Revelations: Chapter 11
We will begin in Chapter Eleven, but since the first verse is connected with Chapter Ten, let us begin by re-reading the last three verses of the previous chapter:
"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"(Revelation 10:9-11).
The word "prophesy" means to speak under the inspiration of God. If we limit our understanding to John receiving revelation knowledge from God then we limit the blessing that is for us today. John is the disciple or the vessel that God used, but he represents you and me today as Christ upon the earth. As we begin with chapter eleven, we must realize that we are the ones God is inspiring to speak to "many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings."
Verse One: "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."
This "reed" is symbolic of a measuring tool that has been given to us, the church, to discern "truth" which is being presented to God in His temple. We have been given a measuring stick to measure the temple of God, the altar, and those that worship within. This might sound confusing because we are taught in Matthew chapter seven not to judge. However, if we read beyond the first few verses in chapter seven we find we are to judge righteously.
As we are growing up in Christ, going through the stages of development and maturity that Passover and Pentecost takes us through, we are not to be judging others because we still have areas in our own lives which won't allow us to see fully through the eyes of God's understanding. Once we go into the Holy of Holies we no longer have an opinion of right or wrong because we are dead in Christ, and the life we now live is in Him. When we are seated in heavenly places with Christ, we then have the ability to analyze through the eyes of God to judge righteously. This doesn't mean that we are blinded to what is going on in the world, but that we allow the grace, mercy, and love of God to go before us. "It is the prayers of a righteous man that avails much"(James 5:16).
The word "temple" is "naios" meaning the Holy of Holies. Spiritually, this would be a person's heart. This is where righteous judgment must take place, not from the position where we judge based on what we see on the outside. Only Jesus Christ has the right to judge from a person's heart. For us to function as kings, priests, and ambassadors for God we must do so with the mind of Christ only; not with a mixture of our own opinions. Only God knows the fullness of an individual's heart and all that is entailed in their life which would cause positive or negative issues to arise.
The altar is the place of sacrifice. We each must come to a place of sacrifice where we give up all the thought processes that we possess and we now move into what He possesses. The Ark of the Covenant was the place that the High Priest took the offering of blood for the atonement of the sins of the people. Jesus did this for us over 2000 years ago. Today, we are the righteousness of God in Christ whether we believe it or not. This is how we must see others; as Jesus Christ sees us, because He gave His life for the remission of sin once and for all. We are each being sent out to do the Father's business as Jesus did while He walked the earth.
We are told to measure them that worship. It is not literally "therein" but within what is taking place in their heart. God is Spirit and He seeks those to worship Him in Spirit and Truth. God is not looking for the outward worship of sacrifice and praise that religion has to offer in the Pentecost and Passover realms. He desires to teach us how to judge righteously by seeing the hearts of His people.
Verse 2: "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."
Everything outside the temple is flesh. We are not talking about a physical temple, but the thoughts and ideas that are created with our natural understanding. We are the temple of the living God, and He dwells within us. Everything that is not God, or is outside of our heart (the mind of Christ) doesn't mean anything! It is only temporary. He said for us to "leave it out, cast it off and measure it not." How many of us measure our lives today by the judgments of what occurred in our past? This is all part of the challenge we have to let go of past issues and leave them at the altar in the outer court.
The word "measure" means an affixed standard or a lot by rule. We are only to look at the heart. Isn't that what we would want others to see when we do something wrong? Wouldn't we want them to see the bigger picture of our life with love and grace instead of condemnation?
People pay huge amounts of money daily to counselors to confess their dark secrets of their past trying to release the torment they have caused. Many of us will spill our guts to be rid of our demons under the pretense of doctor/patient privacy even though the truth has already been established by Jesus Christ. Only God can forgive sin. The penalty and debt of our past has already been paid through the cross of Calvary. When we receive Jesus Christ as our personal savior we receive the inheritance to supernaturally forgive ourselves and others.
What would Jesus do when confronted with diverse situations? "Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things so ever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise" John 5:19. So what did the Father tell Jesus to do? "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers' temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed"(James 1:2-6).
