speaks. That includes all of us.

2 For Adonai is angry at every nation, furious with all their armies; He has completely destroyed them, handed them over to slaughter. (emphasis added.) 3 Their slain will be thrown out; the stench will rise from their corpses; the mountains will flow with their blood.

Revelation 14:20 tells us that, at the battle of Har-Megiddo, the blood will flow as high as a horse’s bridle. Jeremiah 30 calls this the time of Ya’akov’s trouble, for, in the Tribulation, the nation of Isra’el and all the earth will be shaken to its core in preparation for the coming of the King.

4 The whole host of heaven will decompose, the heavens themselves be rolled up like a scroll; all their array will wither away like a withering grape-leaf that falls from a vine or a withered fig from a fig tree.

Adonai’s warring activity has cosmic implications. The ancient nations thought of the stars as representing their gods. This image in Yesha’yahu of the whole panorama of the sky being rolled up like a parchment scroll is unique in the Hebrew Bible. In Revelation 6:14 we read: “The sky receded like a scroll being rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved from its place.”

5 ‘For my sword has drunk its fill in heaven; now it descends on Edom to judge them, the people I have doomed to destruction.’

Since verses 1-4 are concerned with Adonai’s punishment of the nations, it may be that the description of Edom as a sacrificial victim is simply an example of what will happen to them all. Indeed Edom serves in many cases as Israel’s prototype “enemy.”

6 There is a sword that belongs to Adonai. It is filled with blood, gorged with fat, filled with the blood of lambs and goats, gorged with the fat of the kidneys of rams. For Adonai has a sacrifice in Botzrah, a great slaughter in the land of Edom. 7 The wild oxen will fall with them, the young bulls with the strong, mature ones. Their land will be drunk with blood, and their dust made greasy with fat.

Botzrah is the capital of ancient Edom, present-day Saudi Arabia. Edom is the area where Esau settled. The language of sacrifice is explicit in these verses.

8 For Adonai has a day of vengeance, a year of requital for fighting with Tziyon.

Edom had a reputation for taking advantage of Isra’el whenever Isra’el was weak.

9 Its streams will be changed to tar, its dust to sulfur, its land burning tar 10 that will not be quenched night or day; its smoke will rise forever. In all generations, it will lie waste; no one will pass through it ever again.

Although often mentioned as a sealant material for boats, boiling tar appears in Old Babylonian texts as a form of punishment. Coupled with the foul smell of burning sulfur, both elements being available in the region of the Dead Sea, they could easily be associated with Adonai’s wrath. This punishment is similar to that He had brought against Sodom and Gomorrah.

For years, Bible scholars wondered how an area could burn forever. Now we know – for if a bomb or some other device ignited the vast oil reserves of Saudi Arabia, they would burn forever. Whether a bomb ignites them or they are ignited supernaturally, they will indeed burn. [1]

11 Horned owl and hawk will possess it, screech owl and raven will live there; he will stretch over it the measuring line of confusion and the plumbline of the empty void.

The symbol for utter destruction here is that birds best known as inhabiting and scavenging desolate places have settled in ruins.

12 Of its nobles, none will be called to be king, and all its princes will be nothing.

Edom’s kingship was ancient, predating that of Isra’el, but Adonai will bring that institution to an end since He is bringing the nation itself to a close.

13 Thorns will overgrow its palaces, nettles, and thistles its fortresses; it will become a lair for jackals, an enclosure for ostriches. 14 Wildcats and hyenas will meet there, and billy-goats call to each other; Lilit [the night monster] will lurk there and find herself a place to rest. 15 There the hoot owl will nest, lay her eggs, hatch and gather her young in its shade. There the vultures will assemble, every one with its mate.

The prophecy is that of a city becoming a wilderness. Not only will the public buildings of the nation be overgrown out of neglect, but wild animals – a number of which were considered unclean – will make their homes among the ruins.

16 Consult the book of Adonai and read it: not one of these will be missing, none will be lacking a mate. For by His own mouth He gave the order, and by His Spirit, He brought them together. 17 It is He who cast the lot for them, His hand measured out their shares. They will possess it forever, and live there through all generations.” ~ Isaiah 34:1-17 (CJB)

The meaning of the book of Adonai is unknown. It may be a reference to a heavenly scroll, but if so, it is hard to know how the hearer could refer to this document. The appeal to a scroll could be a rhetorical device to emphasize the certainty of Edom’s destruction and its transformation into a haunt for wild animals.

In my next post, we explore The Joy of the Redeemed in Yesha’hayu 35:1-10.

Click here for the PDF version.

[1] Jon Courson’s Application Commentary Old Testament Volume 2.

The End Times Revisited

Mark 13:1-37
The End Times

Okay, I LIED, again!!  Forgive me??? Somehow, I just can’t leave this topic alone.

I know that we are in a series on the Letter to the Messianic Jews, but God said I should briefly interrupt my schedule to post this. This year, my daily devotion plan includes re-reading the Brit Hadahah one chapter at a time during the week and re-reading one chapter at a time from the historical books in the Tanakh on the weekends.

This morning’s reading was Mark 13:1-37. That, coupled with the fact that I have been thinking a lot about Billy Graham the last several days and listening to snippets of his old sermons on SiriusXM channel 145 as I drive on my errands, prompted me to write this post.

I’m sure most of us know the Rev. Graham preached Christ and the Cross in every sermon he delivered.  His goal was to reach non-believers with the message of salvation.  He didn’t want anyone to be left behind.

Mark 13 is his version of the Olivet Discourse we saw earlier in this and other series I have posted.  Of the thirty-seven verses, only three are not “red letter” verses.  Yeshua is explaining to Kefa, James, Yochanan, and Andrew when and what signs will precede the destruction of the Temple as He said would occur in verse 2.

