Revelation 11:15-12:17

This entry is part 11 of 16 in the series Revelation

A Bible Study by Jack Kelley

At the end of our last installment in the Book of Revelation, I promised to tell you where in Israel the next Temple will be located. So let’s get started with a little review.

According to prophecies in Daniel 9:27, Matt 24:15 and 2 Thes 2:4, a Temple will exist in Israel at the beginning of the Great Tribulation. This is confirmed in Revelation 11:1 where John is being told to measure a Temple and count the worshipers there shortly before the Tribulation begins.

He’s instructed to omit the outer court because it’s been given over to the Gentiles. Its location is the “Holy City” which will be trampled on by the Gentiles for 42 months, the length of the Great Tribulation. As you remember, Rev.  11 also introduces the 2 witnesses who preach in the “Great City” and are ultimately killed there, their bodies left lying in the street. The Great City is identified as the place where the Lord was crucified: Jerusalem. It’s been trampled on by the Gentiles for 2000 years. Are the Holy City and the Great City the same or different? Let’s see.

According to Zechariah 14:6-9, on the day of the Lord’s return an earthquake will split the Mt. of Olives in two along an East-West line forming a great valley through the center of Jerusalem. Immediately a river will fill the valley creating a waterway from the Mediterranean to the Dead Sea. If the Lord returns to the same area of the Mt. of Olives from which He left, as suggested by Acts 1:11, the earthquake will destroy the current Temple mount and anything that may be standing upon it.

Ezekiel 47:1-12 describes a great river flowing from under the south side of the Temple and then eastward to the Dead Sea during a period of time that most scholars believe has not occurred yet. Revelation 22:1-2 confirms this. If as it appears, Ezekiel, Zechariah, and Revelation all describe the same river, then an interesting scenario begins to emerge.

This scenario requires a Temple to be present on the day the Lord returns, but since the current Temple mount will have been destroyed by the earthquake mentioned above, this Temple must be somewhere else. The river originates under the Temple and flows from its south side in a southerly direction before heading East and West, so the Temple must be north of the newly created valley.

Where Are The 12 Tribes?
Plotting on a map of Israel the land grants for the 12 tribes given in Ezekiel 48 shows the precincts of the Holy City to be somewhat north of the current city of Jerusalem. This new location is the ancient city of Shiloh, where the Tabernacle stood for nearly 400 years after the Israelites first conquered the Land. This is the Holy City and its name is Jehovah Shammah according to the last verse in Ezekiel. The Hebrew translates as “the LORD is here.”

If my interpretation is accurate, this location would meet all the requirements for the Temple mentioned in the above references. The current Temple Mount in Jerusalem would not.

According to Ezekiel 44:6-9, this Temple will have been defiled in a way never seen in history, therefore at a time yet future to us. A foreigner un-circumsized in heart (neither Christian) and flesh (nor Jewish) will have been given charge of the sanctuary while offering sacrifices. If we understand the chronology of Ezekiel, this will have taken place after both the 1948 re-gathering prophesied in Ezekiel 36-37 and the national wake-up call prophesied in Ezekiel 38-39 but before the Millennial Kingdom begins. The only event we know of that fits the time frame is Daniel’s 70th Week. This is confirmed by Paul’s prophecy of 2 Thes. 2:4 where the anti-Christ sets himself up in the Temple proclaiming himself to be God.

Here then is a rough outline of events. Following Israel’s return to God after the battle of Ezekiel 38-39, the Jewish people will re-establish their covenant (Old not New) with Him. This will require a return to Levitical practices and so a Temple will be built. This is the Temple spoken of in Daniel and Revelation. Following instructions recorded by Ezekiel and needing to avoid the enormous problems a Jerusalem Temple would create in the Moslem world, this Temple will be located north of Jerusalem in Shiloh. It will be defiled in the middle of the last 7 years as outlined in Daniel 9:24-27, Ezekiel 44:6-9, Matt 24:15 and 2 Thes 2:4 kicking off the Great Tribulation, but it won’t be destroyed.

This Temple will be the source of the living water that begins flowing on the day the Lord returns (Zech 14:8). After a cleansing and re-dedication similar to the one memorialized in the Feast of Hanukkah, it will be used during the Millennium. It’s purpose will be to memorialize the Lord’s work at the cross and provide the perspective for children born during the Kingdom Age to choose salvation. Acts 15:14-16 confirms that after the Lord has chosen a people from among the gentiles for Himself (the church) He will return and re-build David’s fallen Tabernacle (the Temple). This is the Third Temple, so carefully detailed in Ezekiel 40-44. Now let’s get back to Revelation.

Revelation 11:15-19

The Seventh Trumpet

The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever.”

And the twenty-four elders, who were seated on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying: “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign. The nations were angry; and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your saints and those who reverence your name, both small and great— and for destroying those who destroy the earth.” (Rev. 11:15-18)

One of the names for God is an expansion of the great “I AM” declaration of Exodus 3:14. Remember, Moses wanted to know God’s name in case the Israelites asked who sent him when he went to Egypt to deliver them from slavery. God replied, “Tell them that I AM has sent you.” John has used this name earlier, translated as “the One who is, and who was, and who is to come.” (Rev. 1:4) Notice how the “who is to come” part has been left out of this passage. That’s because with the 7th Trumpet the future has arrived. The Lord has taken up the Kingdom  He bought and paid for at the cross, and is now set to claim it.

Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a great hailstorm. (Rev. 11:19)

Here are more of God’s signature warnings of impending judgment. In Heaven the Great Tribulation has begun, and the first order of business is to get the enemy out of there.

Revelation 12

A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. (Rev. 12:1-2)

The fact that John identifies her as a sign means the woman’s not real but stands for something else. And the something else is Israel. We get hints of this from Genesis 37:9-10 where Joseph dreams that his family are the sun, the moon and 11 stars, he being the 12th one. And as we’ll see in a moment, this woman is about to give birth to the Messiah, which makes it impossible for her to be the church, as some insist. Jesus gave birth to the Church, not the other way around.

Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads. His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born. She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter. And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne. The woman fled into the desert to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days. (Rev. 12:3-6)

This sign begins a sweeping overview of of  Satan’s rebellion against God and his hatred for men who align themselves with Him. He’s seen as the Great Dragon who led a rebellion in Heaven that resulted in 1/3 of the angelic host joining with him. He tried to destroy the Messiah, but God resurrected Him and took Him to Heaven. When they see the Abomination of Desolation, believers in Israel will heed the Messiah’s warning from Matt. 24:15 and escape into the Jordanian desert where He will have prepared a hiding place for them, while He spends 3 1/2 years getting the Earth ready for His return.  This 3 1/2 years is known to us as the Great Tribulation (Matt. 24:21).

And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. (Rev. 12:7-9)

Satan’s on the run now. No longer allowed in heaven, he’s been cast to earth as foretold in Isaiah 14:12 and Ezekiel 28:17. Some incorrectly teach that this happened long ago, at Satan’s judgment. But as Job 1:6-7 and Rev. 12:10  below clearly show, Satan’s had access to heaven all along. He was divested of his titles and of his prominent position at his judgment, but until now he’s been allowed to come and go. And when he does, he whispers his accusations against you and me in God’s ear. Whenever I think of this, I take comfort from the fact that our Lord Jesus is whispering in God’s other ear, making intercession for us. (Romans 8:34)

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:

“Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.

Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.” (Rev. 12:10-12) )

Notice that as the Lord had done in Rev. 3:10 John distinguished between those who dwell in Heaven and the Earth dwellers. It’s not just due to our different physical locations, but is an indication of the state of our hearts. For the Church in Heaven Satan’s impending defeat is greeted with rejoicing, but on Earth it’s a time of great woe because the war’s come home to them. Another hint of the pre-trib rapture.

The Kingdom that Satan lost at his rebellion and judgment, and that he later stole back from the man to whom it had been given (Adam) has become the battleground for the most incredible contest in history. Spiritual forces on both sides line up unseen behind their human counterparts. They’ll battle to the death for control of Planet Earth. Will the usurper who has put it to the torch and sword, laying waste to the very thing he’s fighting for, finally prevail? Or will the Kinsman Redeemer, whose shed blood has legally redeemed what Adam had lost so long ago, carry the day?

We’ll soon see, but first there’s one last troublesome detail to handle. Ever since the beginning, Satan has been trying to wipe out every trace of God’s people, for they hold the power to call forth the Redeemer.

When the dragon saw that he had been hurled to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the desert, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent’s reach. Then from his mouth the serpent spewed water like a river, to overtake the woman and sweep her away with the torrent. But the earth helped the woman by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring—those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus. (Rev. 12:13-17)

The phrase time, times, and half a time is a way of saying one year, two years and half a year, or 3 1/2 years. It’s the third indication of the length of the coming Great Tribulation we’ve seen.  From Rev. 11:2 we learned that the Gentiles will trample on the Holy City for 42 months. Then in Rev. 12:6 we saw the woman being taken care of for 1260 days. Now we see this same period of time referred to as 3 1/2 years. Many scholars believe the Lord never abandoned the 360 day calendar He instituted at the Creation.  That being the case 42 months, 1260 days and 3 1/2 years are all equivalent periods of time and they all describe the Great Tribulation.

After His rejection and death, the Lord went back to Heaven, where He had come from. He vowed to stay there until His people acknowledged their sin. He knew that things would have to get pretty rough before they’d humble themselves enough to call Him back, but that eventually they would.  This was all foretold in Hosea 5:15-6:2.  In the meantime, if Satan can wipe them out, there won’t be anyone left to petition Him.

And so it’s been. Using the Romans, the Muslims, the Christians, the Spaniards, the Russians, the Germans, the Italians, the English, and now the Muslims again Satan has been obsessed with ridding the world of its Jewry. He knows that if he can accomplish this before they wake up and call on the Name of Jesus, he’s won.

When he brings Gog and Magog in a sneak attack that will begin Daniel’s 70th Week he will almost succeed, but God will intervene and save them.  Astonishingly this will turn them back to Him, although still blinded to their Messiah. Here in Rev. 12:15  Satan’s using a torrent of water, like God had used against Satan’s hybrid warriors 5000 years earlier, but the Earth cooperates with its Creator and swallows up the water. The Jews are safe once again. Furious, Satan turns on the post-Church Gentile believers, known by some as as Tribulation Saints.  More next time.