Jesus had to be the manifested WORD of the Father for us to have a visual in order to understand how we are to think and act as sons of God. Jesus had to count it ALL joy so that His words reflected the heart of the Father, for "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine:" (Proverbs 17:22), and "a merry heart hath a continual feast" (Proverbs 15:15). In everything that Jesus was confronted with he had to find "the joy of the Lord (his Christ identity) as his strength"(Nehemiah 8:10).
We must know that we now have God's heart, or the mind of Christ, in order to see the creation of God through His eyes. If we try to understand the ways of our Father with our natural mind, also known as an old stony heart, we will speak words from "our heart that proceeds evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man:" (Matt 15:19-20).
"For the word (Christ in us) of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12).
"And the holy city shall they tread underfoot forty and two-months."
Today, we have the ability to walk in the power and authority of the mind of Christ. The "holy city" shall be our lifestyle; the place of His residence in us. Forty-two months are equivalent to three and one-half years. This is not a literal number. This number has a spiritual significance we are supposed to connect with in relationship to the ministry of Jesus while he walked the earth. It also represents the 42 generations that natural Israel(our flesh) was in oppression before Jesus Christ.
The whole time that humanity is on this earth is a time of ministry. The whole time we are in our natural body is a time of ministry. The Spirit of God is ministering to each of us in the Spirit and using the flesh to help us overcome our imagination. We are not to give place to the flesh's way because it doesn't count with God, but we are to remember that God uses the natural for us to understand His ways (1 Corinthians 15:46). Our focus as an overcomer is to be upon the heart of humanity as Jesus demonstrated rather than the outer appearance.
We are told by Solomon in Ecclesiastes Chapter Three that "time" is a temporary vessel created by God for the purpose of maturing into our true identity in Him. If something can be affected by time, then it is not real, but an illusion. Maturing in Christ comes to the understanding that only the WORD will last forever. "As He is, so are we in this world" (1 John 4:17).
Verse 3: "And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth."
The words "power and unto" are not in the original. The verse should say "I will give of me two witnesses." This means that there will be a witness of God in the earth. The number "two" is not a literal two people but a spiritual number meaning "union and division."
Only the word of God is true prophesy. 2 Peter 1:20-21 tells us, "Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit" NIV. It is a sword that divides and unites. "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart"(Hebrews 4:12).
God will give His word of truth to those clothed in sackcloth or humility and grief. This is not someone that is penniless and depressed, but those that have put aside their own feelings, emotions, and natural understanding to lift up the ways of God that will unite and edify the body of Christ. Again, the number; one-thousand two hundred and three score days (42 months), is symbolic of the lives of each generation being a ministry for God's purpose and plan so that He will be glorified all in ALL.
Verse 4: "These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth."
We can go to Zech 4:11-14 to find a witness about these candlesticks and olive trees:
"Then answered I, and said unto him, what are these two olive trees upon the right side of the candlestick and upon the left side thereof? And I answered again, and said unto him, What be these two olive branches which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves? And he answered me and said, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. Then said he, these are the two anointed ones that stand by the LORD of the whole earth."
Then when we read in Romans11:15-26:
"For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches. And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. Thou wilt say then, the branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not high minded, but fear: For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again. For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree? For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins."
The double witness of what God is doing is found in the Old Testament and New Testament. The Old Testament represents our carnal understanding or people that want to play religious games with God and His children. They didn't care about God; they just wanted their rules, regulations, doctrines, and creeds to control the body of Christ. The New Testament is a witness to God using people such as Paul who were grounded in religion to go to those that had no relationship with God. This is not about the nation of Israel on one side and the Church on the other as most pastors preach. This is about two kinds of people. People who love God with a relationship of knowing Him as Father, and people who play games with God in their Christian walk with a mixture of grace and law.
We have previously studied about the candlesticks being representative of the church's characteristics. In this verse, speaking of two candlesticks would mean a witness about the church. This is not literally two buildings somewhere on earth, but the true church or body of Christ, and those that represent Christianity by a doctrine or tradition surrounded by a building. There have always been people who are sincere in the body of Christ and those that are not. This is the double witness that has always been around. It is God's word that separates and divides the real from the false for us to know the true bride of Christ. The body of Christ must be connected with the mind of Christ which Jesus demonstrated when he ministered for 42 months.
