What will be the signs of Jesus Christ's return at the end of the age? What events should we look for to know that it is the sign of His coming?
The last time we discussed the 5th seal of Revelation 6 and covered at least a good outline, I think of what's going to happen after the seal. Today, I want to talk about to begin with, the Hale-Bopp comet. The initial discovery of the Hale-Bopp comet was on April 27, 1993. August 2nd, about 5 months later, the pre-discovery images were found on place from the Angle Australia observatory that showed the comet was active and moving. It was spotted again on July 23, 1995 in the constellation Sagittarius. Just a sideline, some religious groups believe Sagittarius which is half beast, half man; it's got a body of a horse and it's got the torso and head of a man, if you look at the constellations. They believe that picture is the anti-Christ. All I can tell you, is there is so much out there that people believe about constellations and about astrological signs that they study all their lives and never get through it all. Just as a side light, some people think it's interesting that the Hale-Bopp satellite was seen in the constellation Sagittarius. The Hale-Bopp comet was supposedly the largest ever seen. There were predictions that it might come very close to the earth and cause all kinds of havoc, cause also media showers that perhaps interrupt the orbit of the earth around the sun, perhaps cause cataclysms that we had never thought of before, massive volcano eruptions as the gravity would pull on the center of the earth. During the entire year of 1998 it was visible in the sky as a streak that went across the sky. According to astronomers the last time this comet was seen was when it passed by the earth 4,200 years ago which would have been very close to the time when Noah was building the arc. Bill Cloud, founder of Shore Shim Ministries faced that according to this Jewish tradition called Seder Olam Rabbah, an ancient Jewish text, a comet appeared in the heavens when Noah was building the arc. So, it's possible, I'm not saying its 100% true or not, but its possible that while Noah was building the arc, there was this large comet going across the sky.
On May 20, 1997 it mentions here the Hale-Bopp comet entered Orion. Whether that matters or not I'm not quite sure, but many people believed in this Hale-Bopp comet as being some sort of sign of the end. As you know there were a couple of churches, especially this group of really crazy people or deceived people, I guess is a better way to put it, down in California. They all wore tennis shoes and killed themselves waiting for the Hale-Bopp comet to somehow suck them up to the comet. They believed somehow that either Christ was riding the comet or something was in there that was important to them. It was sad or course that all those people died being very deceived, as many have in the past been by deceived religion like the Jim Jones disaster and beyond and some other things. But it's interesting that people very much want to believe in signs in the heavens. Signs in the stars are historically important to many, many societies.
Last time we left off in Revelation, chapter 6. Before we go there I want to go to Matthew, chapter 24 where we also reviewed the scenario that Jesus Christ gave giving us much more detail about these seals that we have been talking about. The last time the 5th seal, of course, is mentioned by Jesus Christ in Matthew but in Matthew 24, verse 3, what is interesting here is that they asked Him 2 questions. In other words when shall these things be when all these stones are going to be thrown down? You just said all these stones are going to be thrown down one upon another, not even one of them is going to be left. They said when is that going to happen? Then they said, by the way, what will be the sign of Your coming at the end of the age? What trip wired event should we look for to know that it is the sign of Your coming? So down in Verse 29 He mentions: "Immediately after the tribulation of those days (We talked about the tribulation last time) the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven and the powers of the heavens will be shaken." (Notice there are 4 events here. The sun will not be visible, it will be dark like night. The moon will not be visible, it will be covered up also. Stars will fall from heaven. Now we'll talk about that in a minute, but does that mean meteors? What does it mean stars will fall from heaven? Notice the powers of the heavens will be shaken. So the powers that are holding the heavens together are going to be shaken. Then He answers in Verse 30 the question that they asked.) "Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, (Now what is the Son of Man appearing in heaven, what is the sign?) and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn (So it comes at a time when they are being made to mourn, being hit with plagues or with all sorts of suffering) and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory." (So the sign of the Son of Man in heaven is probably the angel that's announcing His return and then right in the same context they'll be able to see the Son of Man coming as it says, as east is from west so all the earth will see Him as He returns from heaven. So we have Jesus Christ returning after these heavenly signs which are the trip wired event. Now the question we have to ask and we'll try to answer here today is how much time takes place between the beginning of verse 29 and the beginning of verse 30 when the tribulation is over and the heavenly signs appear? Then we have, then or later or after that, the Son of Man and His sign appear in heaven. Is it the same day, is it 10 days, is it months, is it a year, how long is it between these two verses?)
Now there are 3 important things that are going on during this time, because obviously this great tribulation, this persecution on God's people that we read about this 5th seal that we talked about last time where people are given a choice of being a part of the beast power or dying for their belief in Jesus Christ. They have the law of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ, the question is, are they willing to live for it and die for it? That is going to be answered during the first part of this 3-1/2 year period. In concurrent with that we also understood that the beast of Revelation 13 is in control of the earth and that he is ridden by the false church which enforces this mark of the beast.
Number 2, the true church is persecuted to the point of death to find out whether or not they will give their lives for the laws of God and the testimony which are the promises of Jesus Christ. During this time also the last seats for the wedding supper are filled it says, so the number of them should be complete. We read that last time. So the true church is being persecuted during this 3-1/2 year period.
Number 3, there's the time of Jacob's trouble which we read in Jeremiah, chapter 30 in verse 7. Satan will try and prevent the tribes of Israel from surviving over into the millennium. Satan knows that God is going to use the physical people of Israel scattered all over the earth and then brought back to the land of Israel to rebuild an example nation for all the earth. Today he's trying to destroy the physical people of Israel. He's introduced acceptance of abortion, birth control and of course we have societies all over the western world primarily the modern Israelite nations who are not replacing themselves to a birth rate that's sustainable and there's some other things he's using that are diluting our society and are causing the Israelites to gradually be a very small minority on the face of the earth. However, Satan is not going to be successful, God's going to intervene before that happens. This is called the great tribulation period, but that's why Michael has to stand up to defend the physical descendants of Israel as recorded for us in Daniel, chapter 12, because Michael has to make sure that there is enough of the tribes of Israel to restart the society, to set up an example nation so that the millennium can begin after Jesus Christ returns.
