“The Seventh Vial”
“The job description of the saints”
This is one of the most exciting chapters in the book of Revelation, and no question, one of the most exciting chapters in the Bible. This is the job description of the saints for the next 50 years. .
TRANSCRIPT – kindly supplied by Sis Fay Berry
The book of Revelation
Study 2 by Neville Clark for Enfield Ecclesia’s special effort
“The Seventh Vial”
Reading: Revelation Ch 14
The job description of the saints
This is one of the most exciting chapters in the book of Revelation, and no question, one of the most exciting chapters in the Bible. This is the job description of the saints for the next 50 years. If you just recall the words that our reader read, in the last verses of Revelation Ch 14 about the judgments that are coming upon the world, you will understand just how busy we are going to be, on the one hand to bring down this colossal system of apostate mankind, and on the other hand, try to save people’s lives who are swept up in it. It is an extremely difficult job, and a job which is going to take some time to do. It’s not just like we can walk into the world as if it were a butcher’s shop, we’ve got to use precision to try and save lives, and to make discernments, about who is saved and who is not, out of the mortal population. So there is nothing haphazard here. In fact, there is nothing simple about this process, particularly when you imagine that this process is done amongst the seven billion inhabitants of the earth, across a period, we’re saying, of fifty years.
We concluded our last study
We concluded our last study like this, with the dual time-line of the book of Revelation and highlighting the last fifty years, that is the time period between the return of the Lord Jesus Christ to judge the household and the commencement of the 1,000 year reign; that is the millennial reign, of the Lord Jesus Christ. And we illustrated that, as you will remember, as two parallel histories, one political, one religious, and we proved that by making the scriptural links between Revelation 6 and Revelation 12, on the left hand side, and Revelation 11, and Revelation 20, on the right hand side of those two chronologies.
We found moreover that punctuating those historical chronologies were various kingdom visions, which were pulled out of the chronology as you can see on the screen; visions for the saints who lived in the various epochs of that history. Now we made the point about the last fifty years as I have just said, prior to the commencement of the millennium, and made the observation that there is an enormous number of chapters captured in that 50 year period, chapters 11, 16, 17, 18, 19, chapter 10, as we found this morning, chapter 14, as we are going to find in a moment. Why so many chapters? Why is 30% of the book of Revelation all going to happen in the next fifty years?
Well, the answer is very simple, because this particular portion of the Book of Revelation is the culmination of the plot, isn’t it? It is the destruction of the 6,000 year kingdom of men and these enormous, ferocious beasts which manifest it. That brought us to an explanation of the fifty years. You remember I made the point yesterday morning, that I had to explain to you the fifty years because we were going to have the exhortation on the seven thunders which were poured out in the last thirty of that fifty years. Now, ideally of course, the exhortation would have been after the study and everyone would be very clear on that. If for whatever reason you weren’t here yesterday, and missed the introduction, and then came into the exhortation and wondered how on earth it was all fitting into the seventh vial, all being well, by the end of Chapter 14, you will understand what the context of the time period was that we dealt with in our exhortation this morning.
The seventh vial, Revelation Ch 16
Now let me tell you what we are going to do today. First off we are going to begin in Revelation Ch 16 in the seventh vial where we left off speaking yesterday. The reason for that is because you are on familiar ground. The sixth vial concludes with the battle of Armageddon, we’ve had a bit of a brief précis of the seventh vial, so I think you will be comfortable starting there because you know where you are in the chronology of history, particularly with reference to where we are today. From there we are going to go to Ezekiel 38 and 39 because there is a quotation from Ezekiel 39 made in Revelation Ch 16 in the seventh vial, and you already know a lot about Ezekiel Ch 38. And so by me going back to Ezekiel 38 and 39, once again you are on familiar territory, and I think that will help you see how the judgment of the world is actually portrayed in Scripture. From there, we go to Revelation Ch 14 because Revelation Ch 14 is going to give you the minute detail of the seventh vial.
Now you are going to say to me, having just read this, “How on earth would you know that Revelation Ch 14 was going to explain the seventh vial of Revelation 16? Where would you go to make that assumption?” That’s what I will show you. It’s very clear and very solid. And finally, we are going to conclude by explaining the fifty year time period. Why do we say 50 years? What proof is there of fifty years, of this particular Jubilee time period? So we are going to put all that together and see how it works. If you’ve got a question mark about the timing, reserve it to, let’s say, the last ten or so minutes of the address this afternoon.
Okay. Revelation 16, let’s begin, back where we were yesterday. Revelation 16:12 is the sixth vial which began in the year 1820 with the drying up of the empire of Turkey, that is the Ottoman Empire. The three unclean spirits like frogs go out, so we’ve got the doctrines of the French Revolution percolating from west, eastward across Europe. The purpose of those doctrines, or “devils” as they are called in V 14, demons, is to drag the entire world to the battle of the great day of God Almighty, v 14 of Revelation 16. That battle is called Armageddon in v 16 and just before the battle of Armageddon, we are suggesting 10 years before in fact, v 15 the Lord Jesus Christ returns, and a salient point, I suppose, out of the sixth vial of Revelation 16 is the point you all know, when you see the world imminently heading toward Armageddon, understand that if Armageddon is in v 16, then Christ comes in v. 15. So if the world is no more than 10 years away from Armageddon today, in your estimation, then you should expect the Lord Jesus Christ to come tonight. You won’t see Russia invade Israel before you are at the judgment seat of Christ, that’s the point. Well, that much we know, very simple.