I would commend you to review this chapter for yourselves. The themes of the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple by the Romans in 70 CE seem to be interwoven with the Final Tribulation and Yeshua’s return.

In my study this morning, I found the following Study Note to be very enlightening:

Some interpreters assign all of Mark 13 to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. Most believe Jesus used the earlier destruction to foreshadow the end times. Some who hold this latter view assign verses 1-13 to the first-century events and verses 14-37 to earth’s last days [This had been my view as expressed in this series]. Others assign verses 1-31 to the first century and verses 32-37 to the end times. However, still, others find an A1-B1-A2-B2 pattern and assign verses 1-13 and 28-31 to the first century and verses 14-27 and 32-37 to the end times. [1]

This last view of the A1-B1-A2-B2 pattern makes much more sense to me.

What saith thou?

[1] HCSB Study Notes.

Reflections On The Revelation of Yeshua HaMassiach to Yochanan

The End Times

Okay, I LIED!!  Forgive me???

I did intend to start a new series on the Letter to the Messianic Jews (Hebrews), but it seemed more appropriate that I wrap up the series on The End Times with my reflections on what I learned from studying this unique Book of Scripture.

For those that have been with me from the beginning of this series, we have been studying one hundred-seven posts on  Revelation since Christmas Day, 2016. Recall that before the exploration of The Revelation of Yeshua HaMassiach to Yochanan we had examined  “What Does Yeshua Say About the End Times.” That series comprised thirteen posts on Matthew 24 & 25 ~ The Olivet Discourse, which concluded an eighty-part series on the Christain Torah from Matthew’s Gospel.

I introduced our study of Revelation by stating:

Shortly after committing myself to the Lord, I read Hal Lindsey’s “Late Great Planet Earth” and was convinced a pre-tribulation rapture of the church would occur soon.  Then going through the entire Bible, I became a mid-triber hoping the pre-tribers were correct.  I devoured Tim LaHaye’s “Left Behind” series.  I thought it was an excellent fictionalization of The End Times and didn’t have too many concerns from a scriptural standpoint.  But, once again the idea of studying eschatology didn’t trip my trigger.

It now appears that God has cocked that trigger.  As I think I’ve shared before, my personal study in God’s Word this year has been through the Brit Hadashah (New Covenant), Tehillim (Psalms) and Mishlei (Proverbs) using the English Standard Version Study Bible.  In addition to the Olivet Discourse which I blogged on earlier this year, I kept running into passages in the Brit Hadashah by Sha’ul and Kefa that mention The End Times.  My Tuesday Skype group has also been studying the End Times and the Pastor at our church who leads the Senior Adult Ministry (Prime Time) has just finished a study on Revelation.  Ok, Lord, you got my attention.

I am forever grateful to Anthony Baker over at Recovering Legalist for introducing me to Steve Gregg’s “Revelation: Four Views, Revised & Updated.”  Mr. Gregg introduced me to a whole new way of understanding the four main views of scholars in interpreting this apocalyptic literature: Historicists, Preterists, Futurist, and Idealist.

Although I could occasionally understand how Historicists and Preterists came to their interpretations and agreed with some, I found myself to be more aligned with the Futurists and the Premillennialists.  I never did understand the Idealists point of view.  It was just too squishy to sink my teeth into it.

Futurists hold that Chapters 4 and 5 seem to detail the events that occur in heaven after the Rapture, and chapters 6-18 the events that occur on the earth after the Rapture.  It is the same event told from two different vantage points.  They also believe that at the end of chapter 3, the Rapture of Believers takes place: Come up here. (4:1). The period that follows, beginning with chapter 4 and ending with the Battle of Armageddon (19:19) and the 1000-year reign of Yeshua on earth (the Millennium; chap. 20), covers a terrible seven-year period at the time of the end referred to as the Great Tribulation (see 7:14 and Matthew 24:21). These seven years are the same as the 70th set of seven years the prophet Daniel spoke about (see Daniel 9:27).

Throughout my study, I tried to place myself in Yochanan’s sandals without much success.  His visitation by angels and being caught up to heaven in Chapter 4 and elsewhere were beyond my personal experience.  If I saw what he saw, could I describe it any differently to a modern audience?  Perhaps because of advanced technology and the threat of nuclear holocaust.

Are we in the last days?  Is the Lord going to call the faithful home soon?  Is the Roman Catholic Church the Anti-Messiah?  I don’t know, and no one else does except God Himself.  All I know for sure from the study can be boiled down into two simple statements:

  • We may see signs and wonders that are predicted to proceed The End Times, but we do not know the day or the hour it will begin; even so, come Lord quickly.
  • God is on the throne, and He is still in control.  All we need to do is trust and obey, and it will all pan out for our good.  All we must do is Be Prepared.

I hope you have enjoyed coming along with me on this journey.

In my next post, we will begin a new series based on the Letter to the Messianic Jews (Hebrews).

Click here for PDF version.

Final Blessing & Curse and Conclusion

Revelation 22:16-21
The End Times

In my last post, we examined Revelation 22:11-15 ~ God’s Completed Work. In this post, we conclude our study of Revelation by investigating Revelation 22:16-21 ~ Final Blessing & Curse and Conclusion.

16 “I, Yeshua, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the Messianic communities. I am the Root and Offspring of David, the bright Morning Star. 17 The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come!’ Let anyone who hears say, ‘Come!’ And let anyone who is thirsty come  –  let anyone who wishes, take the water of life free of charge.” 18 I warn everyone hearing the words of the prophecy in this book that if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues written in this book. 19 And if anyone takes anything away from the words in the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the Tree of Life and the holy city, as described in this book. 20 “The one who is testifying to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon!’” Amen! Come, Lord Yeshua! 21 May the grace of the Lord Yeshua be with all!” ~ Revelation 22:16-21 (CJB)

I, Yeshua, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the Messianic communities harkens back to Revelation 1:1-2.  It’s as if He has put a bow on the whole scroll as a gift to His followers.

