Summary: Study of the Book of Revelation.
Revelation, Part 19
Last time we examined the book of Revelation, we were just about to conclude Chapter 11. We opened up the last three woes, and also concluded the history of the two witnesses and what their testimony will mean to this world.
We also had a hint shown to us of the rewards that the prophets, saints and those who respect the Lord would be given. This morning is a teaching message, to be used to understand future chapters.
This morning, we open up the beginning of the final three and a half years, starting with the final verse in Chapter 11 which also gives us a look into the Temple of Heaven.
Read Chapter 11:19
Point 1 - The Temple in Heaven
Verse 19 again shows us that God has a temple in heaven, one that is so magnificent that all the wonders of this world respond to it (thunder, lightening, earthquakes, etc.)
This same temple is discussed in Revelation 14, 16 and 17 and the temple on the Earth (in Jerusalem) was a mere shadow of this temple.
Paul writes to us in Hebrews 8:5 tells of this temple: “They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: "See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.” God was specific in His plans … as He is specific in our lives.
Note something very special that John sees in the temple. He sees the actual Ark of the Covenant. As Old Testament history will reveal, the Ark was used to carry the 10 Commandments, a jar of manna, and Aaron’s staff (the same staff that became a snake when thrown down before Pharaoh), and it was believed that whomever possessed the Ark would have great power.
As John looked into Heaven’s temple, he saw the power of God symbolized by the Ark. No one knows for sure if this is THE Ark as it has not been seen since Jeremiah supposedly hid it, but since John is seeing the Ark it must have great symbolism -- this Ark represents the Law that WE are to be judged by without Christ as our Savior.
Heaven at this time is preparing to wage war against evil, and John is about to have many mysteries explained to him -- as we are as well.
Background of Chapter 12:
John describes two great signs, he is shown the first sign is of a woman, she gives birth to a male-child, who will rule the nations, and he is “caught up” to the throne of God in Heaven. The second is of a great red dragon, which pursues the woman, who gave birth to the child.
John is being shown that this is now the time for the battle which began in the Garden of Eden, to finish. Satan tempted man as a way to get back at God, and here we see the final conflict about to unfold.
Once Satan is free to move about the Earth in the form of the Anti-Christ, he realizes he only has 3 ½ years to seek his vengeance on the Earth, and so he must move quickly. According to the Word, Satan does not waste any time in his plot, hence why he goes directly after the apple of God’s eye, Israel.
The final battles of this Earth will be waged in the hills outside of Israel, and it was in Jerusalem that the Messiah came into the world and was taken out as well. This small strip of land is extremely important to God, and so the devil goes after it specifically.
At the mid-point of the Tribulation, Satan takes control of the Anti-Christ which we will see later in Revelation Chapter 13. It is in Israel that the Anti-Christ will rebuild the temple, and demand the world to worship him (2 Thess 2:4 “He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.”).
Now, let’s read Chapter 12:1-4 (5-6 as well).
Point 2 - The Woman
John sees a great sign in Heaven and he is describing an event he sees, taking place in Heaven.
Whether John is alone witnessing this event or all of Heaven sees the same drama unfold is not revealed. The Greek word for appeared, Optanomai (optical or optometry), means to physically see, not to dream or speak metaphorically.
John sees a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and on her head a crown of 12 stars (Greek word is Stephanos (rev 2) … victors crown). The identity of the woman has been the subject of much debate - but here are the four thoughts of who this woman is: