Shalom, shalom. This is Crystal Sharpe and welcome to the Ancient Scrolls program.
I want to apologize for the confusion a couple of weeks ago when the program was aired an hour later than usual. The station is airing the program at its normal time.
Today we are going to finish out Revelation 11. I will do a review of the two prophets, and then discuss the Altar of God and we will go over the 3½ years that is found in this chapter.
Last program I gave as much information as I could on the two witnesses that were described as the two Olive trees and two menorahs standing before the Lord. These two are symbolic of oil and light, and light is the Word of God.
John does not give us the identity of these two witnesses but focuses only on their having to function as prophets against the global network of the New World Order which is called the great city Babylon, and also Israel.
In chapter 11, verse 8 relates to us the bodies of the two prophets lying in the street of the great city which is spiritually called Sodom and Egypt where also our Lord was crucified. The apostle John is referring to the New World Order as Sodom (which represents sexual deviance and murder) and Egypt (the place of severe oppression and idolatry), and Israel having been the location of the crucifixion of our Lord by the gentiles and the religious elite of the nation of Israel; both had a hand in the tortuous death of Messiah.
The menorah and olive oil in the tent of meeting represented light, life, continuity, regeneration, and resurrection. These two elements represent the Word, or the Torah which cannot be destroyed or abolished. After the beast overcomes the two prophets, they resurrect three and a half days later and ascend in a cloud to heaven.
This is not the resurrection of all the righteous at the return of Yeshua. It doesn’t quite symbolize what some call the rapture since these witnesses were not raptured but resurrected; nor is it the last trumpet as taught by Paul in I Corinthians 15:52, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. There is still one more trumpet to sound the end of days events in verse 15 of Revelation chapter 11.
Shema: Hear O Israel, the Lord God the Lord is One.
(Shema O Yisreal, Adonai Eloheinu Adonai echad)
The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof; the world and those who dwell therein.
We thank You for being God for being the King of the universe, King over heaven and earth. We ask You to cleanse us of all unrighteousness so that our prayers will be effective against the kingdom of darkness. We continue to ask for Your righteousness and justice to prevail over the darkness in this nation and the nations. We pray wisdom, knowledge and understanding will permeate Your remnant people. We pray courage and boldness over the remnant as the days become darker and more evil. We are in prophetic days seeing the words of the prophets coming to pass. We are eager for Yeshua’s return, we anticipate His arrival to restore Israel and to destroy the New World Order—Babylon. We thank You for Your extreme mercy, compassion, and the everlasting love You have for Your creation. We seek to be obedient to Your Word, to be conformed to Your likeness and image. In Yeshua’s name. Amen.
So, Revelation chapter 11 is the sixth trumpet, the second woe under the opened seventh seal. Remember, the chapter opens with the apostle John measuring the Temple, and the altar. When I read this I am thinking there are grievances and offenses of parties in Israel begins at the Temple and altar of the Lord.
Israel has completed all the necessary vessels, priestly garments, they have also instituted the priests, and have the Altar. I never thought I would see this happen in my lifetime. The Altar has through the ages generated challenges from those whose loyalties are with Satan. The Altar of the Temple is a great offense to Satan, because it is the visual, the icon, it establishes who is truly sovereign over the whole earth. God chose the Altar to represent His authority over all the earth. Satan always directs to destroy it, or place on it some sort of filthy animal like a pig, to desecrate it so that it can no longer be used in worship of the Lord.
In the past the gentile nations, this is a pattern, they would place their images in the Temple and sacrifice their filthy animals on the Altar of the Lord. When looking at the first verse in chapter 11 where the temple and altar is measured, I get the sense that this becomes an issue with Satan and the nations, and even some Christians.
I am going to change this up a little bit and discuss the three and a half years in chapter 11
The first verse of chapter 11 in Revelation says the outer court of the Temple is given the gentiles to tread for forty-two months. John then speaks of two witnesses who are commissioned to prophesy for one thousand two hundred and sixty days. They are killed by the beast who rises out of the bottomless pit and 3 ½ days later are resurrected.
Some teachers have the opinion that Revelation 11 is the middle half of the great tribulation or great persecution because they perceive it to run on a 7-year cycle which in Hebrew is called a Sh’mita. Their reasoning for it being thought of as the middle of the cycle is from the two witnesses prophesying for one thousand two hundred and sixty days, which equal to about 3½ years; this we know from the passages. For forty-two months, or 3½ years, the outside court of the temple will be trampled by the gentiles. This is why teachers would say chapter 11 is the midpoint of the great persecution or great tribulation. And these teachers may be right that it is on a 7-year cycle.
Some years ago I thought Revelation 11 was the mid-point also, because at the beginning of chapter 11 one calculates the days and months given as 3½ years, therefore the whole chapter must be that length of time.