The sixth vial concludes with the battle of Armageddon
The sixth vial concludes with the battle of Armageddon. And you can see on the screen that’s year ten after the Lord Jesus Christ comes. What that means is that the seventh vial that commences in v 17 and goes through to v 21 occupies a period of 40 years, from year 10 to year 50. Now let’s look at the detail of v 17-21. Now the seventh vial, the first thing to observe is that v 17 is actually a summary of the entire process of the vial and the historical detail of how that comes about is given in v 18-21. Now how do we know that? Well because at the end of v 17 it says, that whatever this vial is going to do, “it is done.” It’s all done by the end of v 17, but we know from v 19 that great Babylon only falls then. Well the whole purpose of the seventh vial of course, is to bring great Babylon to a destructive end. So v 17, therefore must be a summary of the entire vial, because great Babylon is not destroyed until v 19.
V 17, “the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air, and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven from the throne saying it’s done.” Now here’s a question, what’s a vial? We keep talking about the vial. It’s simple, it’s just a bowl, and this bowl of judgment is tipped into the air, and the consequence of tipping that judgment into the air results in the complete accomplishment of the purpose of God and the destruction of the beast. So what’s the “air?” Well the “air” is a symbolic term signifying the “aerial region of the kingdom of men.” So what does that mean? That means the government of the kingdom of men. It is clearly a symbolic term, because there is no point in judging the “air,” not only that, but all of the other vials in Revelation 16, have judged various aspects of the Roman Empire, so you will see in v 2, “judgment upon the earth.” Now in the second line down on your page of v 2, “He poured out his vial upon the earth,” v 3, “the sea,” v 4, “the rivers,” v 8, “the sun,” v 10, “the seed of the beast,” v 12, “the river Euphrates.” So you see the “air” in v 17 is just another part of the Roman Empire. It is the government of the latter day phase of the Roman Empire, the European empire.
Now if you think you have never heard that before, think hard, because you actually have in this little quote from Ephesians 2: 2, the government of this age is called “the prince of the power of the air.” Ah, so the government is called the “prince of the power of the air.” So the “air” is speaking of the governing regions of our environment, of our society. What about this one? 1 Thess 4:17, we are going to be resurrected, we’re going to be “caught up in clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” Where shall we ever be with the Lord? Not in the sky. No, but in the government of the future age. You see, that’s what the “air” is here. We are promised to be kings and priests of the future age of an everlasting kingdom, so the “air” is the place of government. So that’s what this bowl is poured out upon, upon the government of the latter day stage of the Roman Beast.
The contrast to the “air,” is “heaven”
The contrast to the “air,” is heaven. Now look at this. v 17. the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air and there came a great voice out of the Temple of Heaven. Well, what’s “heaven?” What’s “the Temple?” Well that’s not very difficult either. The Temple is the ecclesia. How do you know? Because 2 Cor 6:16 says that we are “the temple of the living God.” Well then, what’s “heaven?” Well heaven is like the “air,” it’s an aerial region, it is a lofty region and in this case, it is the government of the Kingdom of God. “Heaven” is used to describe governments and “air“ is used to describe governments. When an empire falls, for example, we replace it with a “new heavens” and a “new earth.” Perhaps a new heaven and a new earth “wherein dwells righteousness,” so what sense therefore do you make of v 17? The temple is the ecclesia, the heaven is the government, this is the ecclesia in government.
Christ’s government in Jerusalem
This is Christ’s government in Jerusalem, that’s the “temple of heaven.”The “air” is the government of the Beast, the worldly government. Heaven is Christ’s government in this verse. Now in this case, all that’s happening in v 17 is that the government of the kingdom of God is pouring out its judgment on the government of the kingdom of men, so “air” and “heaven” can mean the same thing, except that one’s godly and the other’s not, in this case. You could well say, the “government of the kingdom of men,” you could describe that as “heaven” as well, but it wouldn’t make sense in this verse, I don’t think, to say that the temple of “Heaven” poured out a vial upon “heaven,’ so there is a distinction made here between “heaven” on the one hand and “air” on the other, because we are talking about two different governments, but they both mean “government;” the Kingdom of God, pouring out its judgment upon the kingdom of men.
Well, the result of that, you see, is, “it’s done.” The government of the kingdom of men is destroyed. The beast is dismembered and it’s killed. It’s done, and that’s why we are saying it is a summary verse, because that’s the whole purpose of this vial. That little phrase “it is done,” is a quotation from Ezekiel 39: 8, (put that in your margin, because we are going to have to turn that up shortly, but not just at the present.) Ezekiel 39:8 is where the phrase, “it is done,” comes from. Now, just by observation, you know what Ezekiel 38’s all about, so for me to be pointing you to a quote eight verses after Ezekiel 38 has completed you will appreciate that we’ve just finished Armageddon and we are onto the next phase of the judgment of the world by the time we get to Ezekiel 39. Now I am going leave it there, but you can see the immediate significance of having a quotation from the early verses of Ezekiel 39 in this context. Ezekiel 38 is Armageddon which is Revelation 16:16, “it is done,” Ezekiel 39:8. Ah, that’s extremely significant. I’ll stop there, because we’ll look at it shortly, but that’s the point.
And now here’s the detail of how it gets done. V 18, “There were voices, thunders, lightnings, and great earthquakes, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake and so great.” The “voices?” Well, those “voices” were the proclamations of the saints, this is the mid-heaven proclamation of Ch 14:6-7 going out in the seventh vial, and the thunders? Well they are the seven thunders of Revelation 10:4, in response to the fact that the world does not heed the mid-heaven proclamation, the thunder-judgments of Revelation 10 are poured out here. And there’s a great earthquake, it says in v 18.