Now these events signal the beginning of the countdown to the final battle. Now let's go to Revelation, chapter 13, verse 5, because I want to talk about how long this lasts during this 3-1/2 years. We need to make sure we get the best understanding we can of when these heavenly signs appear during this 3-1/2 year period. The beast is going to last for 42 months or 3-1/2 years.
Revelation 13:5 Revelation 13:5And there was given to him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given to him to continue forty and two months.
American King James Version×And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies and he was given authority to continue (In other words continue speaking great things and to continue to blasphemy) for 42 months. Verse 6: Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle and those who dwell in heaven. (So here we have very clearly how long this 3-1/2 year period is going to last or how long this beast power ridden by this false church, this false teaching religion, is going to last on the earth.)
Now, is there any indication as to when this scattering is finished? First let's go over to Daniel, chapter 11. We're going to talk about this scattering of God's people which is only the scattering of the physical descendants of Israel, but which is also the persecution to death of those who are not protected by God, but are allowed to be spewed out of his mouth, in other words, a place of no more protection and it says to the Laodicean church where they can then decide for themselves to the point of death or the threat of physical harm if they're going to obey God or not.
Daniel 11:35 Daniel 11:35And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed.
American King James Version× Some of those of understanding shall fall, to refine them, purify them and make them white (Notice the purpose they fall is because they are making their decision, but yes they are going to obey God, they're going to keep the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ, but they've been lukewarm, they've been weak, they've been unproven to God and during this time some of them will fall, but the purpose is to refine them, to make them white, to fill up the seats that are left yet in the wedding supper. Notice) until the time of the end; because it is still for the appointed time. (So we have this appointed time, the time that God says will be when all these things occur. It's appointed ahead of time for all these things to occur.)
Verse 36: Then the king shall do according to his own will: he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods (This is the very same individual as we have read about in Revelation 13 and the false prophet who rides the beast) shall prosper till the wrath has been accomplished; for what has been determined shall be done. (God says I've determine ahead of time, this is going to occur, nothing man or Satan can do will stop this from coming to pass.)
Verse 37: He shall regard neither the God of his fathers nor the desire of women, (He won't regard children being killed) nor regard any god; for he shall magnify himself above them all. (But Paul told us in II Thessalonians 2 that he shall sit in this temple and call it the temple of God and say that he himself is God, sitting in God's place. He shall exalt himself above them all.)
Verse 38: But in their place he shall honor a god of fortresses and a god which his fathers did not know, he shall honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and pleasant things. (So he's actually setting up a statue to himself where a way of worshipping an image of himself, just like Nebuchadnezzar did. That's why God put that in Daniel 2, is to tell us what this beast power will be doing in the end and along with a panoramic view of history.)
Let's turn down to verse 40.
Verse 40: At the time of the end the King of the South shall attack him; and the King of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen and with many ships; and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them and pass through. (It's possible that the events we've seen this past 19 days in Egypt are preparing for the King of the South to attack. We have had for many, many years arguments about who is the King of the South. Well it's Iran, some people thought no, some thought Saudi Arabia. The King of the South historically was always Egypt. It was a Ptolematic kingdom and there were a number of Ptolemites or Ptolemede kings, you can read about them. The kingdom lasted about 280 years and it's an interesting study, although much of what they did is already recorded ahead of time in Daniel chapter 11, which I think is interesting. It's a short summary of the King of the Ptolemedes and also has an interact with the land of Israel. But, the King of the South historically has always been Egypt and since Egypt was allied with America and at peace with Israel the last 25/30 years, we have wondered could it be somebody else? We've even postulated that the King of the South might be, someone thought, we haven't, but some thought it might be America or who knows what, although some of the web sites I've seen, they think that America will be joining with the beast power. Who knows how that will all work out? The beast power is an area of course that has been given power by Satan the devil and paying homage to the false church. But we need to understand that the King of the South historically has been Egypt and we ought to at least always look there first for an answer as to who this is going to occur.)
Verse 41: He shall also enter the Glorious Land and many countries shall be overthrown; but these shall escape from his hand: Edom, Moab and the prominent people of Ammon. (Because he doesn't want to go East, he wants to go West, down into Africa and make sure Egypt and those lands there are not going to escape him.)
Verse 42: He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape. (That's one more indication that's where the King of the South is.)
Verse 43: He shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver and over all the precious things of Egypt; (It's sad to see that many looters went in and stole all sorts of artifacts out of the Egyptian museum
there at Cairo which was the greatest museum in the world in terms of historical artifacts. Of course many of those people want to simply sell those on the street and make some money because they're desperately poor. It is so sad they have so little respect for their own past and pride in what their nation was many, many years ago. Pretty much the same thing happened in Iraq when the city of Bagdad fell, but that's just another sidelight of the commentary on the lack of human character that is so common today throughout the world.)
also the Libyans and Ethiopians shall follow at his heels. (Or he'll be at the door of Libya and Ethiopia)
Verse 44: But news from the east and the north shall trouble him; (Well east and north of Egypt and Israel (Jerusalem) of course we're talking about the kings of the East in Revelation 16 with an army of 200 million men coming over and also North of course would be the area of Russia.) therefore he shall go out with great fury to destroy and annihilate many. (So he gets his army together to go out and destroy these who are coming after him because they see their interest being attacked and taken over. After he does this:)
Verse 45: He shall plant the tents of his palace between the seas (That's between the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean and of course that means in the area of Jerusalem.) in the glorious holy mountain; (The place where today is the Dome of the Rock.) yet he shall come to his end and no one will help him. (So that's where he will die, that's where the beast and false prophet will be defeated and thrown into the bottomless pit.)
Daniel 12:1 Daniel 12:1And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which stands for the children of your people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time your people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.
American King James Version× At that time Michael shall stand up, that great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; (So Michael will stand up to prevent the destruction complete of the people of Israel) And there shall be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone who is found written in the book. (Now Daniel of course had God's Spirit and he had his name written in the Book of Life, so when he says your people, some commentators believe this refers to Jews, some believe it refers to all of Israel. I think if it's described as those who have their name written in God's book, it really refers to those like Daniel will have God's Spirit.)
