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JESUS

The Roll

CHAPTER 13

"And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire: and he had in his hand a little book open...." (Rev. 10:1-2) What is this little book? The root word in the Greek is a book or roll. The Bible writers wrote upon scrolls or rolls. This is what the angel had in His hand. Now the prophet was instructed to do something with this roll. "And the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again, and said, Go and take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth. And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey. And I took the little book out of the angel's hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter. And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings." (Rev. 10:8-11)

Prophesy Again

This is that last thing to happen before the mystery of God is finished. Why must these people of the sixth trumpet prophesy again? The Old Testament scriptures give us insight into this mystery. When Ezekiel was told to eat the roll, he was given an experience that would sustain him as he prophesied against the rebellious house of Israel. The roll that Ezekiel was to eat was sweet as honey also. "Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, eat that thou findest; eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel. So I opened my mouth, and he caused me to eat that roll. And he said unto me, Son of man, cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee. Then did I eat it; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness. And he said unto me, Son of man, go, get thee unto the house of Israel, and speak with my words unto them. ...Behold, I have made thy face strong against their faces, and thy forehead strong against their foreheads. As an adamant harder than flint have I made thy forehead: fear them not, neither be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house." (Eze. 3:1-4 & 8,9)

The roll was to be eaten so that the prophet could prophesy against a rebellious house. It would make him as flint. There is another thing significant concerning this roll. It was not a roll of nice, encouraging things. Ezekiel describes the nature of the messages of this roll. "And when I looked, behold, a hand was sent unto me; and, lo, a roll of a book was therein, and he spread it before me; and it was written within and without: and there was written therein lamentations, and mourning, and woe." (Eze. 2:9-10)

Israel could not be made to repent, so a roll was given the prophet with woes to pronounce. Certainly, this was not good news to the rebellious house.

The Roll Brings Judgment

In past ages the Lord has sent rolls to bring judgment to the land. The prophet Zechariah also saw this phenomenon. "Then I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a flying roll. And he said unto me, What seest thou? And I answered, I see a flying roll; the length thereof is twenty cubits, and the breadth thereof ten cubits. Then said he unto me, This is the curse that goeth forth over the face of the whole earth: for every one that stealeth shall be cut off as on this side according to it; and every one that sweareth shall be cut off as on that side according to it. I will bring it forth, saith the Lord of hosts, and it shall enter into the house of the thief, and into the house of him that sweareth falsely by my name: and it shall remain in the midst of his house, and shall consume it with the timber thereof and the stones thereof." (Zech. 5:1-5)

The roll, here described, is the curse that goes into all the earth. Interestingly enough, the Revelation describes the roll that the prophet was to eat. God's people, today, are to eat of this roll. It is sweet to the taste and bitter in the stomach. This roll contains the message of the Lord to the people. God's servants must prophesy again and that prophecy is the curse that will curse the whole earth. Chapter 11 of the Revelation now describes what this looks like.

"And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will. ...And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud...." (Rev. 11:3-6, 12)

The Man Child

In the twelfth chapter of Revelation, this is expressed in somewhat different language. "And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars. ...And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne." (Rev. 12:1,5) Here was a man child who was born of the woman [church]. This man child would rule the nations with a rod of iron. What is this ruling with a rod? How does one rule with a rod?

The Scriptures are not silent in this regard. "Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel." (Ps. 2:9) "And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God." (Rev. 19:15) Ruling with a rod of iron is the activity of judgment. It is recompensing to the nations the fruit of their doing. It is dashing in pieces the false prophet and all who follow him. This "man child" is born of the church and goes forth to rule the nations with a rod.

He Shall Rule With A Rod

Jesus said, "...He that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father." (Rev. 2:26-27) Jesus said that those who are faithful to the end will rule the nations with a rod. That is--they shall break to shivers the vessels. Other scriptures give the same picture. "Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion: for I will make thine horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass: and thou shalt beat in pieces many people...." (Micah 4:13)

First of all, we saw the revelation of the character of the apostate church. The church refused to see her abominations revealed by the trumpets, so the two witnesses brought plagues of judgment into the earth. The woman gave birth to a man child and he [the believer] rules the nations with a rod of iron—that is—breaks in pieces many people.

