TODAY’S READING: REVELATION 12-17
The third account of the Tribulation and Second Coming through the revealing of the seven personages (chapters 12-14); the fourth account of the Tribulation and Second Coming through the pouring of the seven vials (chapters 15-16); the Babylonish mother (17:1-6); the Babylonish monster (17:7-18).
HIGHLIGHTS & INSIGHTS:
As we move into chapter 12 in today’s reading, John begins the description of the third account of the Tribulation and Second Coming that our Lord revealed to him. In this account, these events unfold through THE REVEALING OF SEVEN PERSONAGES that are found in chapters 12-14.
The first PERSON is the WOMAN, referred to in 12:1-2, 4-6, and 14-17. The WOMAN is clearly the NATION OF ISRAEL.
The second PERSON, mentioned in 12:2, 4-5, is the CHILD, and is none other than the LORD JESUS CHRIST.
The third PERSON, referred to in 12:3-4, 7-9 and 12-17, is the DRAGON. The DRAGON, as 12:9 leaves absolutely no question, is SATAN.
The fourth PERSON, the ARCHANGEL mentioned by name in 12:7-9, is MICHAEL.
The fifth PERSON is identified in 13:1-10 as the FIRST BEAST. This FIRST BEAST is none other than the famed ANTICHRIST.
The SECOND BEAST is the sixth PERSON revealed in this tour of the Tribulation and the Second Coming, and is not mentioned by name, but is the FALSE PROPHET who will work in conjunction with the ANTICHRIST during the Tribulation. He is described in 13:10-18.
The seventh and final PERSON or PERSONAGE in this third account of the Tribulation and Second Coming is the 144,000 described in 14:1-5. The 144,000 are the TRUE JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES.
Once again, there are simply too many things going on in these chapters to comment on everything that is worthy of commentary. Because so many American cults have been spawned by a misunderstanding and false teaching concerning the 144,000 (the Jehovah’s FALSE Witnesses, the World-wide Church of God, the Seventh-Day Adventists and the Mormons – the so-called “Latter Day Saints,” and the “Reorganized Church of the Latter Day Saints”), perhaps a comment or two is imperative.
The 144,000 mentioned in chapter 14 are the same 144,000 that were mentioned in chapter 7. The only difference between the 144,000 in these two chapters is their location. In chapter 7 they are on the earth. In chapter 14 they are in heaven (i.e. “The Mount Sion” – 14:1). The big question, of course, is who are they? Chapter 7, verses 4-8 lets us know that they are 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes of the children of Israel. They are 144,000 literal, physical Jews. Much to the dismay of the aforementioned cults, there is not a Gentile in the bunch! The next time an antichrist (I John 2:22) comes to your door and tells you they are a part of or are trying to become a part of the 144,000, just ask them which tribe they are from. Some things are just pretty dog-gone simple! These 144,000 Jews will be miraculously converted sometime at the beginning of the Tribulation Period (7:1-3). Note that 14:3 says they will be “redeemed from the earth”, and 14:4 says they will b!
e “redeemed from among men.” It appears that their miraculous conversion will be like that of the Apostle Paul, Paul referring to himself in I Corinthians 15:8 as “one born out of due time.”
After their conversion to Christ, the 144,000 will then be sealed in their foreheads (7:3) with what is called “the seal of the living God,” which is the Father’s name: JEHOVAH (7:2-3; 14:1). They are sealed for three reasons:
1)TO MARK GOD’S PERSONAL POSSESSION. God marks them with His name for the same reason we put our name on what belong to us. We are saying “This is mine!”
2)TO GUARANTEE GOD’S PERSONAL PROTECTION. Our name on our stuff may not deter people from messing with it. The name of Jehovah on something is a totally different story!
3)TO FULFILL GOD’S PERSONAL PURPOSE. God’s purpose has always been to reach the whole world. That was the purpose God wanted to fulfill through Israel in the Old Testament. It is the purpose He now wants to fulfill through the Church. And, it will be His purpose through the 144,000. During the Tribulation Period, they will be “the servants of our God” (7:3) who will be used of God to fulfill His purpose to evangelize in every part of the world. Matthew 24:14 says that during the Tribulation Period, “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (i.e. the Second Coming). That will be carried out by the 144,000. They will be the “firstfruits” (14:4) of those saved during the Tribulation Period, but through their “witness” (Matt. 24:14), there will be an incredible harvest to follow! According to Rev. 7:9, those who respond will be from every single nation, kindred, people and tongue! The 144!
,000 will be like 144,000 invincible (7:3) “Apostle Paul’s” roaming the earth, evangelizing everywhere they go (I Cor. 15:8).
Notice that when chapter 14 opens, the 144,000 have been raptured to heaven. When chapter 14 closes, the Lord Jesus Christ returns to earth in judgment (14:14-20; II Thess. 1:7-9). In 14:6-13, John reveals God’s last call to lost man. This will most likely take place in the final few months, weeks, or even days of the seven year Tribulation. God gives His last call through four voices that John hears (14:6-13).
As we move into chapters 15 and 16, John reveals the fourth and final tour through the Tribulation and Second Coming, this time through the figure of THE POURING OF THE SEVEN VIALS. Perhaps the best way to comprehend what is happening in these chapters is to understand that for the last 6000 years of human history, God, Who is loving, gracious, merciful and kind has been storing up His wrath. In that 6000 year period, God’s name has been defied, disgraced, defamed, ridiculed, reproached, belittled, betrayed, and blasphemed. He has watched and listened from His throne room as puny little people have exalted themselves as if they were God. But be it known , for the last 6000 years, though God has been “longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (II Peter 3:9), His wrath has been filling up, being stored in seven vials (15:1; 16:1) in the temple of the tabernacle in heaven (15:5,6). The Tribulation Period is actual!
ly that time when God says, “That’s enough!”, and His wrath is poured out upon the earth (16:1).
Note that “the woman” described in chapter 17 (also referred to as “the great whore”), is a woman that has been seen throughout the entire Bible!
*She is the STRANGE WOMEN of the Book of Proverbs.
*She is the RELIGIOUS WOMAN of the Tower of Babel.
*She is “THAT WOMAN, JEZEBEL” of the Book of Revelation (2:20).
Chapter 17 reveals that she is the false religious system that the Antichrist will use during the Tribulation Period to unite the world religiously: the Roman Catholic Church.
Beware! The stage is being set right now in these last days of the Laodicean Church Period for the Antichrist to use that false system. That may help you to interpret some of the events we are seeing and will be seeing in the near future!