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08/01/2004 - The Book of Revelation - Part 22 Revelation 15



The Book of Revelation

Part 22

Revelation 15

Date: 08/01/2004

Issue No. 191

We have now concluded our study of Revelation 14. In that chapter John saw the overcomers emerging with power in the world. It spoke of angels declaring that “the hour of His judgment is come” (14:7) and that “Babylon is fallen” (14:8). The actual judgment of the earth, as we said, is a time of world evangelism, and the sword used is the Sword of the Spirit. The “vines” of the earth are the nations, as we saw in Isaiah 5. This interpretation is confirmed in Psalm 80:8, where it says,

8 Thou didst remove a vine from Egypt; Thou didst drive out the nations, and didst plant it.

Many nations have fallen throughout history. This does not mean that all the people are killed. They are simply renamed according to the new nationality that rises in the destruction of the old nation. So it is here. God’s intent is given in Revelation 11:15,

15 And the seventh angel so unded; and there arose loud voices in heaven, saying, “The Kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever” [aionas ton aionos, “the ages of the ages”].

The people are not destroyed, but converted and made citizens of the Kingdom of God. This mass conversion, manifested by that final great outpouring of the Spirit in the Feast of Tabernacles, will quite literally destroy the structure of the old kingdoms of men. Present-day nations will become states in the Kingdom of God, and it will be done by popular demand, not by threat or conquest. The New Jerusalem is truly the “City of Peace.” It is not like the old Jerusalem, “the bloody city” (Ezekiel 22:2), whose adherents even today are attempting to claim by means of bloodshed and violence.

And so, Revelation 14 gives the prelude to the final judgments (the seven vials, or bowls) in chapter 16. And sandwiched in the middle is Revelation 15, a picture of the overcomers prophetically singing the Song of Moses, by which the divine judgments come upon the nations.

The fall of Babylon is chronicled afterward in Rev. 17-19, in order to show us that it will fall as a result of this work and word proclaimed by the overcomers. Even as Jesus Himself overcame the world by His word and work on the cross, so also His Body—united with the Head—will overcome the Babylonian world system in the same manner. They follow His example, for they have His character. It is the power of the Lion that is exercised with the character and heart of a Lamb.

The Timing of Judgment and Evangelism

We stand today at the brink of the greatest move of the Holy Spirit since the day of Pentecost in Acts 2.

It will not be a mere return to Pentecost, as so many desire. It will be greater than Pentecost, for it will not be a mere “earnest of the Spirit” that was poured out in Acts 2. This will be the fullness of the Spirit prophesied in John 7:37-39 by Jesus Himself on the 8th day of Tabernacles, that last great day of the feast.

That is why this day of world evangelism could not occur before Pentecost had run its course. As we have shown in other studies, the Age of Pentecost was a period of 40 Jubilees, extending from 33 to 1993 A.D.

May 30, 1993 was the 40th Jubilee of the Church, and it represented the time of the reign of King Saul, the primary type in the Old Testament of the Pentecostal Church. Yet in the story of Saul, we find that even after Saul died, his son reigned over Israel for two years, except for the single tribe of Judah, who crowned David as their king.

After Saul’s son was assassinated, there was another 5 years where there was no king in Israel at all. During that interim, David waited patiently and made no attempt to force himself upon the other tribes of Israel. Finally, the representatives of all the tribes came to him and crowned David king over all Israel. This was seven years and six months after David had been crowned king of Judah (2 Sam. 5:5).

If we extend the type and shadow to today, we can say that Saul died on May 30, 1993. The transition from Saul to David took seven and a half years to Nov. 30, 2000. That was the day that the full authority was given to David in our own day. But this time it is not David himself, but the people that he represents—the overcomers.

  40 Jubilees (1,960 years) Transition 7 Vials
33 A.D. 1993 2000  
Pentecost May 30 Nov. 30 Tabs

 

Even as Saul represented those in Pentecost; so also does David represent the overcomers in Tabernacles. David’s name means “love,” and this speaks of the character of the overcomers.

Please take note that we are NOT saying that 2007 is the end of the world, or the date of Christ’s return. We are making no claims for the year of the seventh vial (2006-2007). We are merely saying that this is the end of that particular time cycle. There may be another one after that. We will not know until we get closer to 2007.

The Seven Vials: 2000 - 2007

Revelation 15:1 says,

1 And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels who had seven plagues, which are the last, because in them the wrath of God is finished.

The “seven plagues” here are the seven vials (bowls) poured out in the next chapter (Rev. 16). For this reason we ought to consider chapters 15 and 16 to be a continuous thought, rather than separate chapters.

As early as February of 1999 the Lord began to show us that the seven vials were going to be poured out upon the earth, one per year at the Feast of Tabernacles, beginning in the year 2000.

Jesus’ 2000th birthday fell on the Feast of Trumpets on September 11, 1999. We were led to hold a birthday celebration at Port Austin Bible Center in Michigan at that time. We even had a fireworks display. In the grand finale of the fireworks, the bursts pictured a lamb in the dark sky. People wondered how we did that. We assured them that we had no idea how this happened. It was done by the sovereign will of our heavenly Father.

Anyway, September 1999 marked a new beginning in time. After the feasts that month, we began to receive direct revelation about the feasts a year later in 2000. Then we came to understand that God was about to manifest a type of Feast of Tabernacles, not merely for seven days, but for the next seven YEARS. He also instructed us to pour out a vial of water and a vial of wine each year on the seventh day of Tabernacles, beginning in October 2000.

When we get to our study in Revelation 16, we will give more details of this. But for now, I say this only to establish the timing of Revelation 14-16. We are now in the middle of this 7-year period from 2000 to 2007. As time progresses, the significance of this period of time is clarifying. But the revelation is yet incomplete, because to some extent we know enough to do the immediate work before us, but we must still walk by faith without a full understanding until each work has been finished.

This era of world evangelism could not begin prior to the day that the Davidic company of overcomers came into full authority on November 30, 2000. But even at that time the overcomers had to begin to learn how to use the authority that had been given to them. We found that God began to move in such a way that He would teach us by “on-the-job training.” He led us into spiritual warfare during most of the year 2001, showing us many valuable principles in the Word that had been unknown to us.

Part of the spiritual warfare in July 11, 2001 manifested in the world as early as September 11, 2001. This was according to an old revelation from about 1980, where the Lord said, “July is like September.” Each July there is some form of revelation that manifests on the same day two months later in September. We have watched this year after year. In 2001, after ten days of spiritual warfare where we as overcomers had been attacked in the heavens, the warfare shifted on July 11. When the enemy knew that they could no longer defeat us, they directed their attack upon America itself. In my notes for that day, I wrote: “Personal attack now moves to America.” Two months later, with the attack on the Twin Towers, we saw the news headlines read: “Attack on America.”

This was only the beginning. I do not believe that one can understand today’s events apart from understanding Revelation 14-16 and interpreted by the divine revelation of what God is doing in the earth today. But it would take an entire book to give any serious details of this story. Some day it will be written. I will summarize later when we study chapter 16 more closely.

The Overcomers Pictured in Revelation 15

Revelation 15:2 says,

2 And I saw, as it were, a sea of glass mixed with fire, and those who had come off victorious from the beast and from His image and from the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, holding harps of God.

The sea of glass is first a picture of the laver in the tabernacle of Moses and the temple of Solomon. It is merely called a “laver” in Moses’ tabernacle (Ex. 30:18), but it is called a “sea” in Solomon’s temple (1 Kings 7:23).

The sea in Rev. 15:2 is described as being like glass. In other words, it is not tossing with waves like one always observes when standing on the shore of a normal sea. Isaiah 57:20, 21 says,

20 But the wicked are like the tossing sea, for it cannot be quiet, and its waters toss up refuse and mud. 21 There is no peace, says my God, for the wicked.

The wicked are pictured by the metaphor of a turbulent sea, in contrast to the overcomers who stand on a sea of glass. In other words, the overcomers have entered into God’s rest (Heb. 4:5). Or as Isaiah 30 puts it, they do not put their trust in “horses” (armaments), but rather (verse 15),

15 . . . in repentance and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and trust is your strength.

They do not need armies or tanks (biblical “horses”) to do their work, for it is done by the power of the Spirit. The work they do is a rest work. It is done from a position of rest in God, and it does not produce worry, fear, or ulcers.

When the overcomers stand on this “sea of glass,” it also brings to mind the story of Jesus walking on the water that is found in John 6:16-24 and Matt. 14:22-34. The disciples were caught in a storm on the Sea of Galilee, which, in the Old Testament is called Gennesaret, or Chinnereth, meaning “harps.” Jesus walked on the water to them, as if it were a sea of glass, and Peter went out to meet Him. Matt. 14:32 says,

32 And when they got into the boat, the wind stopped.

This is meant to picture the cessation of the turbulent sea as it turned to a sea of glass. John 6:21 says additionally,

21 They were willing therefore to receive Him into the boat; and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.

This refers to an event which the New Testament calls the harpazo. It is the “catching away,” commonly thought of as a “rapture.” In actuality, it is a catching away to the throne (Rev. 12:5). Peter represents the overcomers (or perhaps the first of the overcomers) who go out to meet Christ to escort Him to the boat (earth).

When Peter walked on the water, he was manifesting a walk in a higher (heavenly or spiritual) dimension. When they returned to the boat, then all the disciples were transported to the other side of the lake at Capernaum. This prophesies of the time when the overcomers are no longer bound by time or distance. They are able to move between heaven and earth at the speed of thought. Storms on earth and threats of wicked men have no effect upon such people, for they are the manifested sons of God. To them, Galilee (Chinnereth) is a sea of glass, for they rest in God. (See Numbers 34:11.)

They are also pictured as “holding harps of God.” This is why Jesus walked on water on the Sea of Galilee, for the Hebrew name means “harp” because it is shaped like a harp. When God blows His breath upon the harp (sea), it brings turbulence to the wicked, but it is music to the overcomers who sing the Song of Moses.

The Song of Moses and of the Lamb

Rev. 15:3, 4,

3 And they sang the song of Moses, the bond-servant of God and the song of the Lamb, saying, “Great and marvelous are Thy works, O Lord God, the Almighty; righteous and true are Thy ways, Thou King of the nations. 4 Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify Thy name? For Thou alone art holy; for all the nations will come and worship before Thee, for Thy righteous acts have been revealed.”

Here John quotes from Psalm 86:9. The full passage (verses 8-10) reads this way:

8 There is no one like Thee among the gods, O Lord; nor are there any works like Thine. 9 All nations whom Thou hast made shall come and worship before Thee, O Lord; and they shall glorify Thy name. 10 For Thou art great and doest wondrous deeds; Thou alone art God.

Moses prophesied that one like himself would arise, and the people would hear Him. This was fulfilled in Christ (Acts 3:20-23). So the Song of Moses was also the Song of the Lamb. The “Lamb” mentioned here is from the Greek word arnion, the corporate lamb made up of Christ and His Body. It is not the Amnos, who is Jesus Himself. Hence, the overcomers know this song, because it is not only the Song of Moses or the Song of Jesus, but also is the Song of the overcomers. They sing the same song in harmony with Him, because they have come into full agreement with Him as an Amen people, doing only what they see their Father do, and speaking only what they hear their Father speak.