There are three great earthquakes
There are three great earthquakes in the book of Revelation. Ch 6:12, Ch 11:13 and here Ch 16:18. And the reason, as we explained yesterday with this earthquake that is so great – greater than any earthquake there’s ever been, because this is the complete fall of the kingdom of men, this is the utter destruction of the image of Daniel Ch 2. Now I should just warn you, don’t confuse this “great earthquake” with the earthquake of Zechariah Ch 14. Do you remember? just before the battle of Armageddon, the Lord Jesus Christ stands on the Mount of Olives, it cleaves in two and creates a plain 40 miles wide and it is a literal “great earthquake.” There’s no question, that it is the greatest earthquake there has ever been in the history of the world, it’s a literal earthquake. This is a “political earthquake.” It happens some time after the battle of Armageddon, in fact, in year 50, so don’t confuse them, they are not the same, and they don’t happen at the same time, and one’s literal and the other is figurative, a political “great earthquake.”
Well, here’s why it is a “great earthquake,” v 19. “The great city was divided into three parts and the cities of the nations fell, and great Babylon came up in remembrance before God to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of God’s wrath,” and we made the point yesterday that the reason the great city was divided into three parts is because that great city Babylon is the empire of the kingdom of men, the latter day phase, the “iron and clay” phase, of Daniel Ch 2, but in the language of the book of Revelation, it’s described as three individual parts, v 13, “a dragon”, “a beast” and a “false prophet.” that is, the military, the economic and the religious aspects of that kingdom.
Now you might look at me, as I first looked when I read that as an explanation, and I thought, “Really, is that really the answer to the three parts of great Babylon? Do we have any precedent to help us there?” and in fact, “Yes, we do.” I will just offer this to you in case you find that a less convincing explanation of the three thirds of great Babylon. Come back with me, just for a moment, to Revelation Ch 8. Revelation Ch 8 is the first four trumpets, and those trumpets, those first four trumpets, were on a third of the Roman Empire, and if you haven’t done it, it is a good exercise to do, beginning in v 7 and running all the way through to v 12, the word “third.” Third, third, third, third occurs all the way through those verses, and v 12 is a classic example, “the fourth angel sounded and the third part of the sun was smitten,” “the third part of the moon,” “the third part of the stars,” and so “the third part was darkened,” you see.
The judgment on the third part of the Roman Empire
Well here is the judgment on the third part of the Roman Empire, and in the days when these judgments occurred the Roman Empire was culturally divided into three thirds. So my point is, “Wow, that’s not such a surprise that when you come to Revelation 16, great Babylon could be divided into three thirds as well, a religious, a military, and an economic dimension. V 20, “and every island fled away and the mountains were not found.” “Mountains” and “Islands” are empires and nations, so of course, when the judgments of God start to pour out upon Europe, everybody runs for cover, don’t they, everybody runs for cover. V 21, “And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, for the plague thereof was exceeding great.” So here are the judgments poured out upon the world, and as I said to you this morning, I have read various explanations of this, but I think the plague of hail is literal, and in Ezekiel 38 for example and in v 22, “I will plead with Gog,” says God, “with pestilence, blood, rain, fire, brimstone, hail stones.” So the natural elements are used to defeat Gog in the battle of Armageddon in Ezekiel 38, so why wouldn’t they be used to discipline Europe and to destroy the beast in the second great phase of Divine judgment? But this is interesting, I will show you something. You see in V 21 of Revelation 16, “Hail out of heaven.” Look at v 2 of Revelation 16, “sores,” or as the word means, “boils.” V 4, “blood.” V 10, “darkness.” V 13, “frogs.” Now where have you read those words before? They are the plagues of Egypt. They were the plagues that were used to discipline an empire once upon a time and lo and behold, we’ve got the very same things being poured out in the vials, the six vials of Revelation Ch 16.
God hasn’t changed
God hasn’t changed, you see, he uses the natural elements to discipline the kingdom of men, over and over again. And so, as I say, I think the seven thunders of Revelation Ch 10 will in fact be like seven Egyptian plagues. They are seven military campaigns of the greater than David, no doubt, but they, I believe, will be seven natural plagues – miraculous “natural plagues” are ushered into the world to discipline it and to try and turn its direction from the apostasy and iniquity that it currently pursues.
What will the saints do once the world is brought to heel and the beast is destroyed? Think about it in the words of Revelation 15. Look at this in v 2 of Revelation 15, “I saw, as it were, a sea of glass,” so there’s the nations, now subdued, “mingled with fire,” so they’re still licking their wounds from the judgment that has come upon them,“ and they who have “got the victory over the beast and over its mark and over its name, stand on the sea of glass having the harps of God,” there’s the saints, having disciplined the world, and what do they do? “They sing the song of Moses” the servant of God and the song of the lamb,” saying “great and marvellous are thy works,” quoting Exodus Ch 15. They sing the same song that Moses and his people sang when they crossed the Red Sea after the ten plagues had judged Egypt. You see, it is enormously parallel, in Revelation 16 to what happened 3,500 years ago when another empire was judged by God. So you could say, that in an allegorical sense, the destruction of great Babylon in V 19 of Revelation 16 is really just the destruction of a latter day Sodom and Egypt by plagues. So there’s the big picture, that’s what happens in the seventh vial.
