December 28, 2007
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And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.
And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.
And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.
And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.
And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man.
And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.
And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men.
And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions.
And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle.
And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months.
And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.
One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.
And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God,
Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates.
And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men.
And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them.
And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone.
By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths.
For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt.
And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk:
Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.
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And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire:
And he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth,
And cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices.
And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not.
And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven,
And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer:
But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.
And the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again, and said, Go and take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth.
And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey.
And I took the little book out of the angel's hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter.
And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.
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And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.
But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.
And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.
These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.
And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.
These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.
And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.
And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.
And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.
And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.
And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.
And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.
And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.
The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.
And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God,
Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.
And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.
And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.
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And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:
And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.
And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.
And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.
And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.
And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.
And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.
And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.
And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.
And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.
And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.
And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
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Thought for the day:
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Revelation 12 gives us a thumbnail history of the nation of Israel. The chapter opens with a vision of a woman who is expecting a child. The Roman Catholic church has taught that this woman is Mary, the mother of Jesus. However, there is no Biblical evidence that this is correct. This woman is said to be "clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars" (1). This has reference back to the dream of Joseph in Genesis 37:9-11 where he saw the sun, moon and eleven stars bowing down to him. His father Jacob understood the meaning of the dream and knew that he was the sun, Joseph's mother was the moon, and Joseph's brothers were the stars. Since Jacob's name was ultimately changed to Israel, and since his sons, the stars, were the "children of Israel" and the patriarchs of the twelve tribes of Israel, it becomes clear that the nation of Israel is in view in Revelation 12. Some would question how a nation could be pregnant. However, Isaiah 9:6 states,
"For unto us a child is born unto us a son is given".
The "us" refers to Israel. Thus, Jesus was not only born to his mother, but He was also born to the nation of Israel as a whole.
The second person in this vision is the dragon. He is referenced as having seven heads and ten horns, which is how both the Anti-christ and the one world government of the Tribulation period are pictured (Rev. 13:1, 17:3). His identity can not be in doubt, for verse 9 calls him "that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world." Verse 4 tells us that he drew a third part of the stars of Heaven and did cast them to earth. Since the angels are sometimes referred to as stars (Job 38:7), it seems that this refers to Lucifer's rebellion against God. When that event took place, Lucifer took one-third of the angelic host with him (II Peter 2:4). In this vision, the dragon is seen waiting for the woman to deliver her child so that he can destroy the infant.
The third Person in the vision is the man child. Since verse 5 tells us that He was to rule the world with a rod of iron, and that when He was caught up to Heaven He went to His throne, this can be none other than Jesus Christ. Thus, in this vision we see the nation of Israel preparing to give birth to the Messiah. Satan, following his rebellion against God, wanted to thwart God's plans by destroying the Messiah before He could accomplish His work. We see this not only in the attempts of Satan to destroy Israel in the Old Testament, but also in Herod's attempt to kill the Infant shortly after His birth. However, the devil was unsuccessful in his attempts, and Jesus was born, carried out His Father's will, went to the cross, rose from the dead, and ascended into Heaven, just as God had planned.
Verse 5 encompasses the entire life of Christ. Verse 6 moves the narrative up to the middle of the Tribulation period, when Anti-christ breaks his covenant with the nation of Israel and begins to persecute them with great intensity (Daniel 9:27, Matthew 24:15-21). 1260 days is the equivalent of three and one-half years, which is the length of time that Anti-christ will oppose Israel. At the same time that this is occurring Satan will go to war in Heaven against God. It is important to remember that Satan still has access to the throne of God, for he stands there as the accuser of the brethren even today (10). Apparently, since none of the devil's plans have worked up until this point, he tried an all out assault on God Himself. Of course, this is doomed to failure, and Satan is throne out of the presence of God forever. This makes him very angry because he sees that the time before his judgment is short (12), and he takes his anger out on Israel because it was through that nation that the Messiah came to earth.
Satan is unsuccessful in this as well. Israel is persecuted, but she is protected by the hand of God even during this difficult time (14,16). It is important to remember that Israel is God's chosen people. They have not always obeyed Him, and they have suffered the consequences for that. However, they are the nation through which God provided His Son to the world, and because of this they are loved by God and hated by Satan. The Abrahamic Covenant promised blessings to those who would bless Israel. We need to be on the Lord's side, and love the Jews today as He does.
Pastor Mark J Montgomery