Now it mentions a little bit further down here, let's go down to verse 6.
Verse 6: And one said (This is this angel talking to him on the riverbank.) to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, "How long shall the fulfillment of these wonders be?" Verse 7: Then I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand to heaven (So the typical way the Jews pray with their hands held up to heaven.) and swore by Him who lives forever, that it shall be for a time, times and half a time; and when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered, all these things shall be finished.
So we have the scattered of God's people, it is finished at a certain time during this 3-1/2 year period. Now is there an indication as to when this scattering is finished and the heavenly signs take place because after the 5th seal, then we have the 6th seal? Well there are several places in the bible that give us a good indication. Let's first go over to Hosea (It's the next book over.) We'll skip through a little bit of chapter 5 here:
Hosea 5:1 Hosea 5:1Hear you this, O priests; and listen, you house of Israel; and give you ear, O house of the king; for judgment is toward you, because you have been a snare on Mizpah, and a net spread on Tabor.
American King James Version× "Hear this, O priests! Take heed, O house of Israel! Give ear, O house of the king! For yours is the judgment because you have been a snare to Mizpah and a net spread on Tabor. (In other words the people of Israel had been involved in idolatry.)
Verse 4: They do not direct their deeds toward turning to their God, for the spirit of harlotry is in their midst and they do not know the Lord.
Verse 5: The pride of Israel testifies to his face; (This is kind of a warning chapter, a call to repentance.)
Verse 14: For I will be like a lion to Ephraim and like a young lion to the house of Judah. I, even I, will tear them and go away, I will take them away and no one shall rescue.
Verse 15: I will return again to My place till they acknowledge their offense. (So God is going to punish Israel and Judah until they repent and acknowledge they have been sinning against God.) Then they will seek My face; In their affliction they will diligently seek Me." (That will be during this 3-1/2 year period when the time of Jacob's trouble comes upon them.)
Hosea 6:1 Hosea 6:1Come, and let us return to the LORD: for he has torn, and he will heal us; he has smitten, and he will bind us up.
American King James Version× Come and let us return to the Lord; (He's talking about this time of repentance and when they change their mind. He's calling to them.) For He has torn, but he will heal us; He has stricken but He will bind us up.
Verse 2: After two days He will revive us; On the third day (Or during the third day) He will raise us up, that we may live in His sight. (So this time of Jacob's trouble at least in Hosea chapter 6, verse 2, the indication is that it lasts for the first two days or two years.)
Let's go over to Isaiah chapter 34. There are actually 3 places that tell us that this great tribulation period or indicate this great tribulation period will last for the first 2-1/2 years of the 3-1/2 period and that the last year is the time of God's vengeance on all the earth, the time which we know as the 7 plagues of Revelation chapter 8 and 9.
Isaiah 34:1 Isaiah 34:1Come near, you nations, to hear; and listen, you people: let the earth hear, and all that is therein; the world, and all things that come forth of it.
American King James Version× Come near you nations to hear; and heed you people! Let the earth hear and all that is in it, the world and all things that come forth from it.
Verse 2: For the indignation of the Lord is against all nations, (So here we have the time when God is punishing all nations and this is not just punishing Israel.) And His fury against all their armies; He has utterly destroyed them (That hasn't happened yet, but that's going to during this time of the 7 last plagues.) He has given them over to the slaughter.
Verse 3: Also their slain shall be thrown out; their stench shall rise from their corpses and the mountains shall be melted with their blood. (Very obviously an indication of a huge slaughter of large armies.)
Verse 4: All the host of heaven shall be dissolved (This is telling us about the heavenly signs again.) The heavens shall be rolled up like a scroll; (Now whether that means rolled together or rolled apart, if you role scrolls they kind of do both things. I think he's talking about rolled up, in other words everything is collapsing over us.) all their hosts shall fall down as the leaf falls from the vine, and as fruit falling from a fig tree. (So the host of heaven is going to have fruit falling like a fig tree again. We talk about the stars of heaven falling in Revelation 6.)
Verse 5: For My sword shall be bathed in heaven; indeed it shall come down on Edom and on the people of My curse, for judgment. (This verse has been used by some to interrupt the comet as being the sign of God's sword. The comet has a head and kind of a long tail; sort of looks like an Arab scimitar type sword. So some thought when they see a comet it is a sign of God's wrath, it is a sign of God coming down to punish His people because they say that's God sort of appearing in heaven, that's kind of what it's worth department, that may or may not be the case.)
Verse 6: The sword of the Lord is filled with blood, it is made overflowing with fatness and with the blood of lambs and goats, with the fat of kidneys of rams. For the Lord has a sacrifice in Bozrah, (So he is simply saying there's going to be a lot of slaughter, a lot of armies being destroyed.) and a great slaughter in the land of Edom.
Verse 8: For it is the day of the Lord's vengeance, the year of recompense for the cause of Zion. (Zion is the place for worship. Zion is often used in Old Testament prophets as a sign of God's true church or a type of those who have God's Spirit. So here it is saying that this time when God is taking vengeance on all the earth which we know from what we previously read as the 7 last plagues, the 7th seal being opened, that takes, so we have the description of those in Revelation chapter 8 and chapter 9.) For it is the day of Lord's vengeance, the year of recompense for the cause of Zion.
Now we just read that the tribulation on God's people Israel, would last at least 2 years and in the 3rd year we would have the day, we would have the time when they would be relieved. So the conclusion is putting the scriptures together and this is the best we have to go on. I think it's fairly good, it's not thus sayeth the Lord, 1,2,3, for sure but it's a good indication that the first 2-1/2 years of the 3-1/2 period at the end is the time when we have Jacob's trouble, we have the persecution of God's church taking place so that all final seats are fulfilled and the mark of the beast being forced on all the earth. Then at the end of the first 2-1/2 years we have the heavenly signs which begin then the day of the Lord's vengeance and the final year of the recompense for the cause of Zion, that the 7 last plagues will come down to the earth. Not only 1 day but in 1 year.
