Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):
The Return of YEHOVAH God and His Messiah!
Down through the centuries most Christians have read -- and re-read -- the verses in Revelation 19 thinking they portray the figure of a glorified Messiah returning in great power to rule this earth. Some, pointing to Revelation 14:14, claim this verse refers to a "pre-Advent" return of the Messiah to gather the elect and return to Heaven with them to await the prophesied return to earth presented in Revelation 19. Are these scenarios true? Does Revelation 19 really depict the return of the Messiah, or has the so-called "Christian" world been led astray once again by the master deceiver, Satan? It will, without a doubt, shock many to realize that the great climatic, awe-inspiring, mind-blowing event of the end of man's rule on this earth will be THE RETURN OF YEHOVAH GOD'S SHEKINAH GLORY to rule this earth from a newly constructed Temple in Jerusalem!
by John D. Keyser
Several years ago I wrote an article entitled, The "Second Coming" of YEHOVAH, in which I explained that Revelation 19 pictures the return of YEHOVAH God to this earth, while Revelation 14 pictures the return of Yeshua the Messiah. This is not altogether true. While it is a fact that Revelation 19 does indeed picture the return of YEHOVAH God, Revelation 14 does not strictly refer to the return of Yeshua as such -- but to the work he does immediately upon his return.
At the time of writing I didn't clearly see that the actual return of Yeshua is fully pictured in Revelation 10:1-7. This article will correct that misconception and provide a fascinating, new understanding of the book of Revelation as revealed to the apostle John in the latter part of the first century.
The Shekinah Glory
In Revelation 21:22, the phrase "glory of God" in The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures is rendered "God's SH'KHINAH" in the Jewish New Testament -- notice!
"I saw no temple in the city, for ADONAI [YEHOVAH], God of heaven's armies, is its Temple, as is the Lamb [Christ]. The city has no need for the sun or the moon to shine on it, because GOD'S SH'KHINAH gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb" (Jewish New Testament).
This is very important. The word "Shekinah" (Sh'khinah) was coined from verbal cognates (related words) in the Bible which describe the "presence" of YEHOVAH in a certain locality. The verbal cognates are used extensively to describe the "Shekinah" appearances. The word "Shekinah" itself is not found in the Biblical texts, but the concept clearly is. The word most certainly is derived from "shakan," and whoever first used the word "Shekinah" coined it as a substantive (noun form) from the verbal forms used to describe the "abiding, dwelling, or habitation" of the physical manifestations of YEHOVAH God described in Exodus 24:16, 40:35 and Numbers 9:17-18 -- and various other places where "shakan" is used.
Note that the word is also used to describe the mystical "Shekinah" presence in the Tabernacle and later in the first and second Temples. The word "mishkan," (mshkn), a derivation of "shakan" (shkn), is often translated "tabernacle." The Hebrew for tabernacle is more often simply "ohel," 'ohel, or tent. "Mishkan" means "dwelling place" -- that is, THE "DWELLING PLACE" OF "HIM WHO DWELLS" OR "SHEKINAH."
The Hebrew verb "shakan" (shkn) simply means to take up residence for a long period of time in a neighborhood. The distinction between this word and "yashav" -- which is also translated "dwell" -- is as follows: You can use the word "yashav" to mean an individual doing the dwelling WITHOUT reference to others or to duration, while "shakan" means a PROTRACTED DWELLING IN THE MIDST OF A NEIGHBORHOOD OR A GROUP OF PEOPLE. The primary meaning is to reside and continue as a member of the community. Of course, when it refers to YEHOVAH God, it takes on an added dimension that is obvious from the scriptures.
When verbal forms are translated as nouns, the word sometimes means "habitat." Grammatically (in Hebrew), when verbal forms are translated as nouns, they are called "substantives." Technically, therefore, "Shekinah" is a substantive rather than a noun.
Some people object that the word "Shekinah," (shknh), is not to be found in the Old Testament in its noun form, and that it describes a concept that is not scriptural. It is also claimed that the word was coined by Post-Biblical Rabbinic scholars. While it is admitted that the Rabbinic concept of YEHOVAH being some sort of hovering non-personal force is an unacceptable extension of the meaning, the CONCEPT OF A PHYSICAL MANIFESTATION of YEHOVAH's localized dwelling on this planet IS, nonetheless, scriptural. I have chosen to use the word "Shekinah" (shknh) to name this "presence" and to better develop a concept I will get to later on in the article. Also, this meaning is in general use among many Christians -- even though they are generally ignorant of the origin of the word.
In the Encyclopedia Judaica the "Shekinah" is defined as "the Divine Presence, the numinous immanence of God in the world,...a revelation of the holy in the midst of the profane...." (Volume 14, pp. 1349-1351).
The Encyclopedia goes on to say --
"One of the more prominent images associated with the Shekhinah is that of light. Thus on the verse, '...the earth did shine with His glory' (Ezekiel 43:2), the rabbis remark, 'This is the face of the Shekhinah' (Avot diRabbi Natan [18b-19a]; see also Chullin 59b-60a). Both the angels in heaven and the righteous in
"According to Saadiah Gaon [882-942 C.E.], the Shekhinah is identical with kevod ha-Shem ('the glory of God'), which served as an INTERMEDIARY BETWEEN GOD AND MAN during the prophetic experience. He suggests that the 'glory of God' is the Biblical term, and Shekhinah the Talmudic term for the created splendor of light which ACTS AS AN INTERMEDIARY BETWEEN GOD AND MAN, and which sometimes TAKES ON HUMAN FORM. Thus when Moses asked to see the glory of God, HE WAS SHOWN THE SHEKHINAH, and when the prophets in their visions saw God in HUMAN LIKENESS, what they actually saw WAS NOT GOD HIMSELF BUT THE SHEKHINAH (see Saadiah's interpretation of Ezekiel 1:26, I Kings 22:19, and Daniel 7:9 in Book of Beliefs and Opinions 2:10)."
Throughout the Bible YEHOVAH God speaks of His desire for an intimate relationship with His people. The "Shekinah," therefore, refers to the presence of YEHOVAH that was -- but is not now -- physically manifested in the time-space continuum. It could be seen. The presence was A VEHICLE OF THE PERSON OF YEHOVAH IN THE THREE DIMENSIONAL WORLD. Solomon's understanding that YEHOVAH God cannot actually be limited to Temples on earth because of His eternal nature can be seen in I Kings 8:27 --
"But will God really dwell ["yashav"] on earth? Even the heavens to their utmost reaches cannot contain You, how much less this House [Temple] that I have built!"
This omniscient, eternal presence of YEHOVAH (that Solomon recognized) is the HEAVENLY, but not the earthly, "Shekinah." Even though the INFINITE spiritual presence is, and was, COINCIDENTAL with the PHYSICALLY DISCERNIBLE "SHEKINAH" -- it was DISTINGUISHED from the physical even in Mosaic times. Right now the "Shekinah" is only manifested in the infinite way, but in the near future it will be manifested in the PHYSICAL FORM once again when IT RETURNS TO THIS EARTH to reside in the new Temple in Jerusalem!