I am the Root and Offspring of David. King David sprang from this Root, because Yeshua pre-existed David (Micah 5:1(2), Yochanan 8:58), and through Yeshua, everything, including David’s ancestor Adam, was made (Yochanan 1:1-2, 14). But Yeshua is also David’s offspring; in particular, He is the promised Son of David who would be the Messiah (see Matthew 1:1). Yeshua’s Davidic ancestry is referred to in the rest of the Brit Hadashah also at Mattew 1:6, 9:27, 15:22, 21:9; Luke 1:32, 2:4, 3:31; Romans 1:3; 2 Timothy 2:8. In Revelation, the term Root of David is also found at 5:5. As for the bright Morning Star see Revelation 2:28 and 2 Kefa 1:19.

The Final Invitation

The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come!’ Let anyone who hears say, ‘Come!’ And let anyone who is thirsty come  –  let anyone who wishes, take the water of life free of charge. This final invitation consists of three comes. Moved by what we have read in this book and looking around at what is happening in our world today, we join our voice and say to the lost, “Come!”

As in verses 14-15, either Yeshua or Yochanan may be speaking here. No matter which, both the Spirit and the Bride, the Messianic Community, also identified with the New Jerusalem (21:2), agree with Yeshua in reiterating his call to the thirsty to take the water of life free of charge (see 21:6).

Yeshua had just said, I am coming soon! (v. 12). The Spirit, the bride, and whoever hears, join in the chorus and prayer, Come. Yeshua answers, Yes, I am coming soon (v. 20). It is His last recorded word, the parting message to His waiting bride as He passes out of sight. The passage contains an invitation to sinners to come to Him, that they may be ready when He comes. As a result, some will ask Yeshua to save them, and others will harden their hearts further. It is for each to decide – choose life or choose death. This decision has eternal consequences. If you have not accepted Yeshua as your Lord and Savior yet – don’t delay. Ask Yeshua to be your Lord and Savior and receive His free gift of eternal life! ( see 2 Corinthians 5:17; 6:2; John 14:6; Romans 5:8; Mark 1:15).

A Final Warning Against the Mutilation of God’s Word

I warn everyone hearing the words of the prophecy in this book that if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues written in this book. 19 And if anyone takes anything away from the words in the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the Tree of Life and the holy city, as described in this book. The final warning follows the form of Deuteronomy 4:2, which reads: In order to obey the mitzvot of Adonai your God which I am giving you, do not add to what I am saying, and do not subtract from it. Yochanan’s warning refers to the Book of Revelation, not to the whole Bible.

Adds to them is not about those who amplify to have a better understanding, nor is it addressed to those who in their zeal to understand fail to interpret the actual meaning correctly. The warning seems to fit those who claim additional revelations or who write other volumes and claim them to be an inspired part of the Bible. Since it is recognized by all of Orthodoxy that claimed another revelation from God is the sign of a cult, it is those who would take away that might well be those closer to home! It is not unusual for many Believers even pastors and teachers to ignore the Biblical prophecies, even entire books of prophecy – Daniel, Ezekiel, Isaiah, Revelation, and all the rest, which are essential parts of the Bible which the Lord has given. Many of these same people go a step further and deny the miracles as recorded in the prophecies of the Scriptures, saying that future events will not be nearly so horrific or apocalyptical. It would not be wise to be among those who are always picking the Bible apart rather than just trying to live by its teachings.

The Final Prayer

“The one who is testifying to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon!’” Amen! Come, Lord Yeshua! 21 May the grace of the Lord Yeshua be with all!” M. R. DeHaan frames these final words: [1]

Revelation began with Him, and ends with Him, and is about Him. We have written this book that you who are unsaved might come to Him and that those of you who have come might love Him more and look with new eagerness for His return… The night is dark, and the world seems to be in the throes of death. Humanity is engulfed by turmoil and confusion. The dark clouds of coming judgment and distress are upon the horizon, and the rumblings of coming judgment may be heard. Men everywhere are wondering about the future, and some are despairing. One of those days or nights, however, while the world is occupied with its frivolities and empty pleasures and scoffing at the Word of God, a form will rise above the lashing waves, as on Galilee, to vindicate forever the devotion and the patient watching of that remnant in all ages who have not abandoned the hope of His coming again, and take them home to the realms of bliss where sorrow and sighing, loneliness and heartache will never be known and where, with loved ones gone before, we shall rest forever in the perfect service of our perfect Lord. “Even so, Come. Lord Yeshua.”

With this concluding thought by Dr. DeHaan, we have now analyzed and evaluated each of the 404 verses of the Book of Revelation, from Chapter One, verse one to Chapter Twenty-two and verse twenty-one.

Remember the opening verses of Chapter One introduced us to the purpose of the book. This is the revelation which God gave to Yeshua the Messiah so that he could show his servants what must happen very soon. He communicated it by sending his angel to his servant Yochanan, who bore witness to the Word of God and to the testimony of Yeshua the Messiah, as much as he saw. ~ Revelation 1:1-2 (CJB)

The Kehilah is instructed to say Amen at the close of the public reading of the book. The two final sentences, one for heaven and one for the earth, set the tone for those inspired to do the Lord’s will. So I echo the words of Yochanan: Come, Lord Yeshua and May the grace of the Lord Yeshua be with all.

In my next post, we’ll begin a new series based on the Letter to the Messianic Jews (Hebrews).

Click here for PDF version.

[1] A Layman’s Commentary on Revelation by Don Jones.

God’s Completed Work

Revelation 22:11-15
The End Times

In my last post, we examined Revelation 22:6-10 ~ Affirmation of God’s Word. In this post, we explore Revelation 22:11-15 ~ God’s Completed Work.