Now God has to send the plagues and give them a chance to repent, just like He did in ancient Egypt, He sent the plague and then plague number 1, plague number 2 and then the flies and finally the darkness and then finally after that, the last plague which of course was the first born dying. So we have an indication, there's a pretty good one in Isaiah because it is certainly talking about God dealing with all nations and punishing them for what they have done to the true church of God and to God's followers and He's saying it will last for a full year as recompense. So we have an interesting observation. Now let's go to Isaiah 63. This is the third place where the indication is that this year of God's recompense is the last year that the time for the 7 last plagues coming on the earth is the last 12 months and of course that is signaled by the heavenly signs. So we'll have 2-1/2 years, if this works out this way, 2-1/2 years of the great tribulation and of the persecution of God's people, the church, the followers of God who are accounted to be worthy I guess is a good way to put it, are in a place of safety protected. There is no ongoing worship of God at this time, people are scattered and this is not a time when there's new people coming to repentance, but instead God is finding out from those whom He has called, who really want to be in His kingdom and who doesn't. At the end of that 2-1/2 years that we have immediately after the 5th seal, this is exactly what Christ's words were that we have the heavenly signs and everything happens in the sky; we have the sun becoming dark, the moon and the stars falling from heaven and the earth sort of stops and wow what is going on here and then God begins to bring punishment on the earth, not on His people because all of His people are either in the grave or in a place of safety, that's it, there's not scattered Christians throughout the world that are also being punished and God would not punish His own people with the plagues. So we have the last year here then when the people of God are protected, but the entire earth is being punished by these plagues.
Isaiah 63: 3 I have trodden the winepress alone and from the peoples no one was with Me. For I have trodden them in My anger and trampled them in My fury; their blood is sprinkled upon My garments and I have stained all My robes.
Verse 4: For the day of vengeance is in My heart and the year of My redeemed has come. (Again, it's a day of God's vengeance and He says it's a year long.)
So we have 2 places in Isaiah that essentially tell us that this time of God's vengeance when He is punishing the nations, is 1 year long and so we have to conclude then that this is a pretty good conclusion that we do have 1 full year for the time of the coming of the 7 last plagues in the book of Revelation.
Now, another place that tells us the 6th seal of the heavenly signs occur as the persecution of God's people is finished and the wrath of God on the earth is about to begin. Now let's go over to Joel chapter 2 and verse 30. Now God does give us some pretty good indications, you just have to dig through the prophets and understand the context and the time frame when these prophecies are going to occur, to put them together. Now there's no new people being converted during this time, in fact there are no visual Christians except 2 guys called the two witnesses and they are announcing the plagues from God and they're warning the people of the earth. They're apparently well known because when they are finally killed, then all the earth celebrates it because these guys have been like Elijah, was calling down the plagues and telling the earth it's because of their sins this is happening that when they are finally killed and all the earth wants to celebrate. So they have to be world famous people. These are celebrities I suppose you could say. This is not a job, I want or you should want. There are plenty of volunteers by the way to be the two witnesses, probably thousands of them if you actually counted them up any one time on the earth, but certainly these 2 are the only 2 that are openly worshipping God during this time. The rest of God's people are either in a place of protection or they are in their grave which is also a great place of protection.
Joel 2:30 Joel 2:30And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.
American King James Version× And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: Blood and fire and pillars of smoke.
(Now here Joel gives us an indication as to what might cause the sun to be blackened and the moon turn to blood. Now there are some accounts you can kind of go back in some of the magazines and some of the history of the 1992 war up in Iraq. The first time it was called Desert Storm or something and we took Kuwait back from Saddam Hussein and then kind of half way kicked Saddam Hussein out of Iraq, we didn't let him stay and had to go in later and finish the job. But, Saddam Hussein burned it was something like 1,000 oil wells he set on fire. He had his troops set all those oil wells in Kuwait on fire just to show how mean he was. Some of the pictures showed it was almost like night time, there was so much black in the sky and some of the soldiers said that as the moon came up just over the horizon, it looked like it was blood red. So, is that an indication of how God would turn the moon to blood and the sun would be blackened out in the sky. We really don't know. There really were some fabulous pictures if you go back and look on the internet, and look at some of those oil well fires in Kuwait, it might give us an idea how God's going to do it. Now, we'll just have to wait and see.)
Verse 31: The sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. (Now the day of the Lord as you know can be understood 4 ways, the final 24 hour battle at Jerusalem, or for an entire year before that, or for the millennium which is the 1,000 year day of the Lord when Christ rules for essentially for all time after Christ comes back and I think that is what it refers to in Revelation 1 where He says I was in the Spirit in the era of the Lord or the Lord in era as it says in the Greek, the time when God is dominant, not man is dominant. So the Lord's day can be understood in a number of different ways. But before the coming of the great day of the Lord, the last 2 verses we saw describe day as a year, so this could be understood as before the coming of the awesome year of God where He punishes mankind, that's what He's talking about. We're going to have first the heavenly signs, the exact same thing that Jesus Christ said.)
Verse 32: And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. (So during this time there will be the 2 witnesses call on the day of the Lord, but in a larger context he's talking about the remnant who are going to be saved during that time and during that 2-1/2 time period.) For in Mount Zion and Jerusalem there shall be deliverance (So Jesus Christ will eventually return to Mount Zion and deliver people.) as the Lord has said, among the remnant whom the Lord calls. (So there will be according to Joel here, these heavenly signs before the time of God punishing, or His time of punishment is coming back on all the earth. So this 6th seal, the heavenly signs occur as the persecution of God's people is finished and the wrath of God of all the earth is about to begin.)
Now let's go back to Revelation chapter 6 and verse 11 where we left off last time. This is still in the 5th seal.
Revelation 6:11 Revelation 6:11And white robes were given to every one of them; and it was said to them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brothers, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.
