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Jesus Selects 144,000 Prophets

 

The book of Revelation is carefully designed. Every detail is perfectly choreographed. Every scene is deliberately set up, and each of the seventeen prophecies in Daniel and Revelation produce a matrix of timing and events that harmoniously conforms with valid rules of interpretation. A proper understanding of apocalyptic prophecy produces an incredible story about Jesus and His offer of salvation. In fact, the entire Bible dovetails into the “Revelation of Jesus Christ” much like all the electrical wires in a house connect to the breaker box. The role and character of the Godhead, their love for each other and mankind, the sovereign authority of Jesus, the ministry of the Holy Spirit, the Father’s plan for our salvation, and its timing – all this is found in apocalyptic prophecy. I have said many times that apocalyptic prophecy is not so much about future telling as it is about the love, plans, and ways of God. If you really want to appreciate the fullness of salvation’s process, you have to study the books of Daniel and Revelation.    

 

Revelation 10:1 occurs prior to the casting down of the censer in Revelation 8:5. When the time for Revelation 10:1 arrives, Jesus will quietly descend to Earth to make Himself known to those whom He has chosen to be His servants. Like Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus, most of the 144,000 do not personally know Jesus currently, but when they are called, they will see Him and understand His sovereign authority over Heaven and Earth. No one else will see Jesus descend. (Compare with Daniel 10:7 and Acts 9:7.) This appearing parallels the Lord’s unannounced appearing to Abraham. Remember how the Lord and two angels came down from Heaven (in the form of three men) to see for themselves how great the wickedness of Sodom and Gomorrah had become. (Genesis 18) The two angels who came with the Lord came to serve as two witnesses. In a similar way, the Lord will quietly descend from Heaven to physically appear before His servants. He will tell them of His selection, He will empower them with His Two Witnesses and the destruction of Earth (the first four trumpets) will begin.

 

“Then I saw another mighty angel [this angel is Jesus] coming down from heaven. He was robed in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head; his face was like the sun, and his legs were like fiery pillars. He was holding a little scroll, which lay open in his hand. He planted his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land [His stance declares sovereign rule over land and sea], and he gave a loud shout [a thunderous announcement] like the roar of a lion. When he shouted, the voices of the seven thunders spoke.” (Revelation 10:10-3, italics and insertions mine)

 

Timing

 

Rule One of apocalyptic prophecy says that each apocalyptic prophecy has a beginning and ending point in time. I understand that Revelation 10:1 occurs a few days before the censer is cast down in Revelation 8 and before the seven trumpets begin. Please examine the chart on the following page and notice the relationships between the prophecies in

Revelation 7,8, and 10: 

 

 

                                        

 

A= In 1994, the limits of God’s patience were reached. The Jubilee Calendar expired. The seven angels were given the seven trumpets.

 

B= The first four angels of the seven trumpets were told not to harm the earth – until the sealing of the 144,000 is completed.

 

C= At approximately the same time, I believe a great war begins. Jesus descends from Heaven, declares His sovereign authority over Earth, and announces that the appointed time for God’s wrath has come. Jesus selects and empowers the 144,000.

 

D= A possible nuclear exchange occurs. The saints pray for God’s intervention.

 

E= A few days later, the first of the seven thunders occurs, Jesus declares there will be no more delay, the censer is cast down, and the 144,000 begin preaching for 1,260 days.

 

Who Is The Mighty Angel?

 

John wrote, “Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven. He was robed in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head; his face was like the sun, and his legs were like fiery pillars.” (Revelation 10:1) The mighty angel in Revelation 10:1 is Michael/Jesus. Jesus is depicted as the angel Michael for several reasons. Consider the following:

 

1.   John’s description of Jesus in Revelation 10 and Ezekiel’s description of Jesus in Ezekiel 1 are in perfect harmony even though these men lived approximately 700 years apart. Ezekiel wrote, “Above the expanse over their heads [the four living creatures] was what looked like a throne of sapphire, and high above on the throne was a figure like that of a man. I saw that form what appeared to be his waist up he looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire, and from there down he looked like fire; brilliant light surrounded him. Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord.  When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking. He said to me, “Son of man, stand up on your feet and I will speak to you.’” (Ezekiel 1:26-2:2, insertion and italics mine)

 

Ezekiel saw the Lord sitting on His throne and He resembled the form of a man because mankind was created in God’s image! Angels look something like men, as well. (Genesis 1:26,27; 19:1; Daniel 9:21; Hebrews 13:2; Revelation 9:7) The fiery appearance of Jesus in Ezekiel 1 and the rainbow surrounding Him indicates that He is God. (Daniel 10:5,6) Jesus is the Creator of light. (Genesis 1:1; 1 John 1:5; John 8:12) The rainbow testifies that this angel is the Source of light and everything that exists. (Colossians 1:16) No other being, other than God, is surrounded by a rainbow in the Bible. When God made the promise that he would not destroy the world with another flood, He said, “I have set my rainbow in the clouds….” (Note the possessive pronoun) in the sky for everyone on Earth to see. (Genesis 9:13, italics mine) No throne, other than God’s throne, has a rainbow encircling it. The angel in Revelation 10:1 is a member of deity and there is only one angel who is deity – Michael. The rainbow is telling. (Ezekiel 1:28; Revelation 4:3)