11 “Whoever keeps acting wickedly, let him go on acting wickedly; whoever is filthy, let him go on being made filthy. “Also, whoever is righteous, let him go on doing what is righteous; and whoever is holy, let him go on being made holy.” 12 “Pay attention!” [says Yeshua,] “I am coming soon, and my rewards are with me to give to each person according to what he has done. 13 I am the ‘A’ and the ‘Z,’ the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” 14 How blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they have the right to eat from the Tree of Life and go through the gates into the city! 15 Outside are the homosexuals, those involved with the occult and with drugs, the sexually immoral, murderers, idol-worshippers, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.” ~ Revelation 22:11-15 (CJB)

Whoever keeps acting wickedly, let him go on acting wickedly; whoever is filthy, let him go on being made filthy. “Also, whoever is righteous, let him go on doing what is righteous; and whoever is holy, let him go on being made holy.” 12 “Pay attention!” [says Yeshua,] “I am coming soon, and my rewards are with me to give to each person according to what he has done. 13 I am the ‘A’ and the ‘Z,’ the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. The phrase I am coming soon found in Revelation 22:7, 12, 20, does not mean immediately! It says that once the process begins, he will come quickly; in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. The coming of Yeshua will be so sudden that humanity will not have a chance to change any part of his lifestyle! Whoever keeps acting wickedly, let him go on acting wickedly; whoever is filthy, let him go on being made filthy…whoever is holy, let him go on being made holy.”  When Yeshua appears, it will be too late to repent; too late to accept Him as your Lord and Savior; too late for heaven.

I am the “A” and the “Z” (the Alpha and the Omega), the Beginning and the End is a repeat from Revelation 21:6. The First and the Last is a paraphrase from Isaiah 44:6, where Adonai says: Thus says Adonai, the King of Israel, and its redeemer Adonai of Hosts [heavenly armies]: I am the first, and I am the last, and beside me there is no God.” By applying this text to Himself, Yeshua once again identifies Himself as Adonai.

How blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they have the right to eat from the Tree of Life and go through the gates into the city! 15 Outside are the homosexuals, those involved with the occult and with drugs, the sexually immoral, murderers, idol-worshippers, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. These verses may be the words of Yeshua (as this version has it), or of Yochanan. Those who wash their robes, who obtain forgiveness for their sins. How? “With the blood of the lamb” (7:14), that is, through the atoning work of Yeshua the Messiah, so that their robes are “white” (7:14; see also 3:4, 19:7-8, Isaiah 1:18). To eat from the Tree of Life and go through the gates into the city is to enjoy eternal life in fellowship with God. Yochanan continues to draw a contrast between those who live in obedience and those who live in disobedience. The distinction is between those who live their lives for Yeshua and those who live for themselves. God wants humanity to understand if they choose to live a self-serving, self-seeking, selfish lifestyle, he can only hope to reap hell for all eternity.

Outside in the lake of fire (20:12b, 21:8, 21:27) are unrepentant sinners. They are out not only in the future but out even now, to the extent that the Kingdom of God has broken through into this world in the hearts and lives of the saved.

Homosexuals, Greek kunes (“dogs”). One can imagine real wild dogs slavering over the wicked excluded from the city (compare Mattew 15:26, Luke 16:21). But Deuteronomy 23:18-19 illustrates the figurative use of the word “dog” in the Bible to mean “male (homosexual) prostitute”:  “No daughter of Israel is to be a female prostitute (k’deshah), nor is a son of Israel to be a male prostitute (kadesh). You are to bring neither the wages of a female prostitute (zonah) nor the wages of a dog (kelev) into the house of Adonai your God in payment of any vow; both of them are an abomination to Adonai your God.”

In my next post, we’ll examine Revelation 22:16-21 ~ Final Blessing & Curse and Conclusion.

Click here for PDF version.

Affirmation of God’s Word

Revelation 22:6-10
The End Times

In my last post, we examined Revelation 22:1-5 ~ Renewal of the World. In this post, we explore Revelation 22:6-10 ~ Affirmation of God’s Word.

6 Then he [the angel] said to me, ‘These words are true and trustworthy: Adonai, God of the spirits of the prophets, sent His angel to show His servants the things that must happen soon. 7 Look! I am coming very soon. Blessed is the person who obeys the words of the prophecy written in this book!’8 Then I, Yochanan, the one hearing and seeing these things, when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel showing them to me. 9 But he said to me, ‘Don’t do that! I am only a fellow-servant with you and your brothers, the prophets and the people who obey the words in this book. Worship God!'” Then he said to me, ‘Don’t seal up the words of the prophecy in this book because the time of their fulfillment is near.'” ~ Revelation 22:6-10 (C3B)

The Certainty of Yeshua’s Return

Then he [the angel] said to me, ‘These words are true and trustworthy: Adonai, God of the spirits of the prophets, sent His angel to show His servants the things that must happen soon. 7 Look! I am coming very soon. Blessed is the person who obeys the words of the prophecy written in this book!Once again, Yochanan is assured of the honesty and integrity of this report. Note the words: These words are true and trustworthy. This revelation, which Yochanan has been given for the Kehilah, is to be taken seriously to heart. In Revelation 19:11 Yeshua is shown coming from heaven on a white horse, and in the same verse, He’s given a name: Faithful and True. This is the same phrase found here in verse six! It would seem that these words are being backed by the very person and character of the Son of God Himself. In verse seven is an exciting promise in the words of Yeshua: Look! I am coming very soon.