During the time of Moses the added PHYSICAL "Shekinah" presence was evidence of the REAL which is omnipresent and unseen. The presence was NOT YEHOVAH (YHVH) -- it was a PHYSICAL MANIFESTATION of the actual presence of YEHOVAH among His people that was physically disturbing. Be aware that it is to be distinguished from the "angel of the LORD." The "Shekinah" was first evident when the Israelites set out from Succoth in their escape from Egypt. There it appeared as a cloudy pillar in the day and a fiery pillar by night -- note Exodus 13:20:
"They set out from Succoth, and encamped at Ethan, at the edge of the wilderness. The LORD [YEHOVAH, YHVH] went before them in a PILLAR OF CLOUD by day, to guide them along the way, and in a PILLAR OF FIRE by night, to give them light that they might travel day and night. The PILLAR OF CLOUD by day and the PILLAR OF FIRE by night did not depart from before the people."
The physical "Shekinah" was also evident at the crossing of the Red Sea --
"At the morning watch, the LORD [YEHOVAH, YHVH] looked down upon the Egyptian army from a PILLAR OF FIRE AND CLOUD, and threw the Egyptian army into panic. He locked the wheels of their chariots so that they moved forward with difficulty. And the Egyptians said, 'Let us flee from the Israelites, for the LORD [YEHOVAH] is fighting for them against Egypt'" (Exodus 14:24-25).
The Israelites were led by the "Shekinah" for forty years, after which the "holy presence" of the omniscient God inhabited the Tabernacle and the land of Israel. After this time the "Shekinah" was not always physically manifested -- as we read in Numbers 35:34 --
"You shall not defile the land in which you live, in which I Myself abide ['shakan'], for I the LORD [YEHOVAH] abide ['shakan'] among the Israelite people."
When Moses and the Israelites finished erecting the Tabernacle, the "Shekinah" of YEHOVAH God filled it:
"When Moses had finished the work, the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the PRESENCE OF THE LORD [YEHOVAH] filled the Tabernacle. Moses could not enter the Tent of Meeting, because the cloud had settled upon it and the PRESENCE OF THE LORD filled the Tabernacle. When the cloud lifted from the Tabernacle, the Israelites would set out, on their various journeys; but if the cloud did not lift, they would not set out until such time as it did lift. For over the Tabernacle a cloud of the LORD rested by day, and the fire would appear in it by night, in the view of all the house of Israel throughout their journeys" (Exodus 40:33-38).
Whenever that presence was physically manifested, it was frightening to those who experienced it:
"When Moses had ascended the mountain, the cloud covered the mountain. The PRESENCE OF THE LORD ['Cavod YHVH'] abode ['shakan'] on Mount Sinai, and the cloud hid it for six days. On the seventh day He called to Moses from the midst of the cloud. Now the PRESENCE OF THE LORD ['Cavod YHVH'] appeared in the sight of the Israelites as a consuming fire on the top of the mountain" (Exodus 24:15-17).
Writes Fred P. Miller: "Earlier, the seventy elders had gone up into the cloud and actually saw the 'Shekinah' glory, and they were so afraid they asked Moses never to take them again. As far as they were concerned, they saw God! You can only imagine their hair on end and their wide-eyed appearance as they came down from the mountain exclaiming 'We saw God! It was terrible!'" (Zechariah and Jewish Renewal).
A few days earlier, when the Ten Commandments were given, the appearance of the physical presence of YEHOVAH on Mount Sinai is described as fire and cloud and thick darkness. The Psalms contain a description of this event calling it a "Shekinah" presence --
"Why do you fume with envy, you mountains of many peaks? This is the mountain [Sinai] which God desires to dwell ['shakan'] in; yes, the LORD [YEHOVAH] will dwell in it forever. The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of thousands; the LORD is among them as in Sinai, in the Holy Place. You have ascended on high, you have led captivity captive; you have received gifts among men, even among the rebellious, that the LORD GOD might dwell ['shakan'] there" (Psalm 68:16-18).
Later, as we have seen, the physical "Shekinah" presence of YEHOVAH took up residence in the newly completed Tabernacle and was apparent to the whole nation of Israel.
There are a number of other occasions when the direct intervention of YEHOVAH was manifest in a "Shekinah" presence to Moses. At the time of the setting up of the Tabernacle (before it was finished) YEHOVAH God spoke to Moses out of the cloud and Moses realized the "Shekinah" was a VEHICLE and NOT YEHOVAH Himself. As we see in Exodus 33, Moses asked for more -- to actually "see" YEHOVAH -- and YEHOVAH allowed him to see A LARGER PORTION of His PHYSICAL "Shekinah" presence. Notice --
"And the LORD [YEHOVAH] said to Moses, 'I will also do this thing that you have asked; for you have truly gained My favor and I have singled you out by name.' He [Moses] said, 'Oh, let me behold Your Presence!' [He was speaking to YEHOVAH's voice coming from the 'Shekinah.'] And He [YEHOVAH] answered, 'I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim before you the name LORD [YEHOVAH, YHVH], and the grace that I grant and the compassion that I show. But,' He said, 'you cannot see My face, for men may not see Me and live.'"
After Israel entered the Promised Land, YEHOVAH's presence was manifested spiritually in the Tabernacle -- but not often in a physical manner. YEHOVAH's actual presence was always accepted by the Israelites as being in the Tabernacle (and later in the Temple), but was not always physically confirmed by the visible "Shekinah." However, there were occasional renewals of miraculous appearances of the "Shekinah" -- such as when the Temple of Solomon was dedicated. There was an initial appearance in a vision when the LORD (YEHOVAH) promised that He would "shakan" or dwell in the house that Solomon was building. Notice I Kings 6:11-13:
"Then the word of the LORD [YEHOVAH] came to Solomon, 'With regard to this House [Temple] you are building -- if you follow My laws and observe My rules and faithfully keep My commandments, I will fulfill for you the promise that I gave to your father David: I will abide ['shakan'] among the children of Israel, and I will never forsake My people Israel.'"
Later, when the construction of the Temple was finished and the day of dedication was at hand, the holy "Shekinah" manifested itself in a very physical way --
"When the priests came out of the sanctuary -- for the cloud ['Shekinah'] had filled the House of the LORD and the priests were not able to remain and perform the services because of the cloud ['Shekinah'], for the Presence of the LORD filled the House of the LORD -- then Solomon declared: 'The LORD has chosen to abide ["shaken"] in a thick cloud: I have now built for you a stately House, a place where You may dwell ["shakan"] forever'" (I Kings 8:10-13).
