Saturday, June 22, 2013

Mark 14:53-65 comments: false witnesses

53 ¶  And they led Jesus away to the high priest: and with him were assembled all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes. 54  And Peter followed him afar off, even into the palace of the high priest: and he sat with the servants, and warmed himself at the fire.


Do you follow Jesus from afar and are you warming your hands over the devil’s fire? Peter is taking the first steps toward denying Christ and what he had previously promised. How many times have I kept silent when I should have proclaimed Christ? Each time you don’t take the opportunity to declare your faith you get closer and closer to denying it.


55  And the chief priests and all the council sought for witness against Jesus to put him to death; and found none.


Even the authorities find that Jesus is innocent.


56  For many bare false witness against him, but their witness agreed not together.


Their own witnesses can’t agree and can’t keep their lies straight.


Psalm 27:12 Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty.


Psalm 35:11 False witnesses did rise up; they laid to my charge things that I knew not.


57  And there arose certain, and bare false witness against him, saying,

58  We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands.

59  But neither so did their witness agree together.

60  And the high priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, saying, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee?


They obviously didn’t understand what He had said and they lied. Here’s what he said;


John 2:18  Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things? 19  Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. 20  Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? 21  But he spake of the temple of his body.


The operative word is “this” in verse 19 referring to His body and “this” in verse 20 in which they are referring to the physical temple. This same mistake is made by at least one historical church here;


Matthew 16:15  He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16  And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17  And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 18  And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.


“This” rock refers to Himself, not to Peter.


1Corinthians 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.


You can also say that Peter’s confession that Jesus was Christ is the bedrock of Christianity and the foundation of our faith.


61  But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?

62  And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.


Now, He has said it. This is an explosive statement.


Exodus 3:14  And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.


Daniel 7:13  I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. 14  And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.


He has claimed to be God and the Messiah. They had to make a choice now. Either they accept Him as their Messiah or they reject Him. Either Jesus is a liar or He is God. You have to make a choice.


63  Then the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What need we any further witnesses?

64  Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye? And they all condemned him to be guilty of death.

65  And some began to spit on him, and to cover his face, and to buffet him, and to say unto him, Prophesy: and the servants did strike him with the palms of their hands.

Isaiah 50:6  I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.

Mark 14:43-52 comments: the arrest

43 ¶  And immediately, while he yet spake, cometh Judas, one of the twelve, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. 44  And he that betrayed him had given them a token, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he; take him, and lead him away safely.


This was apparently a custom at the time. We don’t feel comfortable with this today but sometimes people will hug you. I, personally, don’t feel comfortable with such familiarity. A handshake or a nod or a smile are good enough for me. This is probably easier in a church under persecution. Perhaps, by necessity they must trust each other and be close.


Romans16:16  Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you.


1Corinthians 16:20  All the brethren greet you. Greet ye one another with an holy kiss.


2Corinthians 13:12  Greet one another with an holy kiss.


1Thessalonians 5:26  Greet all the brethren with an holy kiss.

It is funny that fundamentalists who insist on long hair and dresses for women and no women preachers don’t seem to have a problem ignoring these verses. I don’t recall ever seeing a fundamentalist giving a “holy kiss” and doubt if they would even know what one was.


But beware of such a kiss.


Genesis 29:13  And it came to pass, when Laban heard the tidings of Jacob his sister’s son, that he ran to meet him, and embraced him, and kissed him, and brought him to his house. And he told Laban all these things.


2Samuel 15:4  Absalom said moreover, Oh that I were made judge in the land, that every man which hath any suit or cause might come unto me, and I would do him justice! 5  And it was so, that when any man came nigh to him to do him obeisance, he put forth his hand, and took him, and kissed him.


2 Samuel 20:9  And Joab said to Amasa, Art thou in health, my brother? And Joab took Amasa by the beard with the right hand to kiss him. 10  But Amasa took no heed to the sword that was in Joab’s hand: so he smote him therewith in the fifth rib, and shed out his bowels to the ground, and struck him not again; and he died. So Joab and Abishai his brother pursued after Sheba the son of Bichri.