However, the 3½ years, or what is assumed to be the midpoint, is over at the deaths of the two prophets by the beast in verse 7. The rest of chapter 11 is not going to be 3½ years. At the beginning of chapter 11 verses 1 through 6 is condensed information concerning the Temple, the altar, the gentiles and the two prophets. The death of the two Witnesses by the beast in verse 7 is the end of the 3½ years because they were commissioned to prophesy for only 3 ½ years.
After their deaths, the end of the 3½ years, is the proclamation of a new kingdom being established under the seventh trumpet in verse 15. It will not be delayed anymore. It is a divine announcement of new beginnings: Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying: The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!
The Two Witnesses are martyred at the end of 3½ years, one may ask a question as to how long, how much time is left before it all ends? I would say perhaps a year. I base my conclusion on verse 19: Then the Temple of God in heaven is opened, and the Ark of His Covenant was seen in His Temple. And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake and great hail.
The imagery here in this verse is of Yom Kippur/Day of Atonement with the Ark being shown in the heavenly Temple of God. In the earthly Temple only the High Priest would go into the Holy of Holies once a year on the Lord’s feast of Yom Kippur. Yom Kippur is in the middle of the seventh month, which is Tishrei. It is about our September/October time frame. It is called The Day meaning the day of Judgment. This is why we see the noises, thunderings, lightnings an earthquake and great hail. Judgment has been issued. Soon afterward, beginning in chapter 15, are seen the seven judgment bowls, or seven calamities being delivered upon the reprobate beast and his worshipers.
After this imagery of the Ark, it will take a few months for the beast to begin the process of gathering his armies to attack Israel. While he is doing this, preparing his military, the world will have to cope with the seven calamities or bowls of wrath that will be administered on the New Moons of that year. The New Moon is a mini-feast unto the Lord.
So let’s go back and look at verse 15, the announcement of the arrival of the kingdom of Messiah.
15. Then the seventh angel sounded: and there were loud voices in heaven, saying: “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever!”
Here is a royal proclamation that the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of God and His Christ. The way it is stated is as if it is already existing before it actually happens. It is a transitioning, a transference of the kingdoms possessed by the prince of this world to become the sole possession of the first rightful King. The mystery of God’s plan of redemption and restoration of Israel and the nations is approaching, it is arriving. This is exciting news. Now, for sure, the beast, the false prophet, their days are numbered down to perhaps a year.
Remember that Adam in the beginning was given dominion over the earth, but he forfeited his rightful place when he and his wife disobeyed the Father and ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Neither Adam nor Eve stayed in the agreement to not eat of that tree and therefore what was theirs was given to Satan legally.
This is brought up in a standoff between Satan and Yeshua in the wilderness. Luke 4:5, Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Yeshua, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish.” Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.
Yeshua did not disagree with the devil that the kingdoms had been given to him. He knew eventually the world would be returned to Him, the rightful owner.
And the twenty-four elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God saying:
17. We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty, The One who is and who was and who is to come. Because You have taken Your great power and reigned.
18. The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, and the time of the dead that they should be judged, and that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, and those who fear Your name, small and great, and should destroy those who destroy the earth.
This verse is looking forward, or toward, the resurrection of the righteous. It has not happened yet. They will be raised from the grave to be rewarded for their suffering, for their having been martyred for keeping the commandments of God and having the testimony of Yeshua in a most oppressive time. They were able to maintain their loyalty to the rightful King of the universe. They are warriors.
And behold, I am coming quickly and my reward is with Me to give to every one according to his work.
After the resurrection, after His return accounts will be settled.
The chapter 11 ends with verse 19:
19. Then the Temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple. And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake and great hail.
In the beginning the Ark housed the Covenant of God, or the Torah, we would say Pentateuch, or the commandments; and within it stipulated the blessings and the curses, the curses being plagues that would be generously poured out on those who decided to be disobedient, the reprobate, the apostate, those who are idol worshipers. Deuteronomy 28 lists the blessings and curses. Before Moses received the Covenant at Mt Sinai, we read of these plagues being issued on Egypt before the departure of the Hebrews from there.
This is what is seen here because after this revelation of the ark in the heavenly temple of God, there are seven bowls of judgments, the curses, the calamites, the plagues that are poured out on the global system of the beast.
Too, I will mention this, the imagery here evokes the ark going forth to war. The Levitical priests would carry the Ark out into battle.
And the Lord said to Joshua: See! I have given Jericho into your hand, its king, and the mighty men of valor. You shall march around the city, all you men of war; you shall go all around the city once. This you shall do six days. And seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark.
I Samuel 14:18, Saul took the ark to war against the Philistines. They won.
Here is just a couple of examples. I am at the end of the program.
Rico Cortes will sing the Aaronic blessing.
If it is God’s will I will be here next program. Remember to walk by faith and not by sight. Do two things this week: love and forgive. Ask God to cleanse you from all unrighteousness every day. Keep your spiritual garments clean from wrinkles, spots and blemishes. Love God, love your neighbor.
Sources: The Jewish Annotated New Testament
The Feasts of Adonai by Valerie Moody
The Bible Background Commentary New Testament, Craig Keener