Now let’s talk about this interesting little detail from Ezekiel. Come back with me to Ezekiel 39, our point, of course, don’t forget, is that Revelation 16:17 quotes Ezekiel 39:8. Now let’s come back to Ezekiel 39. I’m not going to tell you anything about Ezekiel 38 because you know your Ezekiel 38 pretty well. What I would tell you, is this, that the Chapter break is not really in a very good place, at the end of Ezekiel 38, because the first five verses of Ezekiel 39 are really a continuation of Ezekiel 38. How do we know? Well, because Ezekiel 39:1 says, “therefore, thou son of man,” Ezekiel, “prophesy against God and say, Thus says Adonai Yahweh, I am against the O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal.” These are identical words actually to Ch 38:3. Ezekiel 39 here is continuing the judgment upon the Gogian hordes. But when you come to Ezekiel 39:6, a new section begins, and we’ve got a new target in Ezekiel 39:6, and in addition to judging Gog and destroying him upon the mountains of Israel in Ezekiel 38, when you come to Ch 39:6 it says, “and I will send a fire upon Magog, and among them that dwell carelessly in the isles,” or as it ought to be “dwell carelessly in the coastal regions.” It’s not talking about the British Isles for example. “Those who dwell carelessly in the coastal regions, and they shall know that I am Yahweh he says in v 6. And then v 8, “Behold, it is come, and it is done, says Adonai Yahweh, this is the day whereof I have spoken,” and you will notice in V 8, the little “t” in your margin to Revelation 16:17. So there’s the quotation that John makes in Revelation 16 of Ezekiel 39: 8. Now what’s the point? Why don’t we turn to that, for this reason, the overthrow of the kingdom of men is done in two stages. In the context of Ezekiel, we have the destruction of Gog at Armageddon, a short limited duration battle, in Ezekiel Ch 38. As soon as that is done we have a judgment upon Magog, Catholic Europe, in Ezekiel Ch 39, you see? First there’s the battle of Armageddon, then there is the cleansing of Europe, that’s how Ezekiel portrays it. Armageddon is a short conflict, or relatively short. The cleansing of Europe, or Magog, is a substantially longer, protracted conflict. As far as the seventh vial is concerned, it begins with the battle of Armageddon, or at least the sixth vial ends with the battle of Armageddon and the seventh vial ends with the fall of great Babylon, year 10 and year 50.
Well, Ezekiel 38 is what happens in year 10 and Ezekiel 39 is what happens up to year 50. Why is it important to understand that? Well, you come back to Revelation Ch 16, I’ll show you why. I’m going to show you how Revelation 16 links with Revelation Ch 14. This is now the “deep hail” of Revelation 16 as it is explained in Revelation 14. The world is subdued by means of two great battles, the battle of Armageddon, which is a short-term battle, and the fire upon Magog, or the cleansing of Europe, which is a long-term battle. In fact I would suggest to you that the cleansing of Europe is none other than the seven thunders of Revelation Ch 10. But let me show you that clearly. Look at Revelation Ch 16:16, here is the battle of Armageddon, that’s Ezekiel 38. Now right across the page to your left and look at Revelation 14:15. “Another angel came out of the Temple crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud and he said, Thrust in thy sickle and reap, for the time has come for you to reap, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” Now the “harvest of the earth,” well, you see half way through V 15 where it says, “thrust in thy sickle,” and you’ve got a little marginal note there by that “l,” Joel 3:13. What does Joel 3:13 say? “Put ye in the sickle for the harvest is ripe,” and what is Joel 3:13 talking about? Why, the battle of Armageddon. So you could take your colored pencil therefore, and you could color the word “Armageddon,” in Ch 16:16 and you could color in the phrase, “for the harvest of the earth is ripe,” in Ch 14:15 and link them together, because there’s the battle of Armageddon being spoken about in Revelation16 and in Revelation 14.
Great Babylon came into remembrance before God
What about this one, Ch 16:19, “The great city was divided into three parts, the cities of the nations fell, great Babylon came into remembrance before God,” why? “to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.” Now run across the page and take a look at Ch 14:19, “The angel thrust in his sickle to the earth and gathered the vine of the earth and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.” So you could color in the phrase “the wine of the fierceness of his wrath” in Ch 16:19 and you could go across the page to Ch 14:9 and color in the phrase, “winepress of the wrath of God,” and you could link those two things together, there’s the judgment upon Magog. We’ve got Armageddon, which is Ezekiel 38, we’ve got the “wine of God’s wrath,” which is Ezekiel Ch 39. Now, one last thing to show you, In Revelation 14, and I am going to put all this together for you, in Revelation 14, you see in V 15 this little phrase at the end of the verse “for the harvest of the earth is ripe,” it’s a reference to Armageddon, and what we are saying is that in the language of Revelation 14, Armageddon is called “the harvest of the earth.” That’s all I want to say about that, it’s just called “the harvest of the earth.” And in V 19, the judgment upon Magog, “the cleansing of Europe,” that is called, do you see the little phrase, halfway through the verse, “the vine of the earth,” it should in fact be translated “the vintage of the earth.” So the cleansing of Europe is called “the vintage of the earth.”
What are we saying? The battle of Armageddon is like “harvesting grain,” and the cleansing of Europe is like “crushing grapes.” That’s what it is saying, but in the words of Revelation 14, Armageddon is the harvest of the earth, the cleansing of Europe is the vintage of the earth. Now I am laboring the point. Why am I doing it? Here is why. Here’s how it fits into the 50 years. Look, Year 10, we have the battle of Armageddon, Revelation 16, or the destruction of Gog in Ezek 38, or the smiting of the Image, Daniel 2, or the harvest of the earth, Rev 14. Then from year 20 to 50 which are the seven thunders that you read of in Revelation Ch 10, we have the fall of great Babylon in Revelation 16, or fire upon Magog, Ezekiel 39, or the grinding to powder of Daniel’s image, Daniel 2. or the vintage of the earth, Revelation 14.
Now there looks like I’ve got a mistake there, I’ve got “fire upon Magog” it should be Ezek 39:6-8, the second line on stage 2.
Can you see upon the very top of the screen, the sixth vial, and the seventh vial, can you see that the seventh vial begins and ends in war. It begins with the battle of Armageddon in year 10, and it concludes with the conclusion of stage 2, “the vintage of the earth,” the destruction of the beast and the cleansing of Europe in year 50. Can you see that? So the seventh vial of Rev 16:17-21 begins and ends in war. One is called the smiting of the image, the other, the grinding of it to powder and those other parallels that you see on the screen, and can you see that we’ve now linked Revelation 16 directly to Revelation Ch 14. I hope that’s clear. What have we said?