45  And as soon as he was come, he goeth straightway to him, and saith, Master, master; and kissed him.


This was the signal. Judas called him Master.


46  And they laid their hands on him, and took him. 47  And one of them that stood by drew a sword, and smote a servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear.


Jesus heals him as related in Luke 22:51.


48  And Jesus answered and said unto them, Are ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and with staves to take me? 49  I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and ye took me not: but the scriptures must be fulfilled. 50  And they all forsook him, and fled.


Zechariah 13:7 ¶  Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones.


51  And there followed him a certain young man, having a linen cloth cast about his naked body; and the young men laid hold on him: 52  And he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked.


Commentators throughout history have tried to guess who this was. I’ve heard things so radical that this was an angel or that this might have been Paul as Saul. But, we don’t know who it was, really. I assume it was the apostle John, the youngest of the twelve.

Mark 14:32-42 comments: Sleepy Christians

32 ¶  And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and he saith to his disciples, Sit ye here, while I shall pray. 33  And he taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy; 34  And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch.


Many times you also will be alone in your service to Christ.


35  And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him.


He prays by Himself and there is no answer from heaven. When was there a time when you prayed and felt that heaven was “so far away” as in the pop song? He asked, if it were possible, that He might not have to endure this in His humanity.


It’s not just death for He is about to take on the sins of the whole world. However, death for His human body was a factor.


Hebrews 5:7  Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; 8  Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;


36  And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.


The essence of successful and correct prayer is to submit to God’s perfect will, no matter how painful it is to us.


37  And he cometh, and findeth them sleeping, and saith unto Peter, Simon, sleepest thou? couldest not thou watch one hour? 38  Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.


Be spiritually alert to keep from falling into temptation. We need to pray before we sin in order to keep from falling into sin.


Job 31:1  I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?


James 1:12  Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. 13 ¶  Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 14  But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15  Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. 16  Do not err, my beloved brethren.


1Corinthians 10:13  There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.


I have failed miserably in all of this. That doesn’t make it not true.


39  And again he went away, and prayed, and spake the same words. 40  And when he returned, he found them asleep again, (for their eyes were heavy,) neither wist they what to answer him. 41  And he cometh the third time, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: it is enough, the hour is come; behold, the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42  Rise up, let us go; lo, he that betrayeth me is at hand.


Christians are often spiritually asleep when evil comes their way. They are easily lulled into slumber about the dangers of  popular media if music or a movie has something good to say about Christ or God. They are easily lulled into a deep sleep if the government talks about things like patriotism and duty. They are easily lulled into a comatose condition about the dangers of heresies like Mormonism if a demagogue on the radio complains loudly about some political figure they dislike all the while slowly drawing them into his heresy. Line upon line, precept upon precept, Satan teaches sleepy Christians how to turn from Christ. Eventually they will let him close enough to devour them.

Jesus is going to confront his betrayer and the arresting agents.

Mark 14:19-31 comments: Is it I?

19  And they began to be sorrowful, and to say unto him one by one, Is it I? and another said, Is it I? 20  And he answered and said unto them, It is one of the twelve, that dippeth with me in the dish. 21  The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! good were it for that man if he had never been born.


Jesus refers to the prophecies such as Isaiah 53 that talk of the Messiah’s suffering and death and then shows that the person who will be responsible for making it happen would have been better never to have been born.


See Matthew 26:22-24.


Judas has agreed and consented to being used to fulfill this prophecy. We choose whom we will serve but we have no control over what happens like we think we do. Once you have chosen evil and sin, it will consume you.


How is that the other disciples don’t know if they are the traitor?  


22  And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body. 23  And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it.


The two Alexandrian manuscripts remove “Jesus” and “eat” from this verse.


Including Judas. So much for closed communion.


Psalm 41:9  Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.


24  And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.

25  Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God.


By erasing “new” from verse 24 the two Alexandrian manuscripts and the modern Bibles they support blur the distinction between the Old and the New Testaments thereby inviting in the legalism and confused doctrine.


Jesus did not say that the bread becomes His body or that the wine became His blood. He said it was His body and blood. He is making an allegorical reference. The wine and bread are in type, His blood and body. They represent His blood and His body. Don’t get confused.

“New wine” can be understood here.


Isaiah 65:8  Thus saith the LORD, As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one saith, Destroy it not; for a blessing is in it: so will I do for my servants’ sakes, that I may not destroy them all.


It is freshly squeezed from the grapes. Here is the “wine of the condemned”.


Amos 2:8  And they lay themselves down upon clothes laid to pledge by every altar, and they drink the wine of the condemned in the house of their god.


Micah 2:11  If a man walking in the spirit and falsehood do lie, saying, I will prophesy unto thee of wine and of strong drink; he shall even be the prophet of this people.


26  And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.


I am imagining that these will be from the Psalms, this hymn He is singing with His disciples.


27  And Jesus saith unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.


The two Alexandrian manuscripts delete “because of me this night.”


Zechariah 13:7  Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones.


28  But after that I am risen, I will go before you into Galilee. 29  But Peter said unto him, Although all shall be offended, yet will not I.


Jesus tells them right up front that He will rise from the dead but Peter isn’t listening to that. He’s still back on the “offended” part.


Peter was sincere but, like me, and everyone else, found it impossible to live up to his words. It is easier to become a martyr in one blaze of glory than it would be to live for Christ day to day, rejecting sin, or to be tortured continually. Richard Wurmbrand, the Pastor who founded Voice of the Martyrs, was tortured by the communist regimes in Eastern Europe for well over a decade.


We dream that we are always the hero but in our day to day lives we fail Christ continually. Christ knows this. That is why we can only have hope by depending upon Christ’s righteousness, not our own.


30  And Jesus saith unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. 31  But he spake the more vehemently, If I should die with thee, I will not deny thee in any wise. Likewise also said they all.


One of the most dedicated Pastor’s I have ever met is a sadist when it comes to women without husbands in his congregation. His son is even worse. I have repeatedly made promises to God about what I would and wouldn’t do and have failed repeatedly because of the weakness of my flesh. Everywhere around us are examples of people who at one time made a bold promise before God and, at some point, denied Christ with their behavior. There was a famous preacher in Jacksonville, Florida who was found to have a sexual perversion abusing children he had practiced for years. Christians fail Christ, and thereby deny Him by their actions every day.


Jesus knows the shallowness of our promises when we say them.

Mark 14:15-18 comments: a furnished room

15  And he will shew you a large upper room furnished and prepared: there make ready for us. 16  And his disciples went forth, and came into the city, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover. 17  And in the evening he cometh with the twelve. 18  And as they sat and did eat, Jesus said, Verily I say unto you, One of you which eateth with me shall betray me.


For those who believed in closed communion then let me just say that Jesus permitted a devil to celebrate the Lord’s Supper with Him (John 6:70). Judas was allowed to be with the disciples. Let every man examine himself.


1Corinthians 11:28  But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.


Notice that this large upper room is furnished and prepared. I am reminded of another place that is being prepared.

John 14:2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.


Among the definition of mansions are a place to live and a furnished apartment inside of a large manor house. In the Father’s house are many of those, like the room the Jewish husband-to-be would build on his father’s house to receive his bride, I was told. The building would stop when the bridegroom’s father told the bridegroom to go get his bride. I can’t verify the truth of this scenario but it is interesting.


We who have trusted Christ are the Temple of the Holy Ghost (1 Corinthians 6:19). We are God’s house in this time. In the House of God that Solomon built there were rooms built around as well.

1Kings 6:5 And against the wall of the house he built chambers round about, against the walls of the house round about, both of the temple and of the oracle: and he made chambers round about:

Friday, June 21, 2013

Mark 14:12-14 comments: a divine appointment

12 ¶  And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the passover, his disciples said unto him, Where wilt thou that we go and prepare that thou mayest eat the passover? 13  And he sendeth forth two of his disciples, and saith unto them, Go ye into the city, and there shall meet you a man bearing a pitcher of water: follow him. 14  And wheresoever he shall go in, say ye to the goodman of the house, The Master saith, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples?

Luke 22:1 Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover….
7 Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed.

Here is a situation that we often don’t think about. God has prepared places and people to assist those who are doing His will that the latter know nothing about. Don’t count it strange or odd when you attempt to do something for Christ and find a stranger who makes your way easier or provides something you need as if he were a part of your plan. He may have been.

As has happened to me, I was delayed at the YMCA front desk once and didn’t get to leave when I wanted to but as I pulled out of the parking lot someone pulled in. His name was Dave and he was going through a rough time. He said he was “lucky” he ran into me. He needed to talk. That morning, Dave received Jesus Christ as his Saviour. The counter person that delayed me may not have known he was part of God’s plan but he was.

Another way of looking at this is that the “goodman of the house” may have also been a follower of Jesus that His disciples knew nothing about. The Bible focuses often narrowly on scenes and people. Unless told so there is no reason to believe that the twelve were the only ones to receive instruction from Jesus. Many followed Jesus.

The final way to look at this is that this person was supernaturally prepared and was expecting the disciples.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Mark 14:1-11 comments: a box of ointment

1 ¶  After two days was the feast of the passover, and of unleavened bread: and the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take him by craft, and put him to death. 2  But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar of the people.

They plan on doing this in secret by deceit and treachery.  This is the definition of “craft” in this context as in Daniel 8:25. In other contexts it is a working skill or occupation as in Acts 18:3; 19:25, 27; Revelation 18:22.

3  And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head.

Mary, Martha, and Lazarus live in Bethany also (John 11:1). This is very expensive ointment, by the way. Christ’s body had to be broken in order for the precious ointment of salvation to be poured over us.

4  And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made?

The complaint was made by Judas, the betrayer.

John 12:4  Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, which should betray him, 5  Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?

Stay away from complainers lest you become one. Leave your church before you become a complainer if there is great controversy there. Either don’t listen or leave. But don’t be a griper.

5  For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her.

Now, to understand how much this was worth, with penny being the singular of pence. Matthew 20 shows that a penny was a day’s wages so that this ointment was nearly a year’s pay! That might be $25,000.00 to $50,000 to some of us. Whatever the case, it’s a lot of money.

6  And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me.
7  For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always.

No matter what programs you have for the poor, you’ll always have them. But don’t try to apply this to now by saying you don’t have to give to the poor because Jesus Christ is not walking the earth now in his physical, visible, earthly ministry. You’ll be going against a lot more doctrine for you that requires you to have a merciful and giving heart for the poor.

Mercy toward the poor is required of God’s people before the Law given to Moses, as evidenced in Job, during the Law as shown in Psalms and the Proverbs, during the Church Age as seen in Romans and Galatians, and in the Tribulation as revealed in James. But, here, in that unique and brief period of time when the God that created the universe walked the earth as a man He counters a flimsy concern from a thief and a traitor who wanted the money so he could steal some.

John 12:6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.

8  She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying.

“She hath done what she could…” Have you and I?

9  Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.

Here is a very clear reason why this scene is in the gospel. Jesus commanded it to be so.

10  And Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went unto the chief priests, to betray him unto them.

Judas is one of the original twelve disciples. The prophecy is there in  the Old Testament, but in the New, his name is provided. Judas decides to betray Christ. Here is one example;

Psalm 41:9  Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.

Alluded to in;

John 13:18 I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me.

11  And when they heard it, they were glad, and promised to give him money. And he sought how he might conveniently betray him.

1Timothy 6:10  For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Mark 13:28-37 comments: Watch!

28 ¶  Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near: 29  So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors. 30  Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done. 31  Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. 32  But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.33  Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is. 34  For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. 35  Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: 36  Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. 37  And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.