This same incident is recorded in II Chronicles 5:13. The "Shekinah" would no longer be associated with the Tabernacle but was to be transferred to the Temple. As a result, this physical manifestation was necessary to that generation because the Law of Moses was being amended at this point and YEHOVAH God was showing His approval of the amendment to His legal system by the manifestation of the "Shekinah."
Whenever YEHOVAH makes a "forever" promise in the Bible, there are certain conditions connected to it -- and this case is no different. When He said He would dwell ("shakan") in the Temple "forever," there were conditions to this promise. Therefore, at the destruction of the First Temple, He did not allow His "Shekinah" presence to stay in the Holy of Holies (inner sanctuary of the Temple) after a certain level of corruption had taken place. What is surprising is that He stayed in the Temple for so long! Evidently, His love for His people is such that He endures far more than any human judge would deem possible. Even with all the corruption that occurred during the last days of Jehoiakim and Jehoiachin (and most of the reign of Zedekiah). Ezekiel's vision of the DEPARTURE OF YEHOVAH'S "SHEKINAH" from the Temple and city did not occur until after the beginning of the final siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar and his army.
Ezekiel's description of YEHOVAH's "Shekinah" is more detailed but very similar to what the 70 elders saw on Mount Sinai, as recorded in Exodus 24. Writes Fred Miller --
"Ezekiel's description of the 'Shekinah' in chapter one of his prophecy is physically exciting just to read. Imagine actually seeing it! It is described as fire enfolding itself borne by cherubic creatures whose appearance pulsated with undulating light, themselves borne by gyroscopic double wheels. Lightning came out of the midst of the fire surrounded by clear sapphire where a man-like person on a throne sat in an electric eye. If electricity is anachronistic, the word is nonetheless 'chashmal' which is the modern Hebrew word for electricity. The Septuagint has 'electrum' and so does the Vulgate! Whatever 'chashmal' and 'electrum' meant to the ancients who used these words it can only be said that 'eyn chashmal' in Hebrew and 'opsin electrou' in Greek and 'speciem electri' found in Latin in Eze. 1:27 is not 'amber' as in the English translation. The word 'color' does not appear in the text" (Zechariah and Jewish Renewal).
There are other descriptions of the nature of YEHOVAH's "Shekinah" that Ezekiel saw LEAVING a then desolate Temple. The building was still standing but no longer had YEHOVAH's Glory before it was destroyed!
The Departure and Return of the "Shekinah"
It should be noted that Ezekiel saw both the DEPARTURE of the "Shekinah" and the RETURN in two distinct visions separated in time by a number of years. The visions that he saw -- of events that happened after his own death -- describe exactly the same "Shekinah" which he saw first in chapter ten and then afterwards leave the Temple, also in chapter ten. As we shall note, at the beginning of chapter ten the "Shekinah" was still in the Temple --
"The glory of the LORD ['Cavod YHVH'] went up from the cherub, and stood over the threshold of the house [Temple]; and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness of the LORD'S glory ['Cavod YHVH']" (Ezekiel 10:4).
However, YEHOVAH was making preparations to REMOVE the "Shekinah" from the Temple and then from the very city itself:
"And the cherubim lifted up their wings, and mounted up from the earth in my sight; when they went out, the wheels also were beside them, and every one stood at the door of the EAST GATE of the LORD'S house; and the glory of the God of Israel was over them above" (Ezekiel 10:19).
Then, in Ezekiel 11:23, we read of the actual DEPARTURE of YEHOVAH's "Shekinah" from the MOUNT OF OLIVES --
"And the glory of the LORD ['Cavod YHVH'] went up from the midst of the city, and stood on the mountain which is on the east side of the city [Mount of Olives]."
From the Mount of Olives the "Shekinah" departed from this earth to later return to the Temple that was rebuilt under Zerubbabel, but before the arrival of Ezra and Nehemiah. The "Shekinah" remained in the Temple from this time through the enlarging of the Temple complex by Herod, and his subsequent improvements. This is borne out by a little known but awe-inspiring incident that occurred when Herod tried to tap into the tremendous wealth of King David's tomb in order to finance his grandiose plans to rebuild the Temple platform in the City of David.
Writes Gary Arvidson: "So, how was Herod able to finance this and other projects? Toward the beginning of his great work 'all their sacred treasures were exhausted.' We are told in this same context that people around the world sent an abundance of money for the Temple project. But there were other funds to be raised. And Herod found ANOTHER SOURCE!" (In Search of King David's Tomb, part 1, p. 27).
Arvidson goes on to say: "What we are going to find is that Herod tapped David's sepulchre as a major resource for his great works...and as a consequence gained access to David's sepulchre to finance and decorate his empire. What had been amassed for the First Temple and laid aside by Solomon, was finally used for the Second Temple period" (ibid.).
The first-century A.D. Jewish historian and priest Josephus, records that "at this time he [Herod] opened the sepulchre by night, and went into it, and endeavoured that it should not be known in the city, but took only his faithful friends with him" (Antiquities14.7.1).
Then begins the most unusual account of all. Herod was determined to explore the multi-room structure of David's tomb to the limits. Suddenly, a great miracle occurred --
"However, he [Herod] had a great desire to make a more diligent search, and to go further in, even as far as the very bodies of David and Solomon; WHERE TWO OF HIS GUARDS WERE SLAIN BY A FLAME that burst out upon those that went in, as the report was. So he was terribly affrighted, and went out, and built a propitiatory monument of that fright he had been in; and this of white stone, at the mouth of the sepulchre..." (Antiquities 14.7.1).
The physical "Shekinah" put the fear of YEHOVAH God in Herod and his surviving men and, frankly, scared the "hell" out of them!
YEHOVAH's "Shekinah" remained in the Temple all through the life and death of Yeshua the Messiah and up to the year 66 A.D. -- when it was seen leaving the Temple and alighting on the Mount of Olives. Notice!
"There is also another reason why Christians in the first century were very interested in the Mount of Olives. This is because it was believed that the Shekinah Glory of God which supposedly dwelt inside the Holy of Holies at the Temple left the sanctuary and went to the Mount of Olives and hovered over that spot at the time of the Roman/Jewish War which ended in A.D. 70. The fact that the Shekinah Glory left the old Temple and migrated to the top of the Mount of Olives was an important event to Eusebius [church historian and scholar A.D. 260?-340?]" (Secrets of Golgotha, by Ernest L. Martin. 1988: ASK Publications, Alhambra, CA, p. 83).
In Eusebius' book Proof of the Gospel we find this passage --
"Believers in Christ congregate from all parts of the world, not as of old time because of the glory of Jerusalem, nor that they may worship in the ancient Temple at Jerusalem, but...that they may worship at the Mount of Olives opposite to the city, whither the glory [the Shekinah Glory] of the LORD [YEHOVAH, YHVH] migrated when it left the former city" (Book VI, Chapter 18 (288)).