The seventh vial encompasses a forty year period in terms of our timeline, from year 10 to year 50.
There are two major conflicts in the seventh vial
There are two major conflicts in the seventh vial, or I’m going to say it like this. First there’s the battle of Armageddon which has really been the last thing of the sixth vial, but it begins, the seventh vial if you like, in year 10, and the second conflict is the destruction of the beast and the cleansing of Europe. They are called the “harvest of the earth,” and the “vintage of the earth.” You will appreciate that the battle of Armageddon is a very short battle which might happen in one year, but the cleansing of Europe is a far more difficult thing to perform; it takes a period of 30 years, which we believe are the seven thunders of judgments, the plague thunder-judgments you might say, of Revelation Ch 10, years 20 – 50.
Now here’s an observation for the careful readers amongst us. Look hard now, at these last verses of Revelation 14. In this section of Revelation 14, you will see in v 15, “another angel.” Now, we’ve got another angel in v 15, we’ve got another angel in v 17, and we’ve got another angel in v 18, and those angels all come from different places. It says in v 15, that the angel came “out of the temple,” but it says in v 17, that this second angel in v 17 came out of the “temple in heaven.”
Ok, now here’s my hard question, what’s the difference between “coming out of the temple,” and “coming out of the temple in heaven?” And when you answer this question, it will prove everything we have just said. All right, what is the temple? The temple is the ecclesia. So in v 15 of Revelation 14, we’ve got an angel that comes out of the ecclesia, and in v 17, “the temple in heaven,” what’s the Temple in heaven? Ah! It’s the ecclesia in government. Can you see therefore, that by the time you get to v 17, the ecclesia is in government, which means that Christ’s throne is established in Jerusalem, because that’s where the government of the future age is going to be, therefore v 17-20 is all happening when Christ is enthroned in Jerusalem. In v 15, at the battle of Armageddon it is not from the ecclesia in government because Christ does not set up his government until he takes the city of Jerusalem which doesn’t happen until after he destroys Gog at Armageddon. Christ’s government doesn’t really start until year 11 or something like that, because he’s got to destroy Gog, liberate the city of Jerusalem from Gog, and then he can establish his government upon the ancient throne of David in Jerusalem. So then the angel in v 15 comes out of the temple and thrusts in his sickle to reap the harvest of Armageddon, of course he doesn’t come the temple in heaven because Christ hasn’t yet set up his government in Jerusalem. But when you come to purge Magog, in v 17-20, we’re here, because Christ has set up his government in Jerusalem in year 11, of course, I am assuming that Armageddon takes a year, but you can pick a date, some time after year 10.0. The temple is no longer “the temple,” but it’s “the temple in heaven.” And so you see, in v 15, is Armageddon and v 17-20 is some time after Armageddon.
The one hundred and forty four thousand
Let me ask you this, what does that government in heaven look like? So Christ takes Jerusalem, he establishes the throne of David, he’s now ruling from the city of Jerusalem, the little stone is going to grow and fill the entire earth, what does that look like? Well, I will show you, v 1 Revelation 14. “I looked,” he says, “and lo, a lamb stood on the Mt Zion and with him 144,000 having the Father’s name written in their foreheads.” Christ is in possession of Jerusalem in Revelation 14:1. He’s just taken it from Gog at the battle of Armageddon, he now controls Mount Zion, there are the saints in government, there is “the temple in heaven,” in Revelation 14:1. How do we know? Well look v 3. The saints are singing as it were a new song before the throne. Whereabouts are they singing it? You are going to say to me, “Well, they are singing it on Mount Zion, it says so in v 1?” Yes, but that’s not all it says, look at v 2. “And I heard a voice from heaven as the voice of many waters,” they are singing it from Mount Zion in heaven because they are in the government of Mount Zion, you see? That’s what’s happened here. But now we’ve got a problem, because what that means is that Revelation 14:1 happens after Revelation 14:15. So now we’ve got a problem trying to work out the structure of Revelation 14. But why am I saying that Revelation 14:1 happens after Revelation 14:15? Well because Revelation 14:15 is speaking about the battle of Armageddon, and in Revelation 14:1 Christ is already in Jerusalem, well that’s after Armageddon, because he conquers Jerusalem at the battle of Armageddon. What that means is that Revelation 14 is not entirely in order. You see that, how do we solve that problem? Well, here’s the clue, take your colored pencil again, Ch 14:1, “And I looked, and lo.” Ch 14:14, “and I looked, and behold” and the chapter splits into two halves, you see? V 1-13 are chronological. v 14-20 are two appendices on the end of the chapter, and this is how Revelation 14 breaks up.
Vs 1-5, the 144,000 with the Lamb on Mount Zion, the temple in heaven, Christ and the saints in government in Jerusalem, David’s throne re-established, let’s call it year 11 on our time line. The mid-heaven proclamation goes out, years 10-20. The world must submit to the reign of Christ in order for that little stone to grow and encompass the entire earth. Well, the world doesn’t submit, v 8, so Rome is destroyed, the city of Rome in Italy is destroyed, but even that doesn’t do it. So Vs 9-11 “fire upon Magog,” the seven thunders of Revelation 10 are poured out as seven military campaigns, or if you like, seven great plagues, they bring the nations to heel, and destroy the beast system, resulting vs 12-13 in the triumph of the saints and the millennial rest, that is the cessation of labor, of the next thousand years.
We have two appendices
And we have two appendices, V 14-16, the battle of Armageddon and the harvest of the earth, and the second appendices Vs 17-20 the Vintage of the earth, the cleansing of Europe. Why do we have those two Appendices in Revelation 14? We have these two appendices because the seventh vial begins and ends with war. And the first war isthe battle of Armageddon, Appendices 1 and the second war, the concluding war, is the vintage of the earth, appendix 2. That’s the structure of Revelation 14. And that’s how Revelation 14 supplies the detail of the seventh vial of Revelation Ch 16.