American King James Version× And a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed. (So there's a number that needs to be completed. The wedding supper has so many seats and Christ is very clear about that in Luke chapter 14 and the number of those seats must be completed and they are completed by those who are compelled to come. In other words someone puts a knife to your throat and says: "Do you believe in Jesus Christ and do you believe in the trinity?" Or whatever and so you are compelled to make a decision and then during that time, that 2-1/2 years when these people are under the power of God, holy people are being completely scattered because they're being persecuted, those seats are filled. Now verse 12.)
Verse 12: I looked when He opened the sixth seal, (So Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God opens the 6th seal) and behold there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair and the moon became like blood. (So we have the first event of the 6th seal is a great earthquake. Now, does that great earthquake signal a lot of volcanoes going on? That could be like Krakatoa was back in the 1800's that essentially caused a 3 year winter over the earth. I don't know if you remember another big volcano went off over there during the American Revolutionary war that was called the year without summer. I think it was 1779 or 1778, I forget the year, I wasn't there then. Mr. Reynolds, you probably weren't there either. So when these volcanoes go off, they can literally cover the earth with that debris and with the amount of debris they put in. Many of us can remember Mt. St. Helen's going off; we were over in Pasco at the time, my son was 13 days old, he was born May 5th and the volcano blew on May 18th and we heard it, we heard the rumbling thunder 150 miles away. We saw the clouds kind of coming in like upside down mushrooms, also it started raining all of this silt and debris off of the volcano and believe it or not Mt. St. Helen's is a very small volcano going off comparing to many. The Krakatoa was something like 160 times that amount. So it could be the earthquake is connected with volcanoes going off in places on the earth and that causes the sun to be darkened and the moon to be red. Just possibilities, and certainly God can use whatever He wants. But we have in Revelation 6, the first thing that happens in the 6th seal is a great earthquake and that has something to do with causing then the sun and moon to become both black.)
Now Let's go back to Matthew 27 in verse 45. When Jesus Christ was crucified, both of these signs appeared. There was a great earthquake and the sun was darkened for at least 3 hours. So was there another volcano that went off somewhere that caused that to happen, that the debris scattered over Jerusalem or did God just simply supernaturally turn off the lights? We don't know. All we have, as in Matthew 27, verse 45.
Matthew 27:45 Matthew 27:45Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land to the ninth hour.
American King James Version× Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land. (So there was darkness over the land, Jesus Christ died.)
Verse 46: And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice saying: "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" that is, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" (Of course we understand some of the rest of it here, but down in verse 51.)
Verse 51: And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked and the rocks were split,
Verse 52: and the graves were opened and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised;
Verse 53: and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many. (So when Jesus Christ died, the moment He yelled out with a loud voice there was a great earthquake and the veil of the temple was torn in two. Now will there be a great voice that announces this earthquake that's the beginning of the 6th seal? Well, maybe so, maybe an angel will yell very loud. Maybe it will be just a great earthquake, the entire earth will shake and then all of a sudden the heavenly signs start to occur. So it's the same signs as at the crucifixion, at least these 2 are; that is an earthquake and the darkness that covers the earth. The signs in the heavens being brought about.)
Let's go back to Haggai chapter 2. Of course Haggai was given because they were not building the temple very fast back in the 500's B.C. Around 520 we went though this in our series on the 2 witnesses pretty carefully. But, Haggai chapter 2 does talk about a future time when God will shake all nations. He was trying to shake up the Jews in Jerusalem in 520 B.C. But in this prophecy of Haggai we have an additional message about the end time because really this temple they were building wasn't about the temple at that time, the Spirit of God was gone, the Shechaniah of the glory never did appear in that temple. But, that temple was a type of the church that Jesus Christ would build and a type of the real church He would turn to at His second coming.
Haggai 2:6 Haggai 2:6For thus said the LORD of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land;
American King James Version× For thus says the Lord of hosts: "Once more (but it will be awhile, it's not right now) I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land." (So there's this great earthquake that shakes everything at the beginning of the heavenly signs of the 6th seal. Here in Haggai this prophet says, well God says, a little while later, not right now and we're going to shake the heaven and the earth, the sea and dry land.)
Verse 7: And I will shake all nations and they shall come to the Desire of All Nations and I will fill this temple with glory, says the Lord of hosts. (So as a result of this shaking which can also I think apply to the 7 last plagues, eventually all nations are going to come and worship God at Jerusalem. So there's a lot of time compressed here into verse 7, but the prophecy is about Him shaking all nations and making all nations basically shaken up and being punished so that they will be willing to obey God.)
Now let's also go to a parallel scripture in Isaiah chapter 24. Again a scripture about shaking all nations.
There are many others. I had to leave out most of the ones I found, I'm just hitting the ones I think are most pertinent to this study, but you can look up the word earthquake and look up the word shaken all through the prophets of God you'll find a number of references that might add to your understanding of the subject, if you care to do that this week. The entire chapter really is about how the earth has been defiled.
Isaiah 24:4 Isaiah 24:4The earth mourns and fades away, the world languishes and fades away, the haughty people of the earth do languish.
American King James Version× The earth mourns and fades away, the world languishes and fades away; the haughty people of the earth languish.
Verse 5: The earth is also defiled under its inhabitants because they have transgressed the laws, changed
the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.
Verse 6: Therefore the curse has devoured the earth, (So this is a tough time, a difficult time, a time when this one world government is ruling all the earth and God is not blessing it.)
Verse 17: Fear and the pit and the snare are upon you, oh inhabitant of the earth. (So this is a time when all the inhabitants of the earth are being punished.)
Verse 18: And it shall be that he who flees from the noise of the fear shall fall into the pit, and he who comes up from the midst of the pit shall be caught in the snare; (There is no escape from these 7 last plagues of God.) For the windows from on high are open, (In other words something is happening in the sky sending down plagues on the earth) And the foundations of the earth are shaken.