Verse 5: "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."
The word "man" refers to our carnal mind. "Hurting them" is referring to the double witness of the Old and New Testament. The Bible is a book of LIFE, LOVE, and LIGHT. It should be appropriated as our Heavenly Father's love letters' teaching us how to grow in His grace and mercy uniting all mankind together with no condemnation. When the word of God is used to justify, separate, or condemn ourselves or others God calls it a wickedness that must be removed. If we would only realize that the many issues of frustration that we are burdened with about others may be to change us, not them. Paul was confronted with "thorns in his flesh" three times until he surrounded to the will of God that "His grace was sufficient." When Scripture is used to justify, separate, or condemn ourselves or others, God calls it a wickedness that must be removed. God is a consuming fire. It is His word in us that will both judge and purify our natural mind manifesting the Christ identity we each already possess.
"He must in this manner be killed." God does not need to literally kill anyone for transformation to take place within us. "This manner" is connecting us to the word that was used for justification against another. This judgment of others will be used to judge our own hearts. Jesus said in Matthew 7:1-2, "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you" NIV
Verse 6: "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."
Theologians like to consider these two witnesses as being Elijah and Moses. The problem with this teaching is it isn't applicable for us today. It causes us to take what John wrote and justify what we think he might have been writing about instead of considering it as a personal connection.
Having power to shut heaven is referring to the Spirit realm. If we take just the Old Testament or just the New Testament and use it to justify our Christian life we are shutting out the inner court of our existence and staying within the Passover and Pentecost understanding. We are placing boundaries around our lives limiting the Christ identity that is already established within us.
The reference to "rain" from the Spirit realm refers to the Word of God. When Scripture is applied to in the first two realms (body and soul) of whom we are our emotions, or the senses of our flesh, are being consulted. We are judging by the outward appearance instead of righteously with the eyes of God. To judge righteously knowing if God is speaking to someone, or whether or not the Holy Spirit is really moving on an individual, we must be sitting in the Holy of Holies on the mercy seat of God with the mind of Christ.
Having power over waters is using the word of God to justify and kill the flesh with our natural understanding. Scriptures are being used to control these two realms instead of allowing Spiritual waters from heaven to draw people out of the wickedness and bondage of their carnal minds. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 3:3-6, "Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart. And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward: Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life."
The plagues upon the earth are symbolic of the trials and tribulations we will all encounter individually and corporately as the birthing process for us to be transformed into the perfect bride of Christ. This is not speaking of natural disasters that may occur around the world because God is angry at mankind and as a result will destroy us. Instead, the "plagues" will put pressure on each of us to chasten and correct us because He loves us so much knowing that the old carnal mind must be exposed to prevent harm. Let's read a few verses of what Scripture is telling us about tribulation:
Acts 14:22, "Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God."
Romans 2:8-11, "But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; But glory, honor, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: For there is no respect of persons with God."
Romans 5:2-5, "By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us."
2 Corinthians 1:3-5, "Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ."
God is not trying to punish us, but is bringing us into maturity. This is done through tribulations or pressures in our life causing us to change from the way we would handle situations with our natural understanding.
In the Book of Joel we are given an illustration of different stages of the locust. These stages are symbolic of the different growth periods we will be confronted with as we mature in Christ.
Ø Palmerworm: means to devour, shearer; strong stand in religious traditions found in the outer-court.
Ø Locust/grasshopper: to increase, multiply swarm. This is the Pentecostal/revival groupies. The "spirit-filled," but strong in the carnal understanding.
Ø Cankerworm/caterpillar: this creature has small wings to leap, but not fly; it devours. This stage is sin conscious while in the Pentecostal mind. They are dualist in their understanding of the ways of God.
Ø Full grown caterpillar/the ravager: This stage is a consuming locust or finisher. The belief is in third day/kingdom now, but they still carry traditions. "Sonship" is singular, not corporate.
Our example to move into the maturity of being a son of God is after the priesthood order of Melchizedek, whom Jesus is the head of. John the Baptist was of the priesthood order, but did not follow the tradition. He ate the Locust as his meat (Matthew 3:4).