According to Eusebius the "Shekinah" Glory left the Temple and hovered over the Mount of Olives during "the siege of Jerusalem" (66 A.D. to 70). However, Eusebius was not the only observer who mentioned that the "Shekinah" Glory left the Temple before the destruction of the Temple and hovered over the Mount of Olives. A Jewish rabbi named Jonathan -- who was an eyewitness to the destruction of Jerusalem -- said the "Shekinah" Glory left the Temple and for three and a half years,
"abode on the MOUNT OF OLIVES hoping that Israel would repent, but they did not; while a Bet Kol [a supernatural voice from heaven] issued forth announcing, Return, O backsliding children [Jer. 3:14]. Return unto Me, and I will return unto you [Mal. 3:7], when they did not repent, it said, I WILL RETURN TO MY PLACE [Hosea 5:15] (Midrash Rabbah, Lamentations 2:11)" (Secrets of Golgotha, by Ernest L. Martin. 84).
There was yet another writer who recorded the fact of the "Shekinah" presence of YEHOVAH God moving from the Temple in Jerusalem just before the war with the Romans. Josephus mentioned that in the Spring of 66 A.D. some astonishing events took place within the Temple. He recorded three miracles associated with YEHOVAH's "Shekinah" and the Temple -- and each one showed clearly that the "Shekinah" was departing from the Holy of Holies. In Wars VI, 290 he stated "that a GREAT LIGHT shone over the altar for thirty minutes at 3 o'clock in the morning (a week before Passover in A.D. 66) and then it DEPARTED." He said the sacred scribes interpreted this sign as a bad omen for the Temple. It was like the Shekinah Glory moving away from the Tabernacle in the wilderness as a sign to disassemble the Tabernacle and transport it to another location" (ibid.).
Josephus goes on to say that "a few days later (during Passover itself) the enormous brass gates of Nicanor, requiring twenty men to open and close them, opened at midnight of their own accord" (Wars VI, 293-295). This was also interpreted as showing a desolation coming upon the Temple. And then, on Pentecost, the final sign was given which definitely showed that the Shekinah Glory was departing the Temple as the other signs indicated (ibid.):
"Moreover, at the festival which is called Pentecost, the priests on entering the inner court of the Temple at nightfall, as their custom was in accomplishment of their ministrations, stated that they first became aware of a commotion and a roar, and after that the voice of a great multitude saying 'We are departing hence'" (Wars VI, 299).
When we couple Josephus' information with that of Rabbi Jonathan (also an eyewitness) we can see that the "Shekinah" went directly to the Mount of Olives and remained over the top of the mountain for 3 and 1/2 years -- from late Spring in 66 A.D to about December of 69 A.D, some eight months before the Temple was destroyed by the Romans. It then went back to heaven and had not returned to earth up to the time he wrote.
These miraculous events had much more significance to the early Christians than may meet the eye today. Eusebius, as we have just seen, mentioned the importance of this removal of the Shekinah glory. It was clearly a sign that YEHOVAH's physical presence had departed from the Temple on the western hill of Jerusalem and had retreated to the MOUNT OF OLIVES on the EAST as the new place of His divine residence. This event of the "Shekinah" glory leaving the Temple and residing on the Mount of Olives became highly significant to the early Christians because this is the mountain where YEHOVAH's holy "Shekinah" will RETURN in the near future!
The Millennial Temple and the Golden Age to Come
We find recorded in Zechariah 2 -- where YEHOVAH God says: "Sing, Jerusalem, and rejoice! For I have come to live [shakan] among you, says the LORD [YEHOVAH, YHVH]. AT THAT TIME [of the end] many nations will be converted to the LORD [YEHOVAH, YHVH], and they too shall be my people; I will live [shakan] among them all. Then you will know it was the LORD of Hosts [YEHOVAH, YHVH] who sent me to you....Be silent, all mankind before the LORD [YEHOVAH, YHVH]; FOR HE [IN THE FORM OF THE 'SHEKINAH'] HAS COME TO EARTH FROM HEAVEN, FROM HIS HOLY HOME" (10-13).
The Golden Age to come, which Zechariah said was to follow the return of the "Shekinah" at the end of the age, describes the city and surrounding areas as being at peace in an age when people can grow old in a secure environment. To those who lived in Jerusalem, in the hearing of Zechariah, that would seem like a miracle -- so great was the desolation of the place. But of the conditions that would follow the RETURN of the "Shekinah" to the Temple at the end of the age, Zechariah records:
"Thus said the LORD [YEHOVAH, YHVH]: I have RETURNED TO ZION, and I will dwell [shakan] in Jerusalem....Thus said the LORD [YEHOVAH, YHVH] of hosts: There shall yet be old men and women in the squares of Jerusalem, each with a staff in hand because of their great age. And the squares of the city shall be crowded with boys and girls playing in the squares. Thus said the LORD [YEHOVAH, YHVH] of Hosts: Though it will seem impossible to the remnant of this people IN THOSE DAYS, shall it also be impossible to Me? -- declares the LORD [YEHOVAH, YHVH] of Hosts" (Zechariah 8:4-6).
The Millennial Temple that YEHOVAH God is returning to is to be built and engineered by YESHUA THE MESSIAH! Notice --
"Thus says the LORD of hosts, saying: Behold, the Man whose name is the BRANCH! From his place he shall branch out, and he shall BUILD THE TEMPLE OF THE LORD [YEHOVAH]; yes, he shall BUILD THE TEMPLE OF THE LORD. He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and RULE ON HIS THRONE, so he shall be a PRIEST on his throne, and the counsel of peace shall be BETWEEN THEM BOTH [YEHOVAH God and the Messiah]" (Zechariah 6:12-13, NKJV).
"'Behold, the days are coming,' says the LORD, that I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; a King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell safely; now this is His name by which He will be called: the Lord our righteousness."
Isaiah records the same time in chapter 11 -- "There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a BRANCH shall grow out of his roots. The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD" (verses 1-2).
Once again, as during Solomon's Temple and Herod's Temple, the SHEKINAH GLORY of YEHOVAH God will be present in the Millennial Temple! Here is what the Bible records of the Shekinah Glory of YEHOVAH God in Solomon's Temple after it was dedicated:
"The fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt-offering and the sacrifices; and the GLORY OF THE LORD filled the house. And the priests could not enter into the house of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD had filled the LORD'S house" (2 Chronicles 7:1, 2).
The Kingdom of YEHOVAH God can only be established when the Shekinah Glory of YEHOVAH God fills the Holy Place in the Millennial Temple. The Millennium will witness the reception of the Messiah by the nation of Israel, and it will also witness the RETURN of the Shekinah Glory to the Holy of Holies to rule over the entire earth!
Although there are many similarities to Solomon's Temple -- there are also vast differences in the Millennial Temple. For example, there is no reference to, or need for the Ark of the Covenant -- for the TRUE ARK will be in their midst! However, while the Ark itself will no longer be needed, the Bible indicates that the Mercy Seat that sat atop the Ark will be returned to the Millennial Temple from its hiding place in Ethiopia. (For more information read our article, The Mystery of the Ethiopian Eunuch!). The same holds true for the high priest -- for the Messiah himself will hold this esteemed office!