Verse 19: The earth is violently broken, the earth is split open, the earth is shaken exceedingly. (Now how many have ever been in a real earthquake? I'm not talking about this little wimpy earthquake back in 2001 or whenever it was, that was just a walk in the park. I mean a real, real earthquake. Now I've been in some small ones like the one we had in Olympia where things kind of were shaken, but in Alaska we had a number of members who lived through the Alaskan earthquake which was a 9.2, the largest ever recorded in North America and there were some real stories that they told. They had some members that were out ice fishing, they had taken a plane and landed on skids and they dug a hole in this ice and they were sitting there with their fishing poles and one guy looked down and he could see the bottom, all the water was gone. They looked at each other and they realized that things were shaking and they'd better get back in their plane so they jumped back in the plane and started it up and just as they were getting ready to take off, this huge geyser of water shoots out of that hole and blows other ice out with it because the water of course had moved and they were barely able to get out. They were able to, but there were some others of course, but if you've been to the Kodiak, I know Mr. Reynolds had been to the Kodiak. The first time I got marooned in Kodiak. Kodiak is a horrible place to get marooned in, there's nothing there but a bunch of old junk and taverns. So I was walking downtown Kodiak and I looked up and there's this big white boat, it's a huge ship in the middle of town and I asked one of the guys: What is this?" He said: Oh, this is a 380 foot ocean-going vessel that was carried into town during the big earthquake of 65." So here is a good mile or mile and half from the ocean and all of a sudden there's this big boat. I think it's got holes in it and with a torch made into a cannery.
But they never did find out how many people died in Seward because so much of Seward just went off into the ocean. They think maybe 200 or 300, but a lot of people in Alaska have no identity they just have a first name. Big guys on the fishing boats in Kodiak with this name, Fred or Sam or Bob or whatever, because most of them have a long list of warrants for their arrest and convictions and other things they're running from like unpaid bills, so nobody in Kodiak has a last name. So when those guys disappeared in the earthquake, nobody knew who they were or had count or anything. There never has been an accounting of how many people died in the Alaskan earthquake. There are estimates, but there's really not a list, there's no way they can come up with a list because some towns entirely disappeared. So we have a few people who have gone through some serious earthquakes, but here it looks like the entire earth is going to go through it. Now one lady I talked to said you're absolutely helpless as the earth is moving and you are being bounced around and that earthquake lasted about 8 or 10 minutes and there's no more helpless feeling in the world then being in an earthquake, you have no control over what you're doing, you're just being bounced around.)
Verse 20: The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall totter like a hut; its transgression shall be heavy upon it and it will fall and not rise again. (So this earthquake that begins the heavenly signs, the 6th seal, according to this prophecy in Isaiah is going to affect all the earth, that everybody will feel its effect, probably they all will be knocked down, it will certainly stop them from doing whatever it is they are doing.)
Verse 21: It shall come to pass in that day that the Lord will punish on high the host of exalted ones, (So that day again, we're talking about that year of the Lord's vengeance.) and on the earth the kings of the earth. (Those who are part of this power, this beast power that takes over the earth.)
Verse 22: They will be gathered together as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and will be shut up in the prison; after many days they will be punished.
Verse 23: Then the moon will be disgraced (The moon won't shine like normal) and the sun ashamed; (So in the case of heavenly signs here in verse 23) For the Lord of hosts will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem and before His elders, gloriously. (So the end purpose of all of these things of course is that Jesus Christ will eventually come and reign there in Mount Zion and Jerusalem and before all those who are considered His priests or elders.)
Now God has used heavenly signs many times in the past. The rainbow is one of God's heavenly signs. It was a sign of His covenant that He made with all mankind and promised Noah that He would never again cover the earth with water. That had been done twice and God said that's enough. Joshua had a long day to finish his battle. You hear a lot about Joshua's long day. Hezekiah had the sun go back a few degrees and that's an incredible miracle, the entire earth stops and the sun goes back, that must have been something to behold. Elijah of course prayed for drought and the heavens were shut up so that would be a type of a heavenly sign I suppose.
It's interesting that in historical writings, there are a number of heavenly signs that have been recorded by historians that have a religious bent. Josephus, a historian gave a list of the strange and supernatural signs that occurred 4 years prior to the destruction of Jerusalem. So before Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in 69 and 70 A.D. it says the signs were so evident and it plainly foretells their future destruction, thus there was a star resembling a sword which stood over the city and a comet that continued for a whole year. On the Feast of Unleavened Bread on the 8th day of Nisan at the end of the 9th hour of the night, so great a light shone round about the altar in the holy house that appeared to be bright daytime which lasted for about an hour. Moreover the eastern gate of the inner court of the temple which was brass and vastly heavy and rested upon a base armed with iron and had bolts fastened very deep into the first floor which was made entirely of stone and those who kept the temple came running to the captain of the temple, told him of it. When they came there, the gate had opened by itself and they were able finally to shut the gate back again.
Here's an interesting comment about a comet. These series of cosmic signs that warrant the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. were very likely Haley's comet. That Haley's comet came to the atmosphere in the year A.D. 66 which is about the time that Vespasian first began to march his armies toward Jerusalem and as most of you know from your Roman history of Vespasian's surrounded Jerusalem in 68 A.D. and then surrounded for 7 months laid siege to it and of course Nero died and Vespasian wanted to be Emperor along with 3 other guys and so he went back to Rome with his armies and began fighting the 3 other guys. Then when he finally won (it took about a year) he sent his son Titus, who at that time was only 23 (fairly young) back to finish. So they surrounded Jerusalem again in 69 A.D. and then finally took the city. So we have that space there when the Jews thought they had won and of course they hadn't and when the church was told to flee to Pella. But it's interesting as Haley's comet passed through the earth's atmosphere in the year 66 right before the time when the Romans came in and destroyed Jerusalem. It was called the star that was shaped like a sword. I don't know when Haley's comet is coming back, I think it's a long time, I think it's something like 2049 or something. You may want to look that up. I don't think that's going to be a sign of Christ's return, but certainly the Jews believed it had something to do with warning them about the destruction in Jerusalem.
Now with this in mind, I want to interpret or at least look at various prophetic signs. Let's go back to Revelation chapter 6 and verse 12. I bet you didn't realize there was so much about heavenly signs in the bible, did you? I actually could take 2 sermons on this but I won't, just for the sake of getting through the subject.