The enemy of God does not care if you are born again because you received Jesus Christ as your personal savior. He doesn't care if you NOW have eternal life and will go to heaven when you die. The "devil, Satan, ego, etc." is the biggest cheerleader for personal salvation. The enemy's concern is when a child of God grows up into the understanding of sonship and the power of his inheritance to unite the body of Christ
Verse 7: "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."
The word "testimony" is the word "witness" which comes from the Greek word "marturia" meaning "martyr." A martyr is someone that gives their life for something or someone else. What is the objective for being a Christian today? Those of us that know that our life is hid in Christ have a responsibility to produce the fruit of the Holy Spirit so that His fruit (Galatians 5:22) will be food for others to bring unity to the body of Christ. In order for the "fruit" to be obtainable for the Lord to use, it must be gathered, squashed, and pressed (put in a form of simplicity for a baby to understand). We can't force feed the wisdom of God to anyone, but we can be an expression of His unconditional love, mercy, and grace as to a child.
The beast that comes out of the bottomless pit is not a devil with a pitchfork and tail, but the imagination of our own understanding between our ears. As soon as revelation of God flows out of us by the power of the Holy Spirit our carnal mind will challenge us in a subtle way to try to get our ego involved. Be prepared for the war to take place when we are alone and drained from giving the life of God in us to another. Many times this is when we break down, go into depression, cry, and feel anxious and alone. It will seem like an eternity, but really it is exactly where God wants us so that only He can minister and refresh us.
This beast "shall overcome and kill them" is the war in our thoughts and mind that drains us, placing us in a position where we are emptied of all that we are. Let me say again, it is through the many trials we are confronted with which cause us to make a decision to give the unconditional love of God expressed by the fruits of His Spirit that brings us into our inheritance as a son of God. Our spirit and soul will seemed to be exhausted and drained allowing us to be vulnerable to be challenged by our ego/beast/devil who will attempt to remove anything left of the power and authority we have in God.
Verse 8: "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."
This is not literal "dead bodies." The dead bodies are referring to the children of God not having any power or authority of God. They have been emptied from what authority of God they had; and since they are not mature to "count it ALL joy when trials come" they have allowed the Babylonian spirit of Sodom (flesh) and Egypt (carnal understanding) to dominate their hearts. Paul talks about this in 2 Timothy 3:1-5, "But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God- having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them." NIV
Verse 9: "And they of the people and kindred 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."
What is taking place here is not a bad thing, but a cleansing of our carnal understanding dominating the body of Christ. Many times we think that we are walking in Christ identity by giving others His unconditional love and mercy, but when we are rejected and alone we become confused and have trouble understanding why someone would not want to receive what we have offered. Jesus and each of the disciples experienced this rejection.
Every apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teacher will go through the separation from others when they try to give the wisdom of God to children only to be spit out like bad food. Many times when we are in a "hand ministry" position we think that this gives us special recognition. However, when people that we try to help treat us like the dust of the earth our senses become confused and we try to justify the situation with our carnal mind. No power and authority of God can flow through the leadership of the church when the carnal senses are in control.
It is only when the "hand ministry" becomes the hand of God (faith, hope, joy, peace, and love) that we have resurrection life flowing through us. The hand is a visual understanding to the ways of God. We are told not to judge (Matthew 7), and if we do then that same judgment will be used toward us. The thumb is likened to the word of God pulling the trigger back. The pointer finger sends the word out, but the middle finger pulls the trigger. It's a balance system. The ring finger is the covenant understanding of the word that was not only sent out to the receiver, but also coming back to the giver with the weapon. The little finger is the foundation. If you try to hold a gun without the last finger it would be very difficult to hit the target. This finger is the hidden wisdom that all the other fingers depend on: Is the word being sent out with conditions or unconditionally? Is the word of God being sent out for His glory alone as Jesus showed us, or do we have some self-serving issues we are trying to address?
All of this process of cleansing is "spiritual grave time" likened to being buried alive. However, the religious system doesn't want to get rid of those "dead forms" of leadership because it allows the flesh to be in control for a season. In this system, the life of God is not manifested, but Scripture is being used to justify works of the flesh.