Of this glorious time, when YEHOVAH God Eternal will dwell with the nation of Israel, Ezekiel records:
"And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children's children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever.
"Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them [the New Covenant]; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And the heathen shall know that I the LORD do sanctify Israel when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore" (Ezekiel 37:25-28).
Now what about the New Testament -- does the New Testament record the RETURN of YEHOVAH's Glory or "Shekinah" to this earth and to a NEW Temple in Jerusalem? Indeed it does, and in a passage that Christians (in their confusion) have taken to refer to the return of Yeshua the Messiah for more than 1,700 years!! Incredible as it may seem, Satan has blinded millions over the centuries to the TRUE identity of the Person pictured in Revelation 19 --
"Then I heard what sounded like the roar of a huge crowd, like the sound of rushing waters, like loud peals of thunder, saying, 'Halleluyah! ADONAI [YEHOVAH, YHVH], GOD OF HEAVEN'S ARMIES, HAS BEGUN HIS REIGN!'....Then I saw heaven opened, and there before me was a white horse. Sitting on it was the one called FAITHFUL AND TRUE, and it is in righteousness that he passes judgment and goes to battle. His eyes were like a fiery flame, and on his head were MANY ROYAL CROWNS. And he had a name written which no one knew but himself. He was wearing a robe that had been soaked in blood, and the name by which he is called is, 'THE WORD OF GOD.' The ARMIES OF HEAVEN, clothed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. And out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down nations -- 'He will rule them with a staff of iron.' It is he who treads the winepress from which flows the wine of the furious rage of ADONAI [YEHOVAH, YHVH], GOD OF HEAVEN'S ARMIES. And on his robe and on his thigh he has a name written: 'KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS'" (Verses 6, 11-16, Jewish New Testament).
YEHOVAH God the Father's future universal role on earth in the form of the physical "Shekinah" presence is a major theme of the Old Testament. Verse 6 above inaugurates YEHOVAH God the Father's Kingly reign on earth -- although its establishment requires several stages: first is the RETURN OF THE MESSIAH in Revelation 10:1-7, the separation of YEHOVAH's true people (Revelation 11:1-2), the wedding feast of the Lamb (the Messiah) in Revelation 19:7-9, climaxed by the RETURN OF YEHOVAH'S SHEKINAH PRESENCE (Revelation 19:11-15); then Satan must be chained (Revelation 20:1-3, 7-10) -- and only then does the Messiah actually rule as king over Israel and priest to his Father who resides in the new Third Temple in the form of the "Shekinah" presence (Revelation 20:4).
In order for the separation of YEHOVAH's people and wedding feast of the Lamb (Yeshua) to take place, the Messiah must FIRST return to this earth -- NOT afterwards as would be the case if Revelation 19 referred to the Messiah's return!
In Titus 2:13 we are encouraged "to expect the blessed fulfillment of our CERTAIN HOPE, WHICH IS THE APPEARING OF THE SH'KHINAH OF OUR GREAT GOD AND the appearing of our Deliverer, Yeshua the Messiah" (Jewish New Testament). Verses 11-16 of Revelation 19 describe this eagerly awaited (by the early Christians) "Second Coming" of YEHOVAH God's holy "Shekinah" -- NOT the Second Coming of the Messiah as millions have blindly assumed!
The phrase "Faithful and True" in verse 11 has been correctly capitalized in all the translations I have seen, and denotes the ULTIMATE in faithfulness and truth -- which, of course, is YEHOVAH (YHVH) the Father. In Jeremiah 10:10 we read: "But the LORD [YEHOVAH, YHVH] is the true God [more correctly, "God of truth" -- Elohim emet]; He is the living God and the everlasting King. At His wrath the earth will tremble, and the nations will not be able to abide His indignation." The "God of truth" in the above verse is not primarily the God who reveals eternal truths, but the God who can be trusted to keep His covenant. The RETURN of the "Shekinah" Glory will be the faithful REAPPEARANCE of Him who has already appeared among men -- this time He comes to bring the covenant promises to their final and full consummation.
In verses 12-13 of Revelation 19 we read -- "His eyes were like a fiery flame, and on His head were MANY [PLURAL] ROYAL CROWNS. And He had a name written which no one knew but Himself. He was wearing a robe that had been soaked in blood, and the name by which He is called is, 'THE WORD OF GOD.'"
The phrase "The Word of God" is thought by many to refer to Yeshua the Messiah -- and they try to link this phrase to the "logos" of John 1:1. However, there is absolutely NO justification for doing this. In fact, NOWHERE in the Bible does this phrase refer to the Messiah! In most cases in the New Testament, "the word of God" refers to the message or words revealed through the writings of the Old Testament or Torah. However, and note this, there are a few passages in the Bible that indicate a DIRECT communication from YEHOVAH God, through the "Shekinah," took place. Notice I Kings 12:22 --
"But THE WORD OF GOD came to Shemaiah, the man of God: 'Say to King Rehoboam son of Solomon of Judah, and to all the House of Judah and Benjamin and the rest of the people: Thus said the LORD [YEHOVAH, YHVH]: You shall not set out to make war on your kinsmen the Israelites. Let every man return to his home, for this thing has beenbrought about by Me.' They heeded THE WORD OF THE LORD [YEHOVAH] and turned back, in accordance with THE WORD OF THE LORD [YEHOVAH, YHVH]" (The Tanakh).
Here "the word of God" is clearly identified with "the word of the LORD [YEHOVAH]," showing that "the word of God" is the SAME as "the word of the LORD" -- and is certainly indicated to be the "Shekinah" of the LORD [YEHOVAH] communicating with Shemaiah.
Similarly, in I Chronicles 17, we read: "But that same night THE WORD OF GOD came to Nathan: 'Go and say to My servant David: Thus said the LORD [YEHOVAH], YHVH]: You are not the one to build a house [Temple] for Me to dwell [shakan] in'" (verses 3-4).
Once again, we find here that the phrase "THE WORD OF GOD" is associated with YEHOVAH and indicates that He is communicating to Nathan the prophet by means of His holy "Shekinah." In the New Testament we read where "the word of God" came to John the Baptist --
"Annas and Caiaphas being high priests, THE WORD OF GOD came to John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. And he went into all the region around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, as is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, saying:
"'The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
Prepare the way of the LORD [YEHOVAH, YHVH],
Make His paths straight.'"
Here we see that John the Baptist receives a direct communication from YEHOVAH God which tells him to "prepare the way of the LORD [YEHOVAH] -- thus linking the "word of God" with the One called YEHOVAH or YHVH.
In Revelation 19:13 the phrase "The Word of God" is capitalized in the original Greek, thereby indicating the Rider of the white horse to be the physical "Shekinah" representation of YEHOVAH -- a component of the same "force" that directly communicated with Shemaiah, Nathan and John the Baptist.