Revelation 6:12 Revelation 6:12And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, see, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;
American King James Version× I looked when He opened the sixth seal and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. (So a sackcloth sun. The sun becomes black. Now the sackcloth as you know is a type of mourning. People wore ashes and sackcloth when they were mourning for someone they had lost. There are some bible commentators who believe this sackcloth sun refers to something about the Babylonian or the Roman government warning them that they are about to be destroyed, I don't know if that's the case or not, I really doubt it, I mean this refers to heavenly signs and the earthquake is used to stop what's going on in the earth and caused people to realize now that God is bringing His judgment upon people. Blood has a lot of meaning of course in the scriptures, one of the plagues that was sent on ancient Egypt was that all the water, the rivers turned to blood so maybe it's something like that. Of course one of the plagues on the earth also had to do with water turning to blood but we'll go there later.)
Let's go back now to Luke chapter 21 and verse 25. Luke describes two things about these heavenly signs. Luke first calls them great signs in the heavens and then he calls them fearful signs in the heavens. It's almost, well they're great and all of a sudden they're kind of scary. So there's two reactions to these signs in the heavens. The first one of course, I kind of got that backwards the way I mentioned it, but Luke 21, verse 11:
Luke 21:11 Luke 21:11And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.
American King James Version× And there will be great earthquakes in various places and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs in heaven. (So great signs from heaven. These are great signs, these are powerful things happening in the heavens.)
Verse 12: But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, (So the tribulation here is given a little bit different in scenario in Luke 21, but He still again places the 5th seal before the 6th.)
Now let's drop down to verse 25. He says something here in verse 24 that is interesting.
Verse 24: And they will fall by the edge of the sword and be led away captive into all nations. (So we have persecution here really of the physical people of Israel and we talked about that. This Michael stands up and stops the physical descendants of Israel from being killed off because there has to be a remnant that returns.) And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. (So one more place verifies Daniel 11, verse 40 that the king of the North comes into Jerusalem and establishes his kingdom there. Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles is fulfilled. In other words, the times that God allows this Gentile kingdom to persecute Israel and to destroy and scatter the people of God.)
Verse 25: And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon and in the stars and on the earth distress of nations, (So here there are signs that cause distress, they are fearful signs, they are great signs.) with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring;
Verse 26: Men's hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, (So the heavenly signs are not the things coming on the earth, that's the 7 last plagues, but the heavenly signs sort of tell them I suppose because the two witnesses are telling them what's going to happen, that they are now fearful of the things that are coming on the earth, these great plagues.) for the powers of heaven will be shaken. (So we have the powers of heaven shaken, people are very much upset, they are now going to be punished because they have defied God and because Satan has deceived them all into being part of this world ruling government.)
Now we talked about in Matthew 24 there were stars falling from heaven. Now there are several interpretations of that. First clouds may form through massive explosions of weapons and bombs. Some people think that the darkening of heavens could be because of nuclear bombs going off around the earth in addition to the earthquakes and volcanoes, that may be true. It fills the sky with smoke and gas. The second possibility that darkness could refer to some complete solar eclipse. Eclipses have been used by many over the years to talk about God's warning or whatever. I'm not so sure that eclipses are all that significant, there may be some that are. Some believe that Jesus Christ, when the earth being dark over Jerusalem, when He was crucified may have been because of an eclipse, but the solar eclipses don't last that long. We lived through a complete solar eclipse in Pasco back in 1978 or some time, it was one of the rare times when the sun and the moon are exactly in sync because they do disband the exact same number of degrees in the sky and that of course is an interesting coincidence, it probably wasn't by design, but the evolutionist would probably have you think that. So that eclipse, I remember I stopped along the road; you could see the geese were flying over to roost for the night, but the radio played music during the time of the total eclipse and it was what, 6 minutes? It wasn't long. Then after that then of course then the one sphere starts to go past the other and after about 15 or 20 minutes, then the sun is back out and you can go back to work. So it couldn't be an eclipse that caused the earth to be dark over Jerusalem for 3 hours. It would have to be a supernatural eclipse or covering of the sun in some way, maybe God sends an angel to cover up the sun, we really don't know. But the stars falling, we read that in Revelation 6 in verse 13 that the stars fell from heaven.
Let's go to Daniel chapter 8, verse 9. Stars are an interesting study in the bible, I think you could study the word stars and write down every one of the references and still not figure anything out because they are used in a number of different ways. The angels of God of course are called stars. Satan the devil was called Lucifer which means bright and morning star. It says stars fell from heaven, o.k. does that mean that the demons ascend to heaven again and try to throw God off His throne and He sends them back down to the earth? I really don't think so because the casting down of Satan in Revelation 12 is earlier than that. He comes back to the earth knowing that he has but a short time and then begins to persecute the remnant of God's church and the people of Israel. So that really is 2-1/2 years before this. So I don't think it means the angels.
Daniel 8:9 Daniel 8:9And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land.
American King James Version× And out of one of them came a little horn which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east and toward the Glorious Land.
Verse 10: And it grew up to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and some of the stars to the ground and trampled them. (Now in this case prophetically it refers to the people of God who were punished, who lost their lives who were fighting against not only in the time of the Machabees, but later the people of God who would stand up and say yes, I'm going to keep the Sabbath and stand for God's commandments and the testimony of Jesus Christ and then would be killed in the persecution that we talked about of the 5th seal. So this verse 10 very likely does not mean the same stars falling from heaven as we found back in Revelation 6 verse 13.)
Let's go back now to Revelation chapter 8. I think it just means there's a huge meteor shower and there's probably other bright things happening in the sky, whether it's God's angels that are going back and forth or whether it's something else we really don't know.
Revelation 8:10 Revelation 8:10And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell on the third part of the rivers, and on the fountains of waters;
American King James Version× Then the third angel sounded: And a great star fell from heaven burning like a torch. (Now stars falling from heaven during the heavenly signs. Those may have been meteors that would hit the earth and cause more explosions, cause more earthquakes. In this case: This third angel sounded, there's a great star so a single star falls from heaven and this by the way is later, this is way into the era of God's punishment, the time of the 7 last plagues.) It fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water;
Verse 11: and the name of the star is Wormwood. (So in this case we have something coming from heaven that causes all of the water on the earth to be bitter. This wouldn't be a star that would be considered as one of those in Revelation chapter 6.)