The church will be translated before the Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:21). The Jews will once again be restored in God’s eyes after Jesus Christ is revealed to them in that Time of Jacob’s Trouble (Jeremiah 30:7). That is where these events take place.

Jesus is talking to Jews. Jews will see these signs that He has laid out for them in previous passages; wars, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, famines, astronomical disasters, and spiritual warfare like has never been seen on earth. Like a fig tree bearing leaves in the Spring they are signs and warnings. These things will happen very quickly and the generation that sees them will be there at the end.

No one knows when the time will come. No one can predict it. Only God the Father, the very soul, the seat of self-identity and will in the Godhead, knows the hour and the day. He tells them to be on the lookout for Him to return and they will have no idea when that will be except for the signposts, the warnings given.

Christians are told to be looking for Christ’s return to take them out, to move the church from earth to heaven. This is what we are to look for;

Titus 2:11 ¶  For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12  Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; 13  Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; 14  Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

1Corinthians 15:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

1 Thessalonians 4:13 ¶  But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15  For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16  For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17  Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18  Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

Keep looking up.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Mark 13:24-27 comments: the stars of heaven shall fall

24 ¶  But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light. 25  And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. 26  And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. 27  And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.

There are a couple of references to the sun being darkened in the book that deals mostly with the Tribulation, the Book of the Revelation of St. John (Rev. 6:12; 9:2). In the Old Testament there is Joel 2:10; 31; 3:15.  It is, of course, also referenced in the companion verses in Matthew 24, particularly verse 29.

Stars are likened to angels in Rev. 1:20. Does the “stars of heaven” refer to an astronomical disaster or a spiritual one? Could these stars be Satan’s third?

Revelation 12:4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.

In the same chapter in Revelation there is this connection with verse 4.

7  And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,

So, now, if you spiritualize the “stars of heaven” you could be justified in spiritualizing the sun and moon in the verse before it, some would say. They might say that the sun is a reference to God’s goodness and justice not being seen or being blocked and the moon a reference to His church being completely removed, therefore unable to reflect His light. Or, you might just say that these are a reference to astronomical catastrophe, or even both, as many verses in the Bible have been shown to have multiple applications.

And who are the “powers of heaven” to be shaken?

Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Here it is made clear that the next time Christ returns it will not be as a gentle rabbi or teacher, a Nazarene from a humble village, but as the God of Heaven. This is the essence of Christian doctrine, that Jesus Christ was and is God.

I would recommend reading Revelation, chapter 19, for a clear image of Christ’s triumphant return. This is when Jesus Christ, who declared to Pontius Pilate that His kingdom was, at that time, not of this world (John 18:36), will take over the kingdoms of the earth as shown further back in Revelation.

Revelation 11:15  And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.

Verse 27 seems to be a reference to a third translation, this time of the Jews in the Great Tribulation that have believed on Christ. See Revelation 11:12 and note that the phrase “Come up hither (here)” is repeated three times in the Bible; in Proverbs 25:7 for Old Testament saints with the corresponding verse in;

Matthew 27:52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,

In Revelation 4:1 when John is caught up or translated to heaven as representative of the church, and here in 11:12. As Jesus is speaking to beard-wearing, Temple-going, Sabbath-observing, pork-abstaining Jews you would expect Him to mention only their translation. Other evidence of three translations include the reference to Enoch, who, as a type of the church, was translated in Genesis 5:24 but referenced three times in Hebrews 11:5.

Notice that Jesus is referring to all of this in the future so the historicist model of Revelation, that it has happened already through history, is either wrong or can be viewed as correct in type along with the futurist model of Revelation’s events being yet to come as part of the common Biblical practice of multiple applications. This is even more proof of God’s supernatural inspiration in the multi-level application of verses to seemingly unrelated events. It is also dangerous, depending on the spiritual state and relationship with Christ of the interpreter. Be careful. Think through this and pray about it. Draw conclusions you are led to by the Holy Spirit your teacher, and your faithful reading of God’s words in His Book.