Jesus Christ fulfilled the law and all the prophecies spoken by the prophets. He showed us in the form of a man how to give life that can only come from God. This is something religion can never do. The only way we can speak life to one another is when we know who we are in Christ Jesus so that our thoughts are His thoughts and our ways are His ways flowing through us. John tells us in 1 John 4:17 that we must know in our hearts that "as He is, so are we in this world." If we are going to be able to do greater works than what Jesus did, we will have to step out of the religious system and infuse our life with the Spirit of God.
Verse 10: "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."
The "earth" or those that live in the "dust and sand" will rejoice over the tormenting they had received from the prophets or the hand ministry of God. This has been interpreted to mean that the antichrist spirit is going to be glad to see the leadership of the church dead, and then a supernatural occurrence will take place bringing them back to life. If we read this verse again we see that those in the outer and middle court are making merry and sending gifts to one another because they were tormented by the wisdom of God coming from the leadership, not because the leadership is dead. The rejoicing comes because of the signs and wonders being manifested. People in the middle and outer court will seek after these to justify God's word. However, Jesus calls them a "wicked and morally unfaithful generation" (Matt. 16:4). The position of being in the Holy of Holies communing with the Father upon the mercy seat demands death to self and a life of faith NOW that we are one body in Christ. With this understanding, signs and miracles will follow.
The word "tormented" in this verse means "touchstone." A touchstone is a stone used to make a mark on gold or silver to find out what the quality is. The prophets are touchstones that have made a mark on the quality of our salvation (silver), and how much we express the character and nature of our Heavenly Father (gold). If the quality is not pure enough, then we are sent back into the fire to rid the carnal mind so that the life of Christ in us will be manifested.
Verse 11: "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"
The time factor in this verse is not a literal three and a half days, but symbolic of the power of resurrection life that will come forth. It may be one day or it may be several years, but since God's word will not return void, resurrection power will be manifested. God will not share His temple! Signs and wonders are for children, but there will be a time of maturing that no sign is given allowing faith in the word of God to rule and reign.
"They stood upon their feet" is the life and power of God overriding all of our natural understanding. Paul explains this in 1 Corinthians 15:52-54, "In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory."
"And great fear fell upon them which saw them." Why would there be fear? Whenever we come across things that we don't understand that turns our comfort zone upside down, we put up a defense of fear against the unknown. Religion has taught that we are "sinners saved by grace," and that we have a "free will" to decide if we want to spend eternity in heaven or hell. The Spirit of God comes along and tells us that He is not mad at us, and He wants to set us free from this bondage of works. He tells us that we already have the fullness of our inheritance as a child of His and that there is nothing we can do that will separate us from His love. "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, for thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:35-39).
When God makes that "touchstone mark" with His word spoken in our hearts, we will go through a time of wrestling with our carnal understanding until we have a peace that surpasses all of our natural thoughts. Only then, will this peace bring forth the resurrection life of Christ in us allowing us to rejoice with a hearts desire to in give the gift of His life to others.
Verse 12: "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."
The "they" is referring to the people that have been wrestling with their carnal understanding of the ways of God. When His peace is received they will hear the voice of the Spirit of God telling them to "COME UP HITHER." This is not dying in a grave to go off somewhere in the sky to a place called heaven. This voice is coming from within us telling us to come to a higher understanding so that the voice of humanity will have no affect. The "enemies" are not people themselves, but their understanding of the ways of God. People who insist upon Christianity being an outer court (knowing God as Almighty) or middle court (knowing God as Father) experience will be in awe with those that come boldly to the throne and sit with Him in the inner court (knowing God as Dad).
Verse 13: "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."
When we first read this verse it is easy to feel uncomfortable about what it means. Many theologians have used it to justify portions of a great tribulation coming. However, let us stay focused on applying this verse to today and what it means personally.
"In the same hour" means at the same time that we are coming into revelation knowledge and relationship with God as our Dad, a "great earthquake" or what is going on in our natural understanding between our ears is going to be shook up and confused. Immediately, our carnal mind will try to take charge and make sense to what God is revealing, but it won't happen because the ways of God seem foolish to our natural thoughts. We will try to "do something" when God is telling us to sit and learn.