The fourteenth chapter of Revelation further illuminates the process of this time of judgment. Chapter 14 gives the clear, distinct description of the messages of the people of God in their order. Message one is the everlasting gospel. This is the gift of the very life of Christ. The second message declares that professed Christianity has fallen from her spiritual state. Thirdly, the people of God warn the nations against having the mind of the beast and taking his thoughts as their thoughts. This is described as having his mark on the forehead. In verse 15, the people of God are instructed to thrust in the sickle and harvest the earth. But there is another harvest mentioned. "And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs." (Rev. 14:19-20)

When the nations reject the truth of Christ, when everything has been said that can be said, the angel [messenger of God] is instructed to pour out his vial upon the earth. The Lord warns the earth with His trumpets. Secondly, He warns the earth with the judgments of His witnesses. When this fails to bring them to repentance, God instructs His angels [messengers] to pour out the seven last plagues upon the nations. Revelation 16 describes the seven last plagues which bring no repentance from the rebel. Although these plagues may very well reveal themselves in literal phenomena, the spiritual truth of these plagues may be far more revealing.

Pour Out The Vial

The angels [messengers] of God are instructed to go and pour out their vials of the wrath of God. If the plagues were alone literal, what great thing could happen that has not already happened? Many who travel on the lines of transportation are killed instantly when there are mechanical failures or there are bombs planted on board. Many thousands died in a nuclear holocaust in World War II. For those who doubt that it was all that terrible, they might just ask those who were there. Diseases and starvation are worldwide. A recent earthquake killed 55,000 people in a few moments. Recently, one million souls perished in a war in the middle east. These harbingers of something larger are fearful in themselves. The plagues, as described in Revelation 16, have already transpired to some degree in various parts of the earth. Many, today, suffer awful pain and discomfort from diseases that are a constant scourge. "Red tides" and severe pollution have, in some areas, killed all life in the sensitive coastal waters off shore in areas around the world.

During time of war it seemed that blood truly ran in the rivers and filled the sea. There is no question that we will see a great increase in the horror and violence of our earth. It will become unlivable as it already has in some places throughout the globe. But I would like us to look at even deeper realities of these plagues. Let us look at the spiritual causes of these physical manifestations.

The first plague, poured out of the vial by the messenger of God, is described as a sore. Webster defines one type of sore as: "Filled with sadness, grief, or sorrow; distressed with a sore heart, distressingly intense or bitter, provocative of irritation or disagreeable feelings." The people of God pronounce, "It is done." They leave the sanctuary of intercession. Those in the world begin to experience their hopeless state and there is a great sore. They gnash their teeth for the pain of it. As they see their hopes dashed, their fear increases. As the testimony of God's people rings in their ears, "Too late, too late," the sore becomes noisome and grievous.

The second angel poured his vial upon the sea [multitudes]. The multitudes became as blood. Every soul died who was in the sea [multitudes]. There was no life left. No one of the earth had any more entreaties by the Holy Spirit because they now heard the message, "We are done; it is too late." Great pain filled them and there was no life. "The violence done to me and to my flesh be upon Babylon, shall the inhabitant of Zion say; and my blood upon the inhabitants of Chaldea shall Jerusalem say." (Jer. 51:35) This is also expressed this way. "For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy." (Rev. 16:6) The seas [people] become blood since that is what their life has been about.

"And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood." (Rev. 16:4) They have rejected the message of righteousness from the angels [people] of God and now their pulpits are death. In the trumpets, there were announcements of these happenings which brought warnings so that some might escape the judgments. But now the announcements are irreversible realities. "He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still." (Rev. 22:11) Now the people are not warned. Instead, judgment is pronounced as irreversible. Their doom is fixed.

Rivers of waters and fountains have been used to describe places where life-giving forces were present. Since there is no life left, these water sources [pulpits] are blood. They only bring death. Since the people of God have not refused light, their waters remain pure.

"And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory." (Rev. 16:8-9) "Thy crowned are as the locusts, and thy captains as the great grasshoppers, which camp in the hedges in the cold day, but when the sun ariseth they flee away, and their place is not known where they are." (Nahum 3:17)

Locusts, described here, do not like the sun. The wicked do not like the heat of the sun either. The brighter it shines, the more they blaspheme. Jesus describes this very thing. "As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels [workers], and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father...." (Matt. 13:40-43) Here, described, is the removing of the wicked from the church. When the church is purified, the righteous shine as the sun. Their heat is increased and their glory burns the wicked with a great heat. They hate the children of light and pour contempt upon those who are God in the flesh. By this they blaspheme God. We can see this symbolism used in prophecy. "And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire." (Rev. 10:1)

Their Kingdom Is Full Of Darkness

Because these rebels hated the righteousness seen in these messengers of light, the next plague is pronounced upon them. "And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain." (Rev. 16:10) When light is rejected, there is only darkness remaining. The kingdom of the beast will only disseminate lies and smoke. Darkness will leave the camp of the wicked in total obscurity. Nothing remains which can uplift or encourage.