In the first verses of the gospel of John in the New Testament we can find confirmation that the "Word of God" is, in fact, the Shekinah Glory of YEHOVAH. Since the publication of the King James Version of the Bible in 1611 this, and almost all versions that have stemmed from it, have attached the masculine gender to the Greek concept of the "Logos" to explain the presence of the Shekinah Glory at the Creation. Unfortunately, due to this gender change, and the modern Christian's lack of understanding of the Logos concept in the environment of first-century Greek philosophy, most have blindly taken the "Word" to mean a pre-existence of Yeshua the Messiah! Nothing could be further from the truth!
Any one of the eight English translations of the Bible prior to 1611 (the Tyndale Bible (1535), the Matthew Bible (1535), the Taverner Bible (1539), the Great (Cranmer's) Bible (1539), the Whittingham Bible (1557), the Geneva Bible (1560) and Bishop's Bible (1568)) assign no gender to the "Word" and simply call it "it," such as in John 1:3: "By IT all things were made. Without IT nothing was made." The Coverdale Bible (1550) has "THE SAME" rather than "it." This seems like a strange way of referring to Yeshua the Messiah!
This is further reinforced by the Aramaic version of the Bible -- where the first verses of the gospel of John leave little doubt that the "Word" refers to YEHOVAH God's Shekinah Glory. Notice!
Verse 1: In the beginning [of creation] there was the MANIFESTATION; and that MANIFESTATION was with God [YEHOVAH]; and God [YEHOVAH] was [the embodiment of] that MANIFESTATION.
Verse 2: This [the MANIFESTATION] was in the beginning with God [YEHOVAH].
Verse 3: Everything was within his [more correctly, IT'S] power, [otherwise] nothing would ever exist.
Verse 4: Through him [IT, the MANIFESTATION] was life and life became the spark of humanity.
Verse 5: And that [ensuing] fire [the MANIFESTATION] lights the darkness and darkness does not overshadow it [the MANIFESTATION].
This article has shown that the Shekinah Glory was the manifestation of YEHOVAH God the Father. If we replace the word "Manifestation" with the words "Shekinah Glory" in these verses of John, then we clearly see that "The Word of God" in Revelation 19:13 is none other than YEHOVAH'S Shekinah Glory!
Verse 1: In the beginning [of creation] there was the SHEKINAH GLORY; and that SHEKINAH GLORY was with God [YEHOVAH]; and God [YEHOVAH] was [the embodiment of] that SHEKINAH GLORY.
Verse 2: This [the SHEKINAH GLORY] was in the beginning with God [YEHOVAH].
Verse 3: Everything was within his [IT'S -- the SHEKINAH GLORY'S] power, [otherwise] nothing would ever exist.
Verse 4: Through him [IT, the SHEKINAH GLORY] was life and life became the spark of humanity.
Verse 5: And that [ensuing] fire [the SHEKINAH GLORY] lights the darkness and darkness does not overshadow it [the SHEKINAH GLORY].
Of course, this is not to say that the translation of the book of John in the King James Version -- and all those that are based on it -- are wrong. It just means that we don't understand the idiom of John's day and we get all confused with the Greek concept of the Logos that John uses to get his point across. John nowhere indicates that this "Word" or "Logos" is anything else but the Shekinah Glory of YEHOVAH God!
Finally, in Revelation 1:2, "the Word of God" is clearly separated from the Messiah -- notice!
"This is the revelation which God gave to Yeshua the Messiah, so that he could show his servants what must happen very soon. He communicated it by sending his angel to his servant Yochanan [John], who bore witness to THE WORD OF GOD AND to the testimony of Yeshua the Messiah...."
The next verse, verse 14 of Revelation 19, states that "the ARMIES OF HEAVEN, clothed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him [Adonai, YEHOVAH -- see verse 6] on white horses." Throughout the New Testament the "armies of heaven" are ALWAYS associated with, and are commanded by, ADONAI -- who, according to the plain words of the apostle James is THE FATHER! "With it [the tongue] we bless ADONAI, THE FATHER; and with it we curse people, who were made in the image of God" (James 3:9 -- Jewish New Testament). Further, in Ephesians 1:3, this is echoed when Paul says -- "Praised be ADONAI, FATHER OF OUR LORD YESHUA THE MESSIAH..."
In Revelation 1:8 we find written: "I am the 'A' and the 'Z' ('Alpha' and the 'Omega')," says ADONAI [YEHOVAH, YHVH], God of HEAVEN'S ARMIES, the One [ADONAI] who is, who was AND WHO IS COMING." Again, in Revelation 4:8: "Holy, holy, holy is ADONAI, GOD OF HEAVEN'S ARMIES, the One who was, who is and who IS COMING." Also, in Revelation 11:16 -- "We thank you, ADONAI [YEHOVAH, YHVH], GOD OF HEAVEN'S ARMIES, the One who is and was, that you have taken your power [in the form of the "Shekinah"] AND HAVE BEGUN TO RULE [ON EARTH AFTER HIS COMING IN REVELATION 19].
I don't wish to seem redundant, but the One on the white horse leading the armies of heaven to this earth is YEHOVAH THE FATHER in His "Shekinah" form -- NOT Yeshua the Messiah!
Moving now to verse 16 of Revelation 19, we read -- "And on his robe and on his thigh he has a name written: 'KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.'" These titles denote the ultimate in praise that can be bestowed and, therefore, must be titles of YEHOVAH the Father. Throughout the New Testament Yeshua indicates that the Father was far GREATER than he -- see John 14:28 for example. Also, if we examine the original Greek for "King of kings and Lord of lords" we will quickly discover that the first "King" and the first "Lord" in this title both start with upper case letters -- showing Him to be the ULTIMATE "King" of all kings and the ULTIMATE "Lord" of all lords.
Some argue that the Lamb (Yeshua) depicted in Revelation 17:14 also has these titles and must, as a result, be the Rider of the horse represented in Revelation 19. But, once again, if we closely examine the original Greek we will first of all find that the title is REVERSED from that in Revelation 19 and reads instead "lord of lords and king of kings." Then we will notice that the first "lord" and the first "king" of the title are lower case in the Greek -- showing that Yeshua was (as pictured here in Revelation 17:14) NOT the ultimate "lord of lords" or the ultimate "king of kings." He is a LOWER "lord of lords" and "king of kings" -- which entirely agrees with the Messiah's statement that his Father was greater than he.
The title in Revelation 19:16 expresses YEHOVAH (YHVH) THE FATHER'S rulership over all creation and all the kings and lords therein. It is equivalent to the phrase "King of kings of kings" which the Jewish Siddur (prayer book) applies to YHVH in this song which introduces the Sabbath in many Jewish homes --
"Welcome, ministering angels, messengers from the Most High, from the King of kings of kings, the HOLY ONE, blessed be he. Come in peace....bless me with peace,...go in peace...." (Jewish New Testament Commentary, p. 840).