Put all that on a time line
Let me show you this too, let’s go the next step and put all that on a time line. That may look like a lot on the screen, but it’s not very hard, just look at it carefully. If I was to take Revelation 14 and split those verses up across 40 years from year 10 to year 50, that’s what they would look like. I haven’t yet done it, young people, but I’m going to do it, mark that into my margin in Revelation Ch 14. The first thing that happens in year 10:14-15, the battle of Armageddon, year 11 or just after year 10, Vs 1-5, the Lamb on Mount Zion, Christ has conquered the city of Jerusalem, then, ten years, here, the mid-heaven proclamation from year 10 to year 20, then the fall of Rome, Vs 8, Revelation 14, in year 20. Then the judgment of Europe, and that’s explained twice Vs 9-11, and the 2nd appendix Vs 17-20, and it concludes in year 50 with the rejoicing of the saints.
Now you might say to me, now hang on, how do you know that V. 9-11 are parallel to Vs 17-20? Well, look at V 10, “the same will drink of the wine of the wrath of God,” that’s exactly the language of v 19. “The vintage of the earth,” that’s the language in v 10 of the “vintage of the earth.” So you see, v 10 is directly parallel to v 19, that’s what it is, that’s how Revelation 14 breaks up across the last 40 of the 50 year period. V 1, “ I looked and lo a lamb stood upon Mount Zion and with him 144,000 that had his Father’s name written in their foreheads. 144,000 is not a literal number. The word “thousand” in Judges 6:15 is translated “families.” So we could read this as 144 families or better, twelve x twelve families. 12 is the number of Israel, so 144,000 therefore is the collective number, if you like, of the entire “Israel of God.” This is the Divine family on earth, if you like. “They sing a new song, v 3 before the throne.”
What is the new song? Well, he is saying “before the throne and before the beasts,” that they had been redeemed from the earth, this 144,000. Well it’s not really a new song, because you read the words of that new song way back in Revelation Ch 5:9-10, but they have been redeemed by the blood of Christ and made kings and priests on the earth, so it’s hardly new; we might even sing that song today, so in which way would you call this “a new song?” Well you might like to take a note of John 3:34, Jesus said at that time, “A new commandment I give unto you that you love one another.” Now it wasn’t a new commandment to love one another, it was a pretty old commandment from Leviticus Ch 19, but the difference was, Jesus said, a new commandment I give unto you that you love one another, “as I have loved you.” You keep the old commandment in a new way. They simply sing an old song “in a new way,” because they are now immortal. It is one thing for us to sing the words of Revelation Ch 5, it is a very different thing to sing those words when you no longer have the encumbrance of sin, when you no longer need to sleep at night. So you see, you sing an old song in a new way, called here, in consequence, “a new song.”
V 5, “In their mouth was found no guile.” Why is that? Well, these saints are copies of the Lord Jesus Christ, and of him we read in 1 Peter 2:22, “No guile was found in his mouth.” And “they are without fault before the throne of God.” Now the saints of course, aren’t inherently faultless. None of us is inherently faultless, but this is the fulfilment of Jude 24. Jude 24 says, “Unto him that is able to keep you from falling and present you faultless before the presence of his glory.” We are not without fault, but we are “presented” without fault. We are not inherently without fault, but we are now in v 5, because we are immortal, we are made like that in fulfilment of Jude 24. And then v 6, I saw another angel. Well the word “another” is not there actually, there are no other angels at this point, “I saw an angel fly in the midst of heaven,” He’s got the everlasting gospel to preach to them that dwell on the earth, “to every nation, kindred, tongue and people.” This is what’s called the “everlasting gospel,” it is not a reference to the promises to Abraham, it’s not a reference to the conventional gospel message that we use today, it’s the “everlasting gospel,” that is, “The gospel of the age,” that is the gospel of the kingdom age. And that gospel is given to you in v 7, that gospel says, “Fear God, give glory to him, for the hour of his judgment is come and worship him that made heaven, earth, sea and the fountains of waters.” Perhaps you already have in your margin there, a link between v 7 and Revelation 10:6. Perhaps you have a link between Revelation 14:6 “kindred, tongues, people” and Revelation 10:11, the everlasting gospel goes out to the nations of the world. It’s called here “the mid-heaven proclamation,” or “the gospel in the midst of heaven.” What does that mean? What’s heaven? Heaven is government. Which government is this gospel being preached into? The government of the beast, it’s being preached into the government of the beast. Where it says here, an angel flew in the midst of heaven having that gospel, it’s a parallel verse to Revelation 16:17, “he poured out his vial into the air,’ same thing as “heaven,” if you like. What does that mean in practical terms for you and me? It means that we’re going to have to go to the governments of the world and give them the summons of the Lord Jesus Christ. The saints may well have to demonstrate their authority by miracles, in the same way that Moses went before Pharaoh and was required to prove his authority. But understand, this is what Bro Thomas says about this gospel,
“The proclamation in mid-heaven is pentecostian, not judicial and vengeful. This gospel is an appeal. It is not a sentence, it is an appeal to the nations to submit, it announces the approach of judgments impending, it warns of the coming seven thunders. Not an actual manifestation, and therefore invites a return to God as the condition of liberty or escape from the wrath to come.”