There is no doubt about our Lord’s coming. He is coming! Therefore, the question is not will He come, but are we prepared for His arrival? Some might ask if He is coming, why the delay? We find that answer in 2 Kefa: “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some people think of slowness; on the contrary, he is patient with you; for it is not his purpose that anyone should be destroyed, but that everyone should turn from his sins.”  ~2 Kefa 3:9 (CJB) Have you repented of your sins and placed your faith and trust in the Lord Yeshua HaMashiach? If Yeshua were to appear today, would you go to be with Him?

The Worship of Angels Forbidden

“I, Yochanan, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God. It would seem that this revelation so overcame Yochanan that he does what might seem to be a natural reaction, to worship the angels, whom the Lord created, rather than the Creator Himself. This is the second time (Revelation 19:9-10) Yochanan has been guilty of such a response. William Newell adds these words: [1]

The fidelity and humility of the angel abase and shame us. Though higher than man, he is a fellow-servant (sundoulos) – a word that wholly excludes independence, in which man glories. Note also how the angel remembers “the prophets,” those faithful servants of God, and also that the angels themselves are “keepers of the words” of this book of The Revelation. Doubtless, Michael and his angels derive their very courage for the terrific conflict of chapter 12 from the revelation of certain victory given through Yochanan the beloved. How wonderful are the ways of God! Let us lay dose to our hearts the angel’s words: Worship God. These words will search us out. Unless we are walking with God, other gods are ho/ding our affections. The very glory of divine revelations may tend to turn our weak hearts away from adoration of the divine, Person, Himself.

Then he said to me, ‘Don’t seal up the words of the prophecy in this book because the time of their fulfillment is near. Dani’el who lived over two thousand five hundred years ago was given a number of prophecies concerning the End Times.  After receiving the prophecies he was then told to seal up the book. “But you, Dani’el, keep these words secret and seal up the book until the time of the end. Many will rush here and there as knowledge increases.”~ Daniel 12:4 (CJB)

The question arises, how long will it be sealed? The answer is, even to the time of the end. How will we know when the end is near at hand? Again, the explanation is, many will rush here and there as knowledge increases. In light of these two signs involving travel and knowledge, it is easy to conclude that the time for Yeshua to appear is drawing near. Dani’el was commanded to seal his book, but now Yochanan is being given an opposite command as he is told not to sea/the prophecy of this book because the time of their, fulfillment is near. Jerry Falwell adds these thoughts: [2]

In verse 10 Yochanan is commanded not to seal the words of the prophecy of this book. The reason is dear. There is a blessing for anyone who keeps the sayings of the prophecies given in Revelation (22:7). Besides, the time is near when the Lord will come quickly, and people will need to understand what God is doing for them (cf. Dan. 12:4). The period which will usher in the eternal state is very near, and in Yochanan ‘s day, as in ours, the end is always impending, because Christ may return at any moment and the time piece of Revelation will start ticking away. Therefore, this book is to be opened, read, and heeded as a source of blessing.

 In my next post, well examine Revelation 22:11-15 ~ God’s Completed Work.

Click here for PDF version.

[1] A Layman’s Commentary on Revelation by Don Jones.

[2] Ibid.

Renewal of the World

Revelation 22:1-5
The End Times

In my last post, we examined Revelation 21:22-27 ~ The Habitation of God. In this post, we begin to explore the last chapter of The Revelation of Yeshua HaMassiach to Yochanan by examining Revelation 22:1-5 ~ Renewal of the World.

1 Next, the angel showed me the river of the water of life, sparkling like crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2 Between the main street and the river was the Tree of Life producing twelve kinds of fruit, a different kind every month; and the leaves of the tree were for healing the nations  –  3 no longer will there be any curses. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will worship Him; 4 they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. 5 Night will no longer exist, so they will need neither the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because Adonai, God, will shine upon them. And they will reign as kings forever and ever.” ~ Revelation 22:1-5 (CJB)


Graphic courtesy of Google

The Water of Life

Next, the angel showed me the river of the water of life, sparkling like crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb.  The first thing mentioned in this chapter is the river of the water of life. The Psalmist said: “There is a river, whose streams make glad the city of God, the holiest dwelling-place of the Most High. God is in the midst of her…” ~ Psalm 46:5-6.

How vital water is to human life. Settlers to new areas always search out water before beginning any building and putting down roots. This was especially so in Yochanan’s day, as most of the people were agriculturally centered. Water would be their first priority (see Joshua 15:19). Water not only represents that which is refreshing but also essential. Man cannot live long without water. In the New Jerusalem, the source of refreshment is the throne of God.

The Tree of Life

Between the main street and the river was the Tree of Life producing twelve kinds of fruit, a different kind every month; and the leaves of the tree were for healing the nations no longer will there be any curses.  The Tree of Life was initially in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:9), but after sinning, Adam and Eve had to barred from it (Genesis 3:22) and the way to it guarded by a keruv (cherub) (Genesis 3:24). Here in restored Eden, the Tree of Life is restored. Like the other phenomena of the New Creation (21:14-21), it is unlike anything we now know, producing twelve kinds of fruit, a different kind every month. Moreover, the leaves of the tree are for healing the nations – no longer will there be any curses. Here healing seems to mean “making whole.” Heaven has no illnesses; the point is that sickness cannot exist in that perfect environment. These leaves provide all the healing power necessary to sustain ideal health for God’s people. Even though there is no sickness in the eternal state, the fruit and the leaves from this Tree of Life provide physical well-being to those in heaven. The curses were evils that came upon the nations – both Israel and the Gentile nations – due to their continued and unrepented sins; most of the biblical prophets pronounced curses at one time or another.