 

2.   The angel in Revelation 10 takes a deliberate stance. John says, “He planted his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land.” The angel’s posture and location indicates sovereign authority over Earth (both land and sea). John saw Jesus as a mighty angel in this prophecy for several reasons. Angels are a higher order than mankind. Angels have strength and powers that go far beyond human ability. Michael, the Archangel, is King of kings and Lord of lords over all creation, Heaven and Earth combined. (Philippians 2:9,10) Prior to living among us as a man, Jesus lived in Heaven in the form of an angel. This is why Jesus is also called, Michael, the archangel. When Jesus returned to Heaven on Resurrection Sunday (John 20:17), He resumed His identity and authority as Michael, and He led His angels in a successful battle to evict Lucifer and his angels from Heaven. (Revelation 12:7-9)

 

3.   Jesus is represented as a mighty angel in Revelation 10:1 because He is the commander of the seven angels who have the seven trumpets. In the chapter on the seven trumpets, we found that seven exalted angels stand before God’s throne. These angels were given the seven trumpets in 1994 and they have been waiting for several years for a command from Jesus to begin destroying Earth. Jesus will release the first four angels with their trumpet destruction when He announces, “… there will be no more delay.” (Revelation 10:6) This mighty angel, actually Michael, is the commander-in-chief of the seven angels. Michael/Jesus is not a created being like angels or human beings. Michael is God, a co-eternal member of the Godhead. Michael is equal in every way to the Father. Many people stumble over the idea that Michael is Jesus, but whether He lives among the angels as one of them or among men as one of us – neither position diminishes the divinity or fullness of Jesus. In fact, both incarnations expand the divinity of Jesus by revealing the love of God has for His creation! Think about this: The Creator of angels and human beings lives and walks in the shoes of His own creation. Michael/Jesus lives among us as one of us! Jesus is called by His angelic name, Michael, in Daniel10:13, 21, 12:1, Jude 1:9 and Revelation 12:7 because the Father wants us to know that even after assuming humanity, Jesus remains the arch-angel, the commander of Heaven’s angels. (The prefix “arch” comes from the Greek word that means “above others” – the English words “mon-arch” means “one-ruler” and arch-bishop means a “bishop above others.”)

 

4.   Another clue proving that the angel in Revelation 10:1 is Jesus comes indirectly from John and the apostle Paul. Paul tells us that Jesus Himself will come down from Heaven, and speaking with the authority of the archangel, Michael, the dead in Christ shall come out of their graves. “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16, italics mine) Paul says that the Lord Himself is the archangel. No one but Jesus has authority to give this command and the power to create life. (John 1:4) Jesus says that He holds the keys to life and death.  “I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades [the grave].” (Revelation 1:18, italics and insertion mine) But even more important, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.” (John 5:25, italics mine)

 

5.   Finally, the best clue comes from the actions of this angel. No other being can say and do what is done in Revelation 10, but Michael/Jesus. Specifically, Jesus swears by Himself in verse 6, to flawlessly carry out the “Great tribulation Plan” which the Father gave Him. “And He swore by him who lives for ever and ever, who created the heavens and all that is in them, the earth and all that is in it, and said, ‘There will be no more delay [of God’s wrath]!’” (Revelation 10:6, insertions mine)

 

We know from John 1:10, Hebrews 1:2, Colossians 1:16 and other places in the Bible, that Jesus is the Creative Agent of the Godhead. Jesus has made everything that exists. So, if the mighty angel in Revelation 10:1 is our Creator, why does the language in verse 6 suggest that Jesus is swearing by someone other than Himself?  We find this literary technique used in other places in the Bible and the purpose for this technique is emphatic disclosure, that is, Jesus refers to His office as the Creator of the universe because there is no higher authority. Consider three other references where Jesus refers to Himself in the third person:

 

A.   First, “Then he showed me Joshua and the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at the right side to accuse him. The Lord said to Satan, ‘The Lord [Sovereign God] rebuke you, Satan! The Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?’”       

(Zechariah 3:1,2) In this passage, the Lord silenced the devil by asserting sovereign authority. The Lord simply said, “The Lord rebuke you.” This divine denunciation silenced Lucifer. He could not say another word. The Word of God has incredible power. Remember, Jesus claimed the Sea of Galilee with a single command (Matthew 8:26) and the Heavens and the starry hosts were formed with the breath of His mouth. (Psalm 33:6, Colossians 1:16)

 

B.   The following references shows Jesus referring to Himself in the third person: “But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, ‘The Lord [Sovereign God] rebuke you!’” (Jude 1:9, insertions mine) The devil argued that Moses should not be resurrected and taken to Heaven because Moses had sinned against God. Once again, Jesus silenced the devil with a divine command.