So it’s a warning. In some way you might say, it’s a threat of imminent judgment, but it is an attempt to convert the nations, rather than bludgeon them into submission. The plagues will certainly do the punitive part, but this is an appeal to the nations. Well, it begs the question really, from people like us, “fear God, give glory to him.” What would happen if we were asked by John, who may well be running this preaching campaign, the apostle, to go back to Adelaide, Australia, and to preach to the people in Adelaide, Australia, “to fear God and give glory to him?” Would our worldly acquaintances be surprised to hear us saying things like that in that day? Would it be especially evident to them that of course, it is Bro Neville Clark that’s going to come and tell that to me because he’s always talked like that, he’s always talked about these things being about to happen, or would they say, “Well, how about that? Where did you come from? You wouldn’t have thought you’d hide your light under a bushel?” There’s a bit of soul-searching here, in v 7 about just how consistent we are with this message now, because, as I made the point this morning, if this is not our message now, if this is not our character now, then you can be certain we won’t be doing that then.
Now, what does the world think about the message? Well, you don’t know, all you know is what happens in v 8, “There followed another angel saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” The nations are too drunk to respond, they are comatose by the doctrines of Rome and their allegiances, and their cultural heritages and they don’t want to hear that they should become spiritual Jews, but they are Catholic through and through and intend to remain so. Wallop, v 8, up in flames goes the city of Rome, so we have now removed the administrative centre of the Catholic Church, we’ve destroyed it. Now that’s almost like a shot across the bow of the beast, isn’t it. That hardly destroys the beast, just one city has been destroyed, but it was the “eternal city,” you understand. It was the capital city of this empire. I mean, Russia has already been dismembered in the battle of Armageddon, this is what’s left, this is what stops the world repenting, and Rome is destroyed in v 8. Then the third angel follows in v 9 “saying with a loud voice,” now understand, “if any man worship the beast and his image and receive his mark in his forehead or in his hand, the same will drink of the wine of the wrath of God,” and you will notice the verbal parallel between v 10 and v 8, Babylon made the nations drunk with her wine, If you persist in drinking that liquor, the angel says, then you will drink this as well, “the wine of the wrath of God,” he says. Well, they drink it, because they won’t respond, and v 11 says, “the smoke of their torment ascended up forever and ever, and they have no rest day or night who worshipped the beast and his image and who received the mark his name. Plague after plague after plague comes upon them because they will not respond. They say they will respond, they pretend to respond, I suppose, like Pharaoh did, but the moment the saints’ back is turned they change their mind, so the next plague, the next thunder-judgement has to be ushered in across that 30 year period until year 50.
Well that’s where we have got to. How long will all of this take? There are the time periods. I’m going to show you three time periods. 50 year jubilee – I’m going to give you one quote on that, 40 years for the re-gathering of Israel, I’m going to give you a couple of quotes for that, I’m going to put them up on the screen, no need to turn them up, you’ve got them in front of you. Thirty years, is one hour with the beast, very complicated, and for those of you who haven’t done much study on the time periods of the book of Revelation, you know what, for five minutes your eyes might glaze over, but I will tell you what you have to know at the end.
Why a Jubilee Period
The Jubilee period, why a jubilee period? Well, Leviticus 25:10 says, “You shall hallow the 50th year, you shall proclaim liberty throughout all of the lands to the inhabitants thereof, it will be a Jubilee for you and you shall return every man to his possession and every man to his family.” So in a jubilee year the land was returned to the families who owned it and everyone returned back to their land. Why do we say there is a Jubilee, or a 50 year period? It is an educated guess based on the most likely scenario. So this is Bro Thomas’ view, there is no more solid quote than that I don’t believe to suggest the Jubilee period, except that, we must allow 40 years for the gathering of Israel, and beyond that, we’ve got to have the judgment of the saints, the marriage of the Lamb, the subjugation of the Arab nations – that’s not the work of a moment, so we need another time period a little bigger than 40 years to encompass all this work. Well, the Jubilee is the next biggest time period, and there is a certain appropriateness about that, you see, because the land returns to the nation at the year of Jubilee, and having been out of the nation for hundreds and hundreds of years, regathered Israel will very probably return at a Jubilee. You see, there is a certain appropriateness about that.
How long will all of this take? – the logic of the time periods.
Well, all right, how long will it take to gather Israel? Well, Micah Ch 7:15 says, “According to the days of thy coming out of Egypt will I show unto you marvellous things.” So you might look at Micah Ch 7 and say, well, the second Exodus is going to be very much like the first Exodus. It took 40 years the first time, it will take 40 years the second time. Well that is a legitimate reading of Micah, but it is not the only reading, you could read Micah to say, well, the events which in the first Exodus will be the same sort of events that happen in the second, but not the same time period. Yes, yes, but then how do you overcome Ezekiel 20? “I will bring them to the wilderness of the people and there will I plead with you face to face, like as I pled with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt.” In fact it’s all the way through Ezekiel 20 the word “wilderness” occurs the second exodus is a direct parallel with the first exodus, and let’s be frank, why do you suppose it would take less than 40 years to convert the Jews of our day when it took 40 years to convert the Jews of Moses’ day? And why do you suppose it will take less than 40 years to convert the gentiles if it takes 40 years to convert the Jews? People don’t change in a heartbeat do they? We are talking about people in the world having entrenched positions on their view; on the existence of God, on the relevance of the Lord Jesus Christ as the Messiah? It is not the work of a moment. So 40 years, therefore, would appear to be a reasonable time period.