Specifically, they are in agreement with their Father in the essence of the part of the Song written in Rev. 15. It is the Song that glorifies God for intervening in the history of the nations. It is the Song that cannot conceive of any nation that would NOT come and worship before Him, as verse 4 says. This is actually a quotation from Jer. 10:6, 7, which reads,

6 There is none like Thee, O Lord; Thou art great, and great is Thy name in might. 7 Who would not fear Thee, O King of the nations? Indeed it is Thy due! For among all the wise men of the nations, and in all their kingdoms, there is none like Thee.

None of the wise men of the earthly nations are like Him. But the overcomers, who are of the Kingdom of God, are indeed becoming like Him and are learning to think like He does. Those who know this Song understand that all nations will come to worship Him when they see Christ manifested in His Sons, for then they will want to know how they, too, can receive such a glorified state. They will see that love does indeed conquer all, and that carnal weapons are too dull to bring utopia to the earth.

The Temple Opened in Heaven

Rev. 15:5, 6 reads,

5 After these things I looked, and the temple of the tabernacle of testimony in heaven was opened, 6 and the seven angels who had the seven plagues came out of the temple, clothed in linen [lithon, “precious stone”], clean and bright, and girded around their breasts with golden girdles.

The seven angels are described as wearing the garments of the high priest when he would minister in the temple. Early manuscripts of the New Testament differ as to whether the text reads “linen” or “precious stone.” The numerics within the text prove that it should read “precious stone.” See Ivan Panin’s Numeric English New Testament. The stones are the urim and thummim stones of “the breastplate of judgment” (Ex. 28:30).

Thus, the angels minister under the direct authority of Jesus Christ and know His perfect will in the execution of divine judgment.

As for the feast day that this is describing, it can only be the Feast of Tabernacles. It cannot be the Day of Atonement, because on that day the high priest wore only a white linen garment without the golden girdles. We read this in Alfred Edersheim’s book, The Temple, p. 98,

“The priest’s ‘coat’ was woven of one piece, like the seamless robe of the Saviour. As it was close-fitting, the girdle could not, strictly speaking, have been necessary… Hence, its object must chiefly have been symbolical. In point of fact, it may be regarded as the most distinctive priestly vestment, since it was only put on during actual ministration, and put off immediately afterwards. Accordingly, when in Rev. 1:13 the Saviour is seen ‘in the midst of the golden candlesticks’, ‘girt about the paps with a golden girdle,’ we are to understand by it that our heavenly High-Priest is there engaged in actual ministry for us. Similarly, the girdle is described as ‘about the paps,’ or (as in Rev. 15:6) about the ‘breasts,’ as both the girdle of the ordinary priest and that on the ephod which the high-priest wore were girded there, and not round the loins. Lastly, the expression ‘golden girdle’ may bear reference to the circumstance that the dress peculiar of the high-priest was called his ‘golden vestments,’ in contradistinction to the ‘linen vestments,’ which he wore on the Day of Atonement.”

So the vesture of the angels shows us that this is not the fulfillment of the Day of Atonement. It is, however, the fulfillment of one of the feast days at the end of the year, since these speak of Christ’s second appearance and work. The fact that there are seven angels coming forth to pour out the drink offerings prove that these are sent to fulfill the Feast of Tabernacles.

Seven Drink Offerings and Seventy Bulls

Numbers 29 describes the offerings that the priests were to make each year on the Feast of Tabernacles. They offered 13 bulls on the first day, 12 on the next, 11 on the next—down to 7 bulls on the 7th day of Tabernacles. This was a total of 70 bulls. Edersheim quotes early rabbinical sources saying on page 277 of The Temple,

“…these sacrifices were offered, not for Israel, but for the nations of the world. There were seventy bullocks, to correspond to the number of the seventy nations in the world.”

Numbers 29 also shows that the priest offered a drink offering on each of the seven days of Tabernacles. The seven bowls of wine poured out by the seven angels in Rev. 16 fulfill this type and shadow. The seventy bullocks at the same time show the purpose of Tabernacles to be a time of intercession for the nations of the world—not their destruction, as God’s “wrath” is commonly interpreted.