"The tenth part of the city fell." The tenth is referring to the tithe or the first fruit. God will address the "firstfruit people" or those that He has ordained before the foundation of the world taking them out of the confusion and double-mindedness of religion (city). This is not necessarily those that the church knows as their pastors and teachers, but people that know that "as He is, so are they in this world." This is not something that can be taught by man, but revealed by the Holy Spirit for the purpose of uniting the body of Christ. Remember, there is only one body of Christ. Jesus died for all mankind fulfilling the sacrificial requirement necessary to unite all people together as one body in Him.
The "slaying of seven thousand men" is symbolic. Seven is the number of completion or spiritual perfection. It is the number used for the finished work of Jesus Christ. It is the number used for the completion of God's creation. If we were to study this number we would find that all of creation evolves around cycles of seven. A study of the 77 generations of Jesus in the Book of Luke shows a system in which every seventh generation a special man arose. The "thousand" is symbolic of divine completeness and the glory of God. It reveals His divine care and protection to for it is His will to bring to perfection that which concerns us allowing us to rest in the wisdom and love that His mercy endures forever (Psalms 138:8).
"The slaying of men" is not a literal killing of people. This is symbolic of the carnal mind which has lost the battle between the ears, and it is the mind of Christ ruling and reigning in the over-comer. They are able to give glory to God because they know that they are sons of God equipped to do the Father's business while in their natural body.
Again, none of this is a bad thing, but the cleansing of an "antichrist" spirit that has been dominating our mind and heart. Remember, even though we can go through the motions (devotions, tithing, attendance, prayer) of what the church calls being a Christian, there is no power or life in religion. It takes dying to self to be able to come boldly into the throne of God and sit with Him in heavenly places ruling and reigning. The Holy Spirit draws us to "come up higher" to equip us with unconditional love that unites the body of Christ as one; not to make us "holier than anyone else."
Norman P. Grubb states, "Just keep on the single path. There is nothing but God-in-love, whether appearances are evil or good. HE ONLY is in all of them. Here is the secret. Thru the Fall we received a divided outlook and with two powers, good and evil, but back in Christ and Christ Universal, we see ONLY ONE, even if He often seems to appear in the devil's guise! The only battle I have to fight is not against circumstances, or problems, or people, or even devil, except the devil interfering with my inner outlook. If he can get me to see evil, then I am controlled by the evil I am seeing and believing in. But if I replace all such negative beliefs in outer appearances by seeing GOD ONLY in all, then I have the faith that overcomes the world!"
Verse 14: "The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly."
Remember, the word "woe" means to stop and really consider what the Lord is doing. Something is going to be done away with, and something is going to change so quickly that if we don't just STOP, we will be confused trying to figure out what happened. There were three woe's spoken of in Chapter 8. We have covered two of these, and very quickly, like a bomb, will be confronted with the third. This is what happens when we enter the outer court, the middle court, and now the inner court of the presence of Father.
We must be prepared in our heart as we go through a rapture (outer court experience); transformation (middle court); and transfiguration (inner court), to be confronted from the enemy between our ears just as Jesus was challenged in the wilderness. These occurrences will happen when we are least prepared and equipped with the armor of God.
God is doing a "quick" work in the earth today. What we see around us has its roots in what God is doing within every individual. Whether they acknowledge Him or not, He is requiring His children to grow up in their true identity as His sons. The "wars and rumor of wars" are outbreaks of conflict and confusion mankind is confronted with in their heads as they battle with their natural understanding against the wisdom and ways of God.
Remember the wrestling that Jacob did before his name was changed in Genesis 32: God has given us a new name, but we will each wrestle with ourselves until the power of God in us transforms us into our true identity in Christ.
Verse 15: "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."
Again, the number seven is complete or finished. The "great voices in heaven" are one voice called "Christ" that is filling the air with the same message. The battle has been won. I repeat we are not "sinners saved by grace" but "children of the Most High God." The kingdoms are one kingdom identified to BE "righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost" manifested from a many-membered body called Christ.
Jesus Christ is the head of a many-membered body. He is King of kings and Lord of lords. Each cell of His body has the fullness of His DNA and the wholeness of purity found in His bloodline. As a member we cannot stand alone, but must come into the unity of the faith with the mind of Christ Jesus ruling and reigning with Him. "Forever and ever" means into the age of ages. The seed of Christ carried by "firstfruits" will never die even though the vessels of flesh they were carried in may have been limited in time.
I find it amazing that we can now find Holy Ghost wisdom on the internet that was instilled in people during times that they didn't have any understanding of what they had been given. No wonder people were treated like they were crazy and heretics. Can you imagine trying to explain to someone the concept of a microwave who had only been cooking over an open fireplace? Or how about telling someone about cars and planes who only knew the existence of a horse and cart? This is what happens when God gives us something that is so powerful and wonderful that we want to share it with the whole world, but if they aren't ready for it they will be offended with you, even though their real battle is with God. You are the messenger or angel being sent by God.
Verse 16: "And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God,"
The word "before" in this verse literally means in the mind of God. When we have the mind of Christ, we have the mind of God. The twenty-four elders are symbolic of the complete God man; the government of God; the Rulership of God; the firstfruits.
Notice that the mind of Christ sits on "their" seats? This is taking place in our individual being, not someday after we die. This is today!
They fell upon their faces is a symbolic illustration of being before God seated in heavenly places. Our identity is in Him. This is also an illustration of giving to God the fullness of His identity, not allowing any "self-ego" to arise. What we put before our face is who we become. After Jacob wrestled with God, he named the place "Peniel" meaning the face of God, or "I have seen God face to face." It is at this point that his name Jacob was changed from "supplanter, schemer, trickster, and swindler" to Israel which means "contender with God."
Verse 17: "Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and was, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned."
God has taken the power and authority that is in each of us, brought it all together, and He reigns in one body called Christ with Jesus Christ as the head. Let us remind ourselves of what the Scriptures tell us:
"And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all" 1 Corinthians 12:6.
"And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him that God may be all in all" 1 Corinthians 15:28.
"Which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all."
Verse 18: "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."
The "nations" are not literal countries, but the imagiNATIONs that are between our ears. When God comes into our life and takes control, the first thing our carnal mind will do is manifest rebellion against what He is doing because we don't want to give up our control. God said in Deuteronomy 32:21, "They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation."
The Jewish nation was considered in the Old Testament as a type and shadow for the church system, or body of Christ today. God is provoking us to jealousy using other people to cleanse us. How often does our mind battle with thoughts of "If only they would do this, or be this way?" We speak so much energy pointing fingers (thoughts) at others when the purpose of them in your life is to change you!
Paul tells us that these are "thorns in the flesh." God doesn't remove these people from our life, but allows them to be a part of the process to change us into understanding that His grace is sufficient in all areas. Be prepared for the imagination to be stirred arousing our emotions to frustration and anger. Remember, this is a cleansing for us to encourage ourselves to grow up in Christ.
"And thy wrath is come." The word "wrath" is not anger the way we understand with our natural mind, but desire and passion that comes from the heart. God is Spirit. There are no sensory emotions connected to God as we know in our flesh. To help us understand the intensity of what is taking place, we are given words like "wrath" to bring forth the depth of God's passion and desire for mankind to bring unity to His body. The natural realm is only a shadow of the depth of how much God loves us. Nothing can separate us from Him:
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, for thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" Romans 8:35-39.
"And the time of the dead." The word "dead" has previously been discussed. Remember, God is Spirit and His word is who He is. Therefore, this word is used to describe those separated from their true identity in Him because of ignorance. Many people; including those that refer to themselves as Christians, are alive in their natural body, but dead to a relationship with God. We each have a time and season we must go through as part of the maturation process. King Solomon tells us in Ecclesiastes 3:1, "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:" but when we get down to verse 11 we read, "He hath made every thing beautiful in His time: also He hath set the world (eternity) in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end."
The judgment of the dead is what Jesus did over 2000 years ago at Calvary. He became sin and gave us His righteousness while we were still in ignorance and darkness of understanding or accepting. Judging "sin" is not the issue, but the authority we follow does matter; is it our carnal understanding or the mind of Christ? Our troubles begin with what is in our heart. Jesus corrected the religious authority by saying in Matthew 12:34-37, "O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the Day of Judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned."