The Throne of God

The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will worship Him; 4 they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. 5 Night will no longer exist, so they will need neither the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because Adonai, God, will shine upon them. And they will reign as kings forever and ever.”  The central theme of existence in the redeemed world will be worship of God and of the Lamb Yeshua the Messiah, who share the throne. His servants will be entirely focused and completely satisfied when they worship him (which is not always the case today!), because (1) having unimpeded fellowship with God, they will see His face, and (2) His name will be on their foreheads, meaning that God will have made them wholly His own (see also 7:2-3, 13:16-17a, 14:1, 17:5). Night, with its darkness symbolizing God’s absence (Yochanan 1:5-9, 3:19-21; 1 Yochanan 1:5-7, 2:7-11), will no longer exist,… because Adonai, God, will shine upon them. Moreover, the physical and the spiritual will be intimately interconnected, since God’s immediate presence will make them need neither the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun. And, as promised in Revelation 3:21 and 1Corinthians 6:2-3, they will reign over the universe with the Messiah and with God as kings forever and ever.

Ray Stedman summarizes these three verses: [1]

From this magnificent scene of the Holy City flow three ministries that the redeemed saints will perform: First, empowered service. The saints will joyfully serve God. There is no greater privilege, pleasure, or joy that you and I could ask than to spend eternity in service to the God of our salvation. Second, intimate fellowship. The Saints will see His face and bear His name, just as a bride bears her husband’s name and sees his face. Third, enlightened authority. The saints shall reign forever and ever. Remember George Bernard Shaw’s complaint about heaven as an “inane, dull, useless, miserable” place? Have you ever pictured heaven as a boring place? You couldn’t be more wrong! What is it that causes boredom? Selfishness! The feeling of, “I want to be gratified, I want to be pandered to, I want to be indulged, I want to be excited, I, I, I!” But in heaven, there will be no selfishness. There will be continual excitement, discovery, anticipation, gratitude, praise, and the joy of being a partner in an eternal adventure with God Himself!

Revelation 22:5 concludes the description of the new heaven and the new earth. Think about the difficulty Yochanan must have had in finding the vocabulary to describe this scene. Man in his most vivid imagination could not come close to visualizing how the actual new heaven and new earth will look! Remember the Apostle Paul’s words recorded in 1 Corinthians: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no one’s heart has imagined  all the things that God has prepared  for those who love him.” ~ 1 Corinthians 2:9 (CJB)

In my next post, we’ll examine Revelation 22:6-10 ~ Affirmation of God’s Word.

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[1] A Layman’s Commentary on Revelation by Don Jones.

 

The Habitation of God

Revelation 21:22-27
The End Times

In my last post, we reviewed the Revelation 21:15-21 ~ The New Jerusalem ~ Part 2.  In this post, we continue to explore Revelation 21:22-27 ~ The Habitation of God.

22 I saw no Temple in the city, for Adonai, God of Heaven’s Armies, is its Temple, as is the Lamb.23 The city has no need for the sun or the moon to shine on it, because God’s Sh’khinah gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. 25 Its gates will never close, they stay open all day because night will not exist there, 26 and the honor and splendor of the nations will be brought into it. 27 Nothing impure may enter it, nor anyone who does shameful things or lies; the only ones who may enter are those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.”  ~ Revelation 21:22-27 (CJB)

This section draws on the imagery of Isaiah 60: “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of Adonai has risen upon you… Nations will walk at your light, and kings at the brightness of your rising… The wealth of the nations will come to you… Your gates will be open continually—day and night they will not be shut so that people can bring you the wealth of the nations, and their kings in procession… The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the moon give light to you for brightness, but Adonai will be for you an everlasting light, and your God your glory.” (Isaiah 60:1-5, 11, 16, 19-20)

I saw no Temple in the city, for Adonai, God of Heaven’s Armies, is its Temple, as is the Lamb. Adonai and the Lamb are the Temple of the new city. No longer is the structure necessary, for the saints are in the immediate presence of the Lord with no need for an earthly mediator or shadows of things eternal. The Temple is the same word used for the sanctuary, or God’s dwelling place, the Holy of Holies, in the Temple of Israel. Believers now have access to the most sacred, intimate fellowship with the Lord their God in fulfillment of the many promises given to the saints.

The city has no need for the sun or the moon to shine on it, because God’s Sh’khinah gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.  M. R. DeHaan explains further: [1]

Can you imagine what this glorious sight will be? Picture a new earth on which dwells the restored and redeemed nation of Israel, and around them are literal nations of redeemed people, consisting of the saved of the nations before the Cross and the nations which came through the Millennium. All dwell on the new earth. Hanging over that new earth, suspended in the sky, is this gigantic city, the New Jerusalem, the habitation of the bride of Christ. Christ is the light of it, and this light streams forth over all the earth, dispelling all darkness forever. Remember that the city is made of transparent gold, so that the light from the Person of Christ dwelling with His bride in the New Jerusalem streams forth from the lamp, fifteen hundred miles cube, lighting the entire earth.

The nations (or “Gentiles”) will walk by its light. There are not unregenerate nations living outside the city. Rather, as George E. Ladd says in his comment on this verse: [2]

“In the divine consummation, the redeemed will consist of peoples from every nation and tribe and people and tongue (7:9) who will not lose their national identity. John’s language means no more than the statements of the prophets: ‘and many peoples shall come and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob'” (Isaiah 2:3)… This is the affirmation of the universality of the knowledge of God, as promised in Jeremiah’s presentation of the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:30-33(31-34)).”

And the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. 25 Its gates will never close, they stay open all day because night will not exist there, 26 and the honor and splendor of the nations will be brought into it. 27 Nothing impure may enter it, nor anyone who does shameful things or lies; the only ones who may enter are those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.”