Because this kingdom hated the sun, and finally had nothing in it which could encourage, the next plague quite naturally transpired. "And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared." (Rev. 16:12) The river Euphrates was the great source of protection and provision for Babylon. This prophecy reveals that when all light is gone, the people who upheld and supported Babylon will be dried up. "Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge: and their honourable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst." (Isaiah 5:13) The river [people] of Babylon [apostate religion] will be dried up because there is no more light there. The people no longer protect the gates of Babylon. They see the futility of their endeavor. They know that all things are finished. They know there is nothing to defend. Babylon falls and is divided. "And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon." (Rev. 16:13-16)

The Battle Of Armageddon

This battle is the battle of the mountain of God. This is the last great conflict not between the east and the west but between the forces of righteousness and the forces of evil. Here is the effort to destroy the angels of light from off the earth. Here stand the people of God in faith against the host of darkness who come to destroy. We have laid bare their kingdom and they hope to end our light forever. In all this the final plague is announced. The wicked want the people of God dead. The people of God know that all things are finished. Out into the air goes the final decree, "It is done." "And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done. And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great." (Rev. 16:17-18) Here described is the largest earthquake ever recorded. The Great Controversy describes this spiritual earthquake. "The people see that they have been deluded. They accuse one another of having led them to destruction; but all unite in heaping their bitterest condemnation upon the ministers. Unfaithful pastors have prophesied smooth things; they have led their hearers to make void the law of God and to persecute those who would keep it holy. Now, in their despair, these teachers confess before the world their work of deception. The multitudes are filled with fury. 'We are lost!' they cry, 'and you are the cause of our ruin;' and they turn upon the false shepherds. The very ones that once admired them most will pronounce the most dreadful curses upon them. The very hands that once crowned them with laurels, will be raised for their destruction. The swords which were to slay God's people are now employed to destroy their enemies. Everywhere there is strife and bloodshed." (GC 655-656)

The Greatest Earthquake Ever

The earth has never experienced such an earthquake as will soon take place. The whole earth will be at each other in one final revolt. Babylon comes into remembrance and is brought down with the engines that she has created to destroy others. "And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found." Those who were standing as mountains of defense are now brought down by their own people. When the message of warning was first given, the people called to the mountains to fall on them and hide them from the face of Him that sits on the throne. They did not want to hear the message of righteousness that proceeded out of the throne. They did not want to see the face of God's messengers. They wanted their mountains [worldly churches and their ministers] to hide them from the message of righteousness. "Fall on us." "Cover us up." "Hide us from the face of righteousness." Now they bring down these mountains and not one stands.

The Great Hail

"And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great." (Rev. 16:21) This last great plague finishes off the lie. "Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies...." (Isaiah 28:17) Now and forever the refuge of lies [the mountains] has been swept away. These men who stored lies for the people to eat are finally no more. And this was all done at the hands of their followers. Their own lies brought down their own kingdoms.

Yes, it will be seen that all these things were just and true. God's judgments were right and fair, for He gave them the machine of their own creation. While probation lingers, the warnings are given with trumpets sounding. When the trumpet is ignored, the messengers of judgment are sent. When these are killed, the vials of destruction are poured out upon the earth by God's messengers and they complete the work of judgment.

Even at this time, God's angels are finishing the work of giving the trumpet sound. Soon their work will be to show the earth its final judgment, and ultimately to announce the seven last plagues. The messengers will pour out their vials upon the earth and all things will be finished. There is a little time left. Behold, He standeth at the door.

Our work is a two-edged sword. Some are saved and some are destroyed by the same message. There are those who would kill the Christian by their scorn, reproach and derision, thinking they do God service. "O God, the heathen are come into thine inheritance; thy holy temple have they defiled; they have laid Jerusalem on heaps. The dead bodies of thy servants have they given to be meat unto the fowls of the heaven, the flesh of thy saints unto the beasts of the earth. Their blood have they shed like water round about Jerusalem; and there was none to bury them. We are become a reproach to our neighbors, a scorn and derision to them that are round about us." (Ps. 79:1-4)

The evil messengers are hurrying everywhere seeking to kill whomever they can kill. Because they have killed these souls, they will soon only have blood to drink. These messengers (the apostate mountain), who have brought down the faith of multitudes, will finally be the objects of attack by the very ones they worked so hard to deceive.

This is also a mystery. The ones who have loved a lie blame those who have lied to them. "The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?" (Jer. 5:31) The end thereof is that the false prophet and those who listened to him will both come to ruin together. The roll which will go into all the earth will set things right.

From our earliest years we have been taught by our parents that if we do certain things, certain things will happen to us. The world has been warned time and again. Our whole lives have consisted of warnings and invitations from God. Our circumstances have taught us valuable lessons. Every opportunity has been provided for humanity to see the results of their choices. Why is it that the great majority of men and women pay no heed? Why is it that men cling to their useless forms and superstitions? There is only one answer. The multitudes want it that way. The time is come when the roll will fulfill its appointed task.


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