 

C.   Finally, the following reference shows Michael/Jesus speaking to Abraham. The angel swears by Himself because there is no higher authority. “But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, ‘Abraham! Abraham!’ ‘Here I am,’ he replied. ‘Do not lay a hand on the boy,’ he said. ‘Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.’ Abraham looked up and there in the thicket he saw a ram caught by his horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called the place The Lord Will Provide.  And to this day it is said, ‘On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.’ The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven the second time and said, ‘I swear by myself,’ declares the Lord, ‘that because you have done this and have not withheld you son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.’” (Genesis 22:11-18)

 

Jesus takes the oath in Revelation 10:6 swearing by Himself because one God (Michael/ Jesus) promises another God (the Father) that He will conclude the sin problem according to the blueprint which the Father gave Him for man’s salvation! (Psalm 2:7-12, Revelation 1:1) From the beginning of sin, the plan of salvation has involved three Gods (the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). When Adam and Eve fell, Jesus gave up certain prerogatives as “Creator God.” He submitted to the authority of the Father and His plan of salvation in order to save mankind. On that day, Jesus became the “son” of God. This clarifies why Jesus is called, “The Son of God.” The Hebrew word for son is ben and it means “subject or one who is subjected to the authority of another’s.” This amazing event is recorded in Psalm 2: “I will proclaim the decree of the Lord [the Father]: He said to me [Jesus], ‘You are my Son [subject]; today I have become your Father [Overseer]. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.  [I will give them to you if you redeem them.] You will rule them with an iron scepter [unbroken rule]; you will dash them [your enemies] to pieces like pottery.’” (Psalm 2:7-9) Jesus reiterated the results of this decree in the Garden of Gethsemane: “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They are yours; you gave them to me and have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you.” (John 17:6,7, italics mine)

 

We know that one God (Jesus) came to Earth to do the will of another God (the Father). (John 6:38) To redeem mankind from the curse of sin, Jesus had to perfectly carry out the plan of salvation which the Father prepared before sin began. (Revelation 17:8) When Jesus takes the oath in Revelation 10:6, He promises the Father that he will do everything that the Father requires, and the twenty-four elders, along with millions of angels, will be eye witnesses of this oath. We can compare Jesus’ oath with the swearing in of a new president of the United States. The president swears before God and witnesses (U.S. citizens) at his inauguration, that he will uphold the constitution (the laws) of the United States to the best of his ability, “so help me God.”

 

6.   Ultimately, the little book that rests in the angel’s hands proves this angel is Michael/Jesus. Notice how this proof unfolds. Ezekiel was given a book to eat just like John. Ezekiel found it sweet in his mouth (that is, wonderful to understand), but the experience of delivering the words of God to obstinate people would be bitter. Jesus told Ezekiel: “’You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen, for they are rebellious. But you, son of man, listen to what I say to you. Do not rebel like the rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I give you.’ Then I looked, and I saw a hand stretched out to me. In it was a scroll, which he unrolled before me. On both sides were written words of lament and mourning and woe. And he said to me, ‘Son of man, eat what is before you, eat this scroll; then go and speak to the house of Israel.’ So, I opened my mouth, and he gave me the scroll to eat. Then he said to me, ‘Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it.’ So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth. He said to me: ‘Son of man, go now to the house of Israel and speak my words to them…. But the house of Israel is not willing to listen to you because they are not willing to listen to me, for the house of Israel is hardened and obstinate.’” (Ezekiel 2:7-3:4,7, italics mine)

 

 The selection and empowerment of the 144,000 prophets was represented to John as though he would be like one of them. John, like the prophet Ezekiel, was given a little book to eat and then told to prophesy again. This literary technique takes very few words to describe. By putting John into the experience of the 144,000, the final generation can quickly understand the mission and experience of the 144,000.

 

John’s experience: “Then the voice that I heard from heaven spoke to me once more: ‘Go, take the scroll that lies open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.’ So I went to the angel and asked him to give me the little scroll. He said to me, ‘Take it and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour, but in your mouth it will taste as sweet as honey.’ I took the little scroll from the angel’s and ate it. It tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour. Then I was told, ‘You must prophesy [preach] again about [before] many peoples, nations, languages and kings.’” (Revelation 10:8-11, insertions mine)

 

We have examined six elements concerning the identity of the mighty angel in Revelation 10:1. They are as follows: (1) the rainbow indicating deity, (2) the deliberate posture indicating sovereign authority over land and sea, (3) as Commander-in-chief over the angels, Michael/Jesus declaring when the delay ends and the seven trumpets begin, (4) as God, Michael/Jesus is resurrecting the dead on the last day with His own voice, (5) the mighty angel swearing with an oath that He will carry out the Great Tribulation plan which the Father has given Him, and (6) John and Ezekiel receiving the words from God. God told both of them to eat the book and speak for God. All of these elements harmoniously satisfy all of the specifications and  prove the mighty angel described in Revelation 10 is Michael/Jesus.          

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