Oliver Greene states it right: [3]

Thank God for this verse! God will see to it that the episode recorded in Ezekiel 28 will never be repeated. God will see to it that the tragedy of Genesis 3 will never be repeated. God will see to it that in NO WISE—under no circumstances nor by any means—will anything enter into the Pearly White City to mar, scar, and defile. Nothing abominable shall enter there. Revelation 21:8 tells us that all evil ones are in the lake of fire, eternally imprisoned and sealed, never to be released, and the devil is there, too. Satan had access to God’s throne in the beginning when he was Lucifer, the shining one (Isaiah 14). But in the Pearly White City, there will be no devil—nor in the new earth or the heavenlies. Satan will be in the lake of fire the eternal prison of the damned. We need not worry about the sin—tragedy recurring. It will not because God Almighty will have put down evil once, for all, forever. Satan’s head will be crushed, his kingdom destroyed and his subjects in the lake of fire with him. Only those who have their names in the Lamb’s Book of Life will be in the Pearly White City.

I’m curious!  If the gates of the city are never shut, because in the city there is the eternal day, hence no night why are they built? Here again is a contrast to the Millennial situation in which day and night continue as the norm for the entire earth. The brilliant light of the city, however, dispels any possible darkness. Believers in their glorified bodies do not need rest, and their lives are full of continuous activity even like the holy angels.

Verse 27 indicates plainly that nothing will ever enter the city which is in any sense evil, as only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life are eligible for entrance. There does not seem to be any attempt made to keep them out. This fact is another reminder that all who are there have entered the city as the objects of God’s grace. Otherwise, they too would be excluded. This will be a perfect environment in contrast to the centuries of human sin, and the saints will enjoy this perfect situation through all eternity to come. The inhabitants of the city will be characterized by eternal life and absolute moral purity.

In my next post, we’ll examine Revelation 22:6-10 ~ Affirmation of God’s Word.

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[1] A Layman’s Commentary on Revelation by Don Jones.

[2] Jewish New Testament Commentary by David Stern

[3] Ibid.

The New Jerusalem ~ Part 2

Revelation 21:15-21
The End Times

In my last post, we reviewed the Revelation 21:9-14 ~ The New Jerusalem ~ Part 1.  In this post, we continue to explore Revelation 21:15-21 ~ The New Jerusalem ~ Part 2.

15 The angel speaking with me had a gold measuring-rod with which to measure the city, its gates, and its wall. 16 The city is laid out in a square, its length equal to its width. With his rod, he measured the city at 1,500 [1]miles, with length, width, and height the same. 17 He measured its wall at 216 feet by human standards of measurement, which the angel was using. 18 The wall was made of diamond and the city of pure gold resembling pure glass. 19 The foundations of the city wall were decorated with all kinds of precious stones—the first foundation stone was diamond, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth sardonyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh turquoise and the twelfth amethyst. 21 The twelve gates were twelve pearls, with each gate made of a single pearl. The city’s main street was pure gold, transparent as glass.” ~ Revelation 21:15-21 (CJB)

The angel…measured the city at 1,500 miles, with length, width, and height the same. The city was a perfect cube, as was its prototype, the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle. Placed over the United States of America, it would extend from Maine to Florida and from the east coast westward to Colorado, plus extends 1,500 miles into the sky.  Talk about a megalopolis?  Admittedly, I have a tough time understanding the engineering of such a humongous structure, but with God, nothing is impossible.

The names of the Twelve Tribes inscribed on the gates, and the Twelve Emissaries on the foundations, may be meant to indicate that the founders of the City would never be forgotten but would be held in loving remembrance by the City’s inhabitants throughout the endless ages of eternity.

The precious stones emulate the breastplate of the High Priest, bearing 12 stones inscribed with the names of the 12 tribes (Exodus 28:15-30) must have been a sort of dim foreshadowing, given in the distant past, of what God was working toward. The stones are similar to those of the New Jerusalem. There is difficulty in identifying some of these stones. They may not have been the same as those which now bear their names.

The foundation’s sparkle with the colors of the rainbow. Each gate is a pearl, and the whole is composed of the most valuable and beautiful material things known to man, constructed together in a spectacle resplendent beyond imagination—a display of eternal beauty, glory, peace, security.

There are always the skeptics who question this as being a literal city. The real question to be answered is, why not? If a man can build the majestic and beautiful cities of today, why can’t the Creator of the universe create an even more magnificent and more uniquely beautiful city? This city, built by God, is the same city that Abraham was in search of For he was looking forward to the city with permanent foundations, of which the architect and builder is God ~ Hebrews 11:10. Also, just before Yeshua ascended back up into heaven, he told the disciples: In my Father’s house are many places to live. If there weren’t, I would have told you; because I am going there to prepare a place for you. ~ Yochanan 14:2. Yeshua was talking about this Holy City, which is a real city and the future home of all children of God.

He measured its wall at 216 feet by human standards of measurement, which the angel was using. 18 The wall was made of diamond and the city of pure gold resembling pure glass. This measurement appears to be the thickness of the wall as Revelation 21:12 says it had a great, high wall.

The angel describes the walls as made of diamond and the city of pure gold resembling pure glass. He now turns to explain the foundations! And what a description it is.

The foundations of the city wall were decorated with all kinds of precious stones—the first foundation stone was diamond [other translations say “Jasper”], the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth sardonyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh turquoise and the twelfth amethyst. Warren Wiersbe has this to say: [2]

Building foundations are usually underground, but these foundations will not only be visible but beautifully garnished with precious stones. Each separate foundation will have its own jewel, and the blending of the colors will be magnificent as God’s light shines through. No one can be dogmatic about the color of these gems, and it really doesn’t matter. Jasper, as we have seen, is a clear crystal. Sapphire is a blue stone, and chalcedony is probably greenish-blue. The emerald, of course, is green; and the sardonyx is like our onyx, a white stone streaked with brown, though some scholars describe it as red and white. Sardius is a red stone (sometimes described as “blood red”) and chrysolite a yellow quartz like our modern topaz. Beryl is green and topaz a yellow-green. We are not sure about the chrysoprasus; some think it is a golden-tinted stone, others, an apple-green color. The jacinth is probably blue, though some claim it was yellow; and the amethyst is a rich purple, or blue-red.