When we add all these proofs up, the clear and astounding TRUTH is that Revelation 19 pictures the glorious RETURN OF YEHOVAH GOD'S "SHEKINAH" PRESENCE to this earth to rule, with the Messiah directly under Him, from the new Third Temple in Jerusalem. May YEHOVAH hasten that day!
The Second Coming of the Messiah
So, what of the return of the Messiah? If Revelation 19 depicts the "Shekinah" returning to this earth, do the Scriptures elsewhere record the future event of the Messiah's Second Coming? They surely do -- in Revelation 10:1-7. Notice!
"Then I saw another mighty angel [messenger] coming down from heaven. HE WAS DRESSED IN A CLOUD, with a RAINBOW over his head; his face was LIKE THE SUN, his legs like columns of fire; and he had a little scroll lying open in his hand. He planted his right foot ON THE SEA and his left foot ON THE LAND, and shouted in a voice as loud as THE ROAR OF A LION; and when he shouted, seven thunderclaps sounded with voices that spoke. When the seven thunders spoke, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven say,
"Seal up the things the seven thunders said,
do not write them down!
"Then the angel [messenger] I saw standing on the sea and on the land lifted his right hand toward heaven and swore by the One who lives forever and ever [YEHOVAH God], who created heaven and what is in it, earth and what is in it, and the sea and what is in it: THERE WILL BE NO MORE DELAY; on the contrary, in the days of the sound from the seventh angel when he sounds his shofar [trumpet], THE HIDDEN PLAN OF GOD WILL BE BROUGHT TO COMPLETION, the Good News as he proclaimed it to his servants the prophets."
This passage pictures the return of Christ -- NOT Revelation 19! The book of Acts in the New Testament verifies this, if we care to read it carefully:
"And after he [the Messiah] said these things, while they [the apostles] were looking on, he was lifted up and A CLOUD CAUGHT HIM UP FROM THEIR VISION. And as they were gazing into the sky while he was on his way, also, look! two men in white garments stood alongside them, and they said: 'Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus who was received up from you into the sky WILL COME THUS IN THE SAME MANNER AS YOU HAVE BEHELD HIM GOING INTO THE SKY'" (The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures).
Now HOW did the Messiah go up into the sky? Was he on a white horse? No! Did he have the armies of heaven with him? No! Was his robe soaked in blood and was he wearing MANY crowns? No! The simple truth is that "a cloud caught him up from their [the Apostles] vision" as he was lifted up into the sky, and Revelation 10:1-7 shows him RETURNING THE EXACT SAME WAY with one difference -- this time he is wearing the crown [singular] of rulership!
Daniel 7:13 records the Messiah receiving this crown of rulership -- notice:
"I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man [the Messiah], coming WITH THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN! He came to the Ancient of Days [YEHOVAH, YHVH], and they brought him near before Him. Then to him [the Messiah] was given DOMINION AND GLORY AND A KINGDOM [singular -- ISRAEL], that all peoples, nations, and languages [of Israel] should serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion [over Israel], which shall not pass away, and his kingdom [over Israel] the one which shall not be destroyed."
This vision belongs to the period of the sixth trumpet -- as appears by two facts:
1) The ending of the period of the sixth trumpet is clearly marked by the words of Chapter 11:14, "The second woe has passed; see, the third woe is coming quickly."
2) The Angel of this vision speaks of "the days of the sound from the seventh angel when he sounds his shofar [trumpet]," as being future at that time, which makes it certain that this vision was in the era of the sixth trumpet. It is important to understand this.
This mighty Angel is a symbolic representation of Yeshua the Messiah himself. For everything that is said to characterize this Angel could only pertain to the Messiah. Not only that, but the very actions of the Angel belong only to the Messiah. Notes Dr. Hengstenberg: "The planting of the right foot on the sea, and the other on the earth, as certainly belongs to Christ alone, as it is to him and not to any angel that God has put in subjection the world to come (Hebrews 2:5)."
Author Vitringa asks: "Does the hope of God's people [Israel] rest on the oath of a created angel? Is it the part of a created angel to swear that the words of prophecy and promise shall be fulfilled? Surely if their hope is to stand unmoved, it can be sustained only by the faithfulness and oath of that very person [the Messiah] to whose nature failure is not an incident [due to the fact of his death and resurrection]."
The appearance of this Angel, the stand that he takes -- and particularly the words of the oath that he swears -- testify greatly to the surpassing importance of what is to happen in the days of the voice of the seventh angel.
In his hand was a "little scroll lying open." These words suggest a comparison with the relatively great scroll of Revelation 5:1 -- which was completely sealed. This leads to the conclusion that the "little scroll" contains some special part of the counsel of YEHOVAH God, which the Messiah, the one who is invested with supreme authority over Israel, is responsible to carry into effect. This agrees with two facts in the immediate context:
1) John, having eaten the little scroll, is told that he must prophesy again.
2) There now comes into view another sphere or scenario, different from that of the preceding visions, namely the scenario that is symbolized by "the temple of God."
The other scenes had to do with the world and the nations at large; and in viewing them we might wonder how things fare with the people of YEHOVAH God in those times? This question is answered in Revelation 11:1-13, which clearly shows, upon comparison of the concluding verses of Chapter 9 ("and the rest of the men repented not") with verse 13 of Chapter 11, ("and the rest were affrighted and gave glory to the God of heaven"), that the two scenes are parallel in time -- differing only regarding the theaters in which they take place.
The first item of description of this mighty Angel is that he is "dressed in a cloud." "He is," records the book Then is Finished the Mystery of God, "here described as being 'arrayed with a cloud,' wrapped in a cloud. Cloud is a feature associated with the glorified Jesus Christ, as in Revelation 1:7, where John writes of him, saying: 'Look! He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, and those who pierced him; and all the tribes of the earth will beat themselves in grief because of him. Yes, Amen.' (Compare Daniel 7:13; Matthew 24:30, 31; 1 Thessalonians 4:17)" (1969: p. 249).
We must be very careful to distinguish between verses 7 and 8 of Revelation 1. Verse 7 (above) clearly refers to the Messiah, while verse 8 refers to YEHOVAH God the Father -- as we discussed earlier in this article.
The very next descriptive item in the vision is such as to remove all fear from those who are truly his. For we read he had "a rainbow over his head." Notes Then is Finished the Mystery of God --
"The rainbow that was 'upon his head' suggests that he is a special representative of Jehovah, 'the God of peace,' for the apostle John had seen in his earlier vision of the enthroned Jehovah God that 'round about the throne there is a rainbow like an emerald in appearance.' (Revelation 4:3; compare Ezekiel 1:28). After the...flood of the prophet Noah's day the rainbow that Jehovah God caused to appear in the cloud betokened peace after storm and that His covenant toward mankind is peaceful, barring another inundation of the...earth with water. (Genesis 9:8-17; Isaiah 54:9) How appropriate, then, for a rainbow to be upon the head of the 'strong angel' who pictures Jesus Christ, inasmuch as he was foretold to become 'Prince of Peace' (Isaiah 9:6, 7)" (1969: pps. 249-250).