It isn't a matter of what someone does to me, but whether or not I allow them to steal my joy. James tells us in 1:2, "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations." It is our own words that will judge us, not what someone else says or does; is how we respond in our heart.
Verse 19: "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."
The temple of God is us, not somewhere in the sky. "What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's" (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
"And there was seen in His temple the ark of His testament." The ark represents the presence of God; the Holy of Holies. Only God identity can be in this place. There is no judgment or condemnation in the Holy of Holies, but the fruit of the Holy Spirit which fills every corner: "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance" Galatians 5:22-23. These attributes are not manifested in us by something that we forcibly try to make happen. His identity (the WORD in our heart) will not share His temple with other words. The attributes of the Holy Spirit will cleanse our hearts as we seek Him, and will fill us with His glory (identity, character, and nature) to give to others.
On the Day of Atonement when God was to judge the people of Israel, the representative of the people, the High Priest, went through an intense cleansing ritual for himself before he took on the office of representing the people before God. Jesus has already judged and cleansed all mankind. Who are we to override what He has declared as forgiven and righteous? Today, God does not consider anyone a "sinner" separated from His love. It is the imagination of our own thoughts and ideas that keep us separated from how God really sees us. We are the righteousness of God, not by anything we did or can do, but what He did on Calvary for ALL (2 Corinthians).
"And there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail." All of these words speak of the revelation of God being manifested in His people. God is light shining through a many-membered body called Christ. We are His vessels being used for His word to be spoken. When we speak His truth in the Spirit and identity of the Father, the word released from our mouth will split open the atmosphere around us causing our flesh, or natural understanding, to be shaken. Hail is symbolic of frozen water, or the word of God, hitting the earth (our carnal mind) like mini bombs out of a realm that we can't touch in the natural.
Religion tries to teach us that we have this "freewill" that is more powerful than God's will. If we would stop and think about the love of God in the context of the unconditional love of a father and mother, we begin to see the foolishness of considering that our Heavenly Father, who loves us so much and died for us, would separate us from Himself because we were ignorant to fully understanding His ways. Even in the natural, the law will punish parents for not taking responsibility for their children neglecting them to take care of themselves. If religion were correct with the idea of freewill, then we would be accusing God of neglecting His children.
I end this chapter with Proverbs Three and encourage it to be read as a love letter from our Heavenly Father to teach you in His ways:
"My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, (Love the Lord God with all of your heart, soul, and mind) for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity. Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine. My son, do not despise the LORD's discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in. Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who embrace her; those who lay hold of her will be blessed. By wisdom the LORD laid the earth's foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place; by his knowledge the deeps were divided, and the clouds let drop the dew.
My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight; they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck. Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble; when you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, for the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being snared. Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act. Do not say to your neighbor, "Come back later; I'll give it tomorrow"--when you now have it with you. Do not plot harm against your neighbor, who lives trustfully near you. Do not accuse a man for no reason--when he has done you no harm. Do not envy a violent man or choose any of his ways, for the LORD detests a perverse man but takes the upright into his confidence. The Lord's curse is on the house of the wicked, but he blesses the home of the righteous. He mocks proud mockers but gives grace to the humble. The wise inherit honor, but fools he holds up to shame." NIV
The Holy Spirit has spoken through a brother in Christ with this wisdom:
What Must We Do? Alex P. Cohen
What must we do to be saved? What must we do to retain salvation? What must we do to please God? What must we do to obtain God's blessings? What must we do to grow in grace? What must we do to express God's inner presence? And on and on the questions go. Man is under the mistaken impression that he must do something to experience God. Man has devised a thousand and one methods to ''activate'' God. With one simple statement, Jesus answers for all time every ''What must we do?'' question ever asked, ''This is the work of God that you believe in Him whom He has sent.'' We believe. The exercise of faith does not depend upon human will. It is the work of God. When faith arrives, man recognizes, accepts and affirms. It is automatic and effortless. He can do nothing else.