Revelation 9:1 Revelation 9:1And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven to the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.
American King James Version× Then the fifth angel sounded: And I saw a star fallen from heaven to the earth. And to him was given the key to the bottomless pit. (So this star is obviously an angel from God that comes down, but he falls like a star. It's visible when it comes down. So stars of Revelation 6, let's go back to chapter 6.)
Revelation 6:13 Revelation 6:13And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, even as a fig tree casts her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.
American King James Version× And the stars of heaven fell to the earth as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind. (I think we would have to interpret that as probably a meteor shower that causes destruction and simply part of the earth being shaken that we read about.)
Verse 14: Then the sky receded as a scroll (Well the sky just kind of wraps up, it's one interpretation or one translation, it says split apart so the sky seems to explode.) and every mountain and island was moved out of its place. (So there's a huge earthquake, mountains and islands and things take place. A lot of people on the earth die.)
Verse 15: And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, (We read about that in Isaiah that these plagues come back on the rich men, those who were in charge of the earth, these men who have really become the ruling class of the earth; that small one tenth of one percent that seems to own everything and decide everything) the mighty men, every slave and every free man hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains. (That's because things are falling on them from the earth. Things are falling on them from the sky. So they have a punishment during this time.)
Verse 16: And they said to the mountains and rocks: "Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!"
Verse 17: "For the great day of His wrath has come and who is able to stand."
So verses 15 through 17 seem to be a summary of what man's reaction is during this year of the 7 last plagues; that people try to hide from the effects of the plagues, but they don't repent. They don't try to seek God, they don't try to understand why they are being punished, why the earth is being punished. But notice this question, the question in verse 17: Who is going to be able to stand during the time of His great wrath?
Well the bible answers that, believe it or not. Let's go over to Joel chapter 2.
There will be apparently some who are able to stand during the time of God's great wrath. Most people aren't going to be standing, they're going to hiding in caves, they're going to be hiding in someplace where they think will protect them from all of these plagues that are coming down out of the sky on them.
Joel 2:11 Joel 2:11And the LORD shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executes his word: for the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?
American King James Version× The Lord gives voice before His army, (So this is the army of God, the angels) for His camp is very great; for strong is the One who executes His word. For the day of the Lord is great and very terrible; who can endure it? (Well the answer is in verse 12 and 13.)
Verse 12: "Now therefore," says the Lord, "Turn to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping and with mourning." (In other words if we repent before this happens, if we turn to God with all our heart, we will be able to endure.)
Verse 13: So rend your heart, and not your garments; return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm.
Verse 15: Blow the trumpet of Zion, consecrate a fast, call a sacred assembly;
Verse 16: Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the nursing babes; (Really he's talking about a warning to the followers of God, the people of God, to turn to Him with all of their heart before the heavens shake.)
Verse 10: The earth quakes before them, the heavens tremble; the sun and moon grow dark and the stars diminish their brightness. (So those who are going to endure during this time are those who have turned to God with all of their heart and have found that He is gracious and merciful and slow to anger.)
Let's also go to Malachi chapter 3 in verse 2. Now this has to be done ahead of time, I think it's appropriate that we can at least look at our own lives before we have the Passover coming up in 9 weeks.
Malachi 3:2 Malachi 3:2But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appears? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap:
American King James Version× But who can endure the day of His coming? (So who is going to be able stand? Who is going to be able to endure during the time of this 6th plague which is the heavenly signs and then that year that follows which is the 7th seal and the 7 last plagues?) Who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner's fire and like fuller's soap.
Verse 3: He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi and purge them as gold and silver, (Revelation talks about that, tried in the fire to find out if they are made of gold or silver.) that they may offer to the Lord an offering in righteousness. (So again, who is going to be able to stand? Those who are purified, those who are showing their character of gold and silver.)
I want us to end today in Hebrews chapter 12 in verse 22. Paul referred to this time, he referred to the time when Jesus Christ would shake the earth, shake the heavens and the earth. It would be the final punishment. He admonishes us as followers of God, as to what to do to prepare for them.
Hebrews 12:22 Hebrews 12:22But you are come to mount Sion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
American King James Version× But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, (So when we come to Jesus Christ, we're coming to the real Mount Zion to the city of the living God) the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, (So we're going to be a part of the heavenly Jerusalem, we have this huge number of angels that become kind of part of the extended family.)
Verse 23: to the general assembly and church of the firstborn (Jesus Christ was firstborn among many brethren. We are firstborn because we receive the inheritance that God promised to Abraham.) who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect,
Verse 24: to Jesus the Mediator (We're coming to Jesus Christ who is our mediator.) of the new covenant and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel. (So Abel's sacrifice was a lamb, our sacrifice is the Lamb of God.)
Verse 25: See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. (Talking about Jesus Christ, the mediator) For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, (So many people who refused Him did not escape, they died in the destruction in Jerusalem in 70 A.D.) much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven,
Verse 26: whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised saying "Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven." (What we've been reading about all morning. God shaking, not just the earth with earthquakes and with meteors and with just the violence like never seen before, but it also shakes the heavens, the heavenly signs.)
Verse 27: Now this, "Yet once more," indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, (So all these temporary things are going to be shaken up and eventually removed this society that Satan has built and man has accepted.) that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. (The only thing that cannot be shaken is your character, your spiritual character with God. These spiritual things will last forever.)
Verse 28: Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, (Let us understand the forgiveness of God and live a life according to that.) by which we may serve
God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. (The knowledge of the heavenly signs ought to cause us to make sure we are serving God with reverence and godly fear.)
Verse 29: For our God is a consuming fire. (And He certainly is going to return to this earth, send Jesus Christ back as a consuming fire to punish mankind so that mankind will listen and be willing to have Him rule over them in the Kingdom of God. That is the purpose for the heavenly signs and the knowledge of the heavenly signs should help us to really seek God and do those things that are right in preparation for that time.)