Compare the foundation stones with the judgment breastplate of the Cohen HaGadol, which also had twelve different stones. They represented the twelve tribes of Israel, whose judgment Aaron was to “bear on his heart before Adonai continually” (Exodus 28:15-21, 29-30).

The twelve gates were twelve pearls, with each gate made of a single pearl. The city’s main street was pure gold, transparent as glass.” There are twelve gates, three to the north, three to the south, three to the east, and three to the west. On each gate, there is the name of one of the twelve tribes of Israel. Each gate is a great pearl, indicating that entrance to the city is made possible only through the death of Yeshua, for pearls are a product of physical suffering. The gates are open continuously, allowing people to come and go at will.

In my next post, we’ll examine Revelation 21:22-27 ~ The Habitation of God.

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[1] Translators and commentators seem to have difficulty in converting stadia into miles.  Most range from 1400 to 1500 miles.  At that distance, I’m not sure 100 miles is all that significant.

[2] A Layman’s Commentary on Revelation by Don Jones.

The New Jerusalem ~ Part 1

Revelation 21:9-14
The End Times

In my last post, we reviewed the Revelation 21:1-8 ~ Overview of the New Creation.  In this post, we continue to explore Revelation 21:9-21 ~ The New Jerusalem.

9 One of the seven angels having the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues approached me and said, “Come! I will show you the Bride, the Wife of the Lamb.” 10 He carried me off in the Spirit to the top of a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city, Yerushalayim, coming down out of heaven from God. 11 It had the Sh’khinah of God, so that its brilliance was like that of a priceless jewel, like a crystal-clear diamond. 12 It had a great, high wall with twelve gates; at the gates were twelve angels; and inscribed on the gates were the names of the twelve tribes of Isra’el. 13 There were three gates to the east, three gates to the north, three gates to the south and three gates to the west. 14 The wall of the city was built on twelve foundation-stones, and on these were the twelve names of the twelve emissaries of the Lamb.” ~ Revelation 21:9-14 (CJB)

One of the seven angels having the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues approached me and said, “Come! I will show you the Bride, the Wife of the Lamb.” 10 He carried me off in the Spirit to the top of a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city, Yerushalayim, coming down out of heaven from God. M. R. DeHaan writes of confusion about the New Jerusalem: [1]

Let us now consider the description of the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, the Lamb’s wife. Theologians have been confused by this expression “the holy Jerusalem, the Lamb’s wife.” How can the New Jerusalem be a city and at the same time be the wife of the Lamb, the bride of Christ? If we study the passage carefully, there need be no difficulty. The city and its occupants are one. This chapter of Revelation concerns a literal city of inexpressible beauty. It is the New Jerusalem. The redeemed church of Christ, the bride of the Lamb, is to dwell in that New Jerusalem. The city and its inhabitants are one. Today we speak the same concerning cities. When I mention a certain city, for example, Grand Rapids, Michigan, I may mean either or both the material city and its buildings or the inhabitants of Grand Rapids. From one point of view, Grand Rapids is a city. However, Grand Rapids is also a company of people who, like myself, live here. For instance, if I say that Grand Rapids is a beautiful city, you know that I refer to its beautiful location and its fine buildings and streets. But if I say that Grand Rapids is a wicked city, you know immediately that I am referring to the people of Grand Rapids and not to its buildings, streets, and trees. The term “Grand Rapids” may refer either to the city itself or to the people who live there. In the same way, God speaks of the New Jerusalem. The term indicates both a literal city and also the occupants of that city; it is both the city and the bride, the building, and its occupant. That is why God calls it both “the holy city” and “the wife of the Lamb.”

It had the Sh’khinah of God, so that its brilliance was like that of a priceless jewel, like a crystal-clear diamond. 12 It had a great, high wall with twelve gates; at the gates were twelve angels; and inscribed on the gates were the names of the twelve tribes of Isra’el. 13 There were three gates to the east, three gates to the north, three gates to the south and three gates to the west. The glory of God illuminates the entire city. Later, in Revelation 21:25, it is disclosed that night will not exist there. The people of Yochanan’s day lived in fear of the Roman soldiers. Night time seemed only to intensify the horror. Therefore, the mention of walls and gates gave the additional comfort of safety to the people of Yochanan’s day. Also, the posting of an angel at each gate communicated the idea of further support that in this eternal state, all fear would be gone. The fact that the twelve tribe’s names will be inscribed on the twelve gates certainly implies that Israel will have access to the holy city along with the bride of Christ.

The wall of the city was built on twelve foundation-stones, and on these were the twelve names of the twelve emissaries of the Lamb. Thus, the foundation has been laid, the walls built, and the gates hung. The names of the twelve apostles and the twelve tribes of Israel are inscribed visually and prominently, so no one will ever forget that the heritage of the saints of all ages is rooted in them. This is precisely the teaching of the Rabbi Sha’ul when he tells the Kehilah: You have been built on the foundation of the emissaries and the prophets, with the cornerstone being Yeshua the Messiah Himself. ~ Ephesians 2:20 (CJB).

The twelve tribes of Israel are mentioned in the Brit Hadashah at Matthew 19:28 and Luke 22:30, where the emissaries are to judge them; at Acts 26:7 as a synonym for the entire Jewish people; at Ya’akov 1:1 in the greeting; and at Revelation 7:4-8 by name. The twenty-four elders of Revelation 4:4 may represent the tribes plus the emissaries. Conclusion: there is no Kehilah apart from the Jewish people and no Israel apart from the Brit Hadashah.

In my next post, we’ll examine Revelation 21:15-21 ~ The New Jerusalem ~ Part 2.

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[1] A Layman’s Commentary on Revelation by Don Jones.