And now, 30 years, and this is the more difficult time period here, 30 years, or “one hour with the beast.” In Revelation 14, there are no time periods given except for v 7. And the mid-heaven proclamation says, “fear God and give glory to him for the hour of his judgment is come. So the mid-heaven proclamation warns of an “hour of judgment.” And you might look at me and say, well, that’s like “the hour of Christ’s death,” or the hour of this or that event, a figurative term, you couldn’t make anything of that. Well, yes, but come across the page, two pages, to Revelation 17 and 18 and the fact that this phrase “hour,” now keeps cropping up all the way through these chapters. Ch 17:12, last couple of lines, “they received power as kings, one hour with the beast.” Rev 18:10, “for in one hour Babylon’s judgment is come.” Rev 18:17, “in one hour so great riches has come to nought,” end of Rev 18:19, “In one hour she was made desolate.” It’s a biblical time period. It’s not just a general epoch of time it’s a specific time period. Well, what do we do with that? Well we invoke what we call “the day for a year principle.” I mean, it’s nonsense to say, in one hour, Rev 17:12, “the kings will have power one hour with the beast,” Parliament can hardly convene a session in one hour, let alone kings of the world have power with an empire of the world for an hour. It is clearly a biblical time period, which we’ve got to interpret. Well, here’s the “day for a year” period. Simply, it is based on a number of quotations or precedents from the Old Testament. The classic one is Numbers 14. The twelve spies went into the land for 40 days, ten of them brought back an evil report, that convinced the bulk of the nation, so they were destined to wander in the wilderness for 40 years, one year for every day the spies were there. There’s the basis for one day becoming one year. All right, let’s talk about an hour, what do you get if you convert an hour using the day for a year principle? Well, one hour is 1/12th of a day, based on the Jewish day in John 11:9 which has 12 hours in it. so one hour’s one twelfth of a day. Well, the 1/12th of a day becomes 1/12th of a year, and 1/12th of a year is a month, so if you take one hour and you convert it using the day for a year principle, you get one month. 1/12th of a day, becomes 1/12th of a year, which is one month, or 30 days. And here’s the trick, we convert again. we convert that one hour a second time. One hour becomes 30 days, 30 days becomes 30 years. So that’s why we say 1 hour equals 30 years. At this point, even if you haven’t followed what I said, your eyes might glaze over and you say, you’re are a bit uncomfortable about using a double conversion. All right, I accept what you say, Brother, a day for a year, we can convert ten days to ten years, yes, but twice? Ok, well here are all the time periods of the book of Revelation, the reason we do sometimes two conversions, sometimes one conversion, and sometimes no conversions is based on this thing called the decorum of the symbol, here’s the rule. Whenever you read “hours” or parts thereof in the book of Revelation, you convert twice, without exception. Wherever you read “days,” you convert once, with one exception, in Rev 11:9, you’ve got a bit of a complication there, with the witnesses, but apart from that you convert once. Whenever you read “years” in the book of Revelation, like 1,000 years, you do no conversation at all, so there’s the rule. “Hours” convert twice, ‘days’ convert once, years do not convert at all. All right, at least we are consistent. But why, why is this happening? and here is the answer that Bro Thomas gives and that many other commentators before him gave as well, it is the “decorum of the symbol,” now what does that mean? It means that if you want to use a certain symbol in Revelation to describe something, and you want to have a time period attached to that symbol, the time period has got to be consistent with the symbol. Here’s Bro Graham Pearce in “Revelation, which interpretation,” and page 68, “If the symbol is an “earthquake,” then the time element is appropriate to earthquakes. “In the same hour there was a great earthquake in Rev 11:13. It would be inappropriate to have a symbolic earthquake for say a year, because earthquakes don’t last that long. Well, what if you want to use the symbol of an earthquake and you want to make that cover 300 years, well, you might have to convert twice to get to 300, you see, because you insist on using the symbol of an earthquake. If ravaging wild beasts are the symbol, then a time period of 1260 days is appropriate. It would be incongruous to have a wild beast active for 1260 years which is in fact the time period you want to say, why? Because beasts just don’t live 1260 years. There you are. The reason we sometimes convert once or twice depends on what symbol we are using compared to what ultimate time period we want to get to, but the rule is never broken. Down here, one hour converts twice or parts of hours convert twice, days convert once, and years don’t convert at all.
Now yesterday, a brother said to me, “What do you make of Revelation Ch 20, when it says a thousand years, why wouldn’t you convert that using the day for a year principle, when you convert everything else using the day for a year principle?” I gave him some answers, and I said, “You know what, I’ll write it down for you. Now I’m not going to go through all of this because you’ve got a copy, but here’s the point – I’ll just go through a couple of them. The 1000 years is repeated all the way through Ch 20, half a dozen times, it is repeated, 1000 years, 1000 years, 1000 years – there’s got to be a significance there. This is the only time period in Revelation which is given solely in years, so that means Revelation 20 is unique compared with the other chapters. All other references to 1,000 years in scripture are literal years, in fact, all other prophetic time periods which are given in years are interpreted literally. If you did use the day for a year conversion, in Revelation 20 of the 1000 years it would become 360,000 which is 100 times longer than any other Biblical time period in the Bible. What’s more a 1000 year kingdom fits well with the seven thousand year plan. And finally the millennial interpretation of Revelation 20, was in fact accepted by the early church fathers until the church became firmly established under Constantine. When Constantine established the Catholic Church, they decided that the kingdom was the church, and the last thing they wanted to contemplate was a thousand year kingdom of Jesus Christ on earth, so out goes that idea. So it’s really simple, the shorter the time period you are given in Revelation the more likely you are to convert multiple times. Hours convert twice, days convert once, and years don’t convert at all.
The result of al that Rev 14:12, “Here is the patience of the saints, they that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. V 12 of Revelation 14 in fact answers the last words of v 10 of Revelation 13, under the persecution of the beast the saints were required to be patient and endure, well, here’s the payback for their patience, they have now destroyed the beast in Revelation Ch 14, and established their rest for the next 1,000 years. So in conclusion, brothers and sisters, do you see the power of Revelation Ch 14. This is the job description for the saints for the next 50 years. We are going to bring down the entire empire of the kingdom of men, economically, religiously, militarily. Babylon gave them wine to drink and made them utterly intoxicated, we in return will feed them the wine of the wrath of God, for their trouble. It’s an enormous task, these beasts are powerful creatures, they are obstinate creatures, they are entrenched in what they believe, but there’s the job, and as the Psalmist says in Psalm 149, “this honor have all his saints.”
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