Also, this rainbow on the Messiah's head represents the faithful witness of YEHOVAH's covenant mercy and protection to His own -- the saints -- in the business YEHOVAH is about to undertake through the Messiah. That business -- clearly defined in Revelation 11 -- is that of the separation of those who are really YEHOVAH's own from the great mass of professing Israelites.
Continues Then is Finished the Mystery of God --
"As regards this 'strong angel,' the fact that 'his face was as the sun' corresponds with what the apostle John says concerning his earlier vision of Jesus Christ at the divine temple, that 'his countenance was as the sun when it shines in its power.' (Revelation 1:16) This may have reminded John of when he saw Jesus transfigured on a 'lofty mountain' in the Middle East, that 'his face shone as the sun, and his outer garments became brilliant as the light.' (Matthew 17:1, 2)....Here in this vision of the 'strong angel' we see a happy combination of cloud, sun and rainbow" (1969: p. 250).
The planting of the feet, which are likened to pillars of fire, one on the sea (the masses of people and nations of Israel in general), and one on the earth, signifies the worldwide scope of his work in recovering the "lost" sons of Israel and returning them to the Promised Land -- and also the immovable steadfastness of his purpose to accomplish it. We find, in Then is Finished the Mystery of God, the following --
"So John could say of the 'strong angel' that 'his feet were as fiery pillars.' The angel's feet were glorious as well as his head, just as in the vision of Revelation 1:14, 15. What ever would come under his power, control and authority would come, as it were, under glorious feet, sturdy like pillars, no more to be tampered with than fire is...The fish of the sea and the living creatures on the dry land, including the birds who roost at the earth, are now all [Israelites] subject to the resurrected, glorified heavenly Jesus Christ. (Hebrews 2:5-9; Psalm 8:4-8)" (1969: pps. 250-251).
It is further said of the angel that he "shouted in a voice as loud as the roar of a lion;" and that "when he shouted, seven thunderclaps sounded with voices that spoke." This recalls the fact that the Messiah was called "the lion that is of the tribe of Judah" (Revelation 5:5) -- the glorified Messiah now clothed with kingly power in the heavens, awaiting his appearance on this earth.
John Ritenbaugh summarizes this in "Seven Thunders" from the--
"Who is the 'angel' holding this book in his hand, who stands on the sea and on the land? It is none other than Jesus Christ. The symbolism of verse 1 proves it cannot be anyone else.
"I saw still another mighty angel coming down from heaven, clothed with a cloud.  When he cried out, seven thunders uttered their voices."
In verses 5 through 7 Yeshua the Messiah swears by his Father YEHOVAH God, and thereby assuring the apostle John and all fellow Israelite-Christians down till our time today, that there will be no further delay on YEHOVAH's part.
The original word here translated "delay" is the Greek word khronos, which simply means "time" in an indefinite sense, so that the Authorized or King James Version Bible of 1611 rendered the phrase: "There should be time no longer." This does not, of course, mean that time, which figures as a "fourth dimension" in Albert Einstein's relativity theory, would be no more. Rather, it means that there should be no further grant of time, in other words -- no more "delay" regarding the matter involved.
Why did this reference to "delay" come up for comment by the Messiah in this vision? It was in answer to the question, raised by the martyred Christian souls after the Lamb (the Messiah) opened the fifth seal of YEHOVAH's scroll: "They cried out in a loud voice, 'Sovereign Ruler, HaKadosh, the True One, how long will it be before you judge the people living on earth and avenge our blood?'" (Revelation 6:9, 10).
Without a doubt the apostle John saw the likeness in many respects between this vision and that of the prophet Daniel of the sixth century B.C., who wrote: "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, and swore by Him [YEHOVAH God] 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" (Daniel 12:7).
The features as noted about this "angel" in the vision of Revelation 10 combine to clearly indicate that he represents or stands for the glorified Yeshua the Messiah returning to this earth to take up the reigns of government of the nation of Israel and to prepare the way for the return of his Father YEHOVAH God in His Shekinah form -- as recorded by John in Revelation 19.
What About Revelation 14?
At the beginning of this article I stated that I originally believed Revelation 14 referred to the return of the Messiah. With the new understanding that Revelation 10:1-7 in fact pictures the return of the Messiah -- what about Revelation 14?
"Then I looked, and there before me was a WHITE CLOUD. Sitting on the cloud was some one like a Son of Man with a GOLD CROWN on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. Another angel came out of the Temple and shouted to the one sitting on the cloud, 'Start using your sickle to reap, because the time to reap has come -- the earth's harvest is ripe!' The one sitting on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested" (Revelation 14:14-16).
"John's description of the Son of man reminds us of the significance attached to the constellation Bootes which depicts the Coming One, a MAN with a sickle in his hand. The Psalmist refers to this constellation which means 'He Cometh.' 'For he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world [of Israel] in righteousness, and the people [of Israel] with his truth'" (Ps. 96:13).
"Job also refers to this constellation, naming it Arcturus, after the name of one of the bright stars which today bears that name and which also means 'He Cometh.' (Job 9:9.)" (A Study in Revelation, page 216).
The meaning of this vision is very plain in the light of the Messiah's parable of the tares of the field in Matthew 13:24-30. Notice:
"Yeshua put before them another parable. 'The Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while people were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, then went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads of grain, the weeds also appeared. The owner's servants came to him and said, "Sir, didn't you sow good seed in your field? Where have the weeds come from?" He answered, "An enemy has done this." The servants asked him, "Then do you want us to go and pull them up?" But he said, "No, because if you pull up the weeds, you might uproot some of the wheat at the same time. Let them both grow together until the harvest; and at harvest-time I will tell the reapers to collect the weeds first and tie them in bundles to be burned, but to gather the wheat into my barn"'" (Matthew 13:24-30).
In Matthew 13:36-43, Yeshua goes on to explain the parable to his disciples --
"Then he left the crowds and went into the house. His talmidim [disciples] approached him and said, 'Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.' He answered, 'The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; the field is the world [of Israel]. As for the good seed, these are the people [of Israel] who belong to the Kingdom; and the weeds are the people [of Israel] who belong to the Evil One [Satan]. The enemy who sows them is the Adversary [Satan], the harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. Just as the weeds are collected and burned up in the fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send forth his angels, and they will collect out of his Kingdom all the things that cause people to sin and all the people who are far from Torah; and they will throw them into the fiery furnace, where people will wail and grind their teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth like the sun in the KINGDOM OF THEIR FATHER. Whoever has ears, let him hear!'"
This parable begins with these words: "The Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field..." This is the Messiah's own picture of the kingdom of heaven as it was to be down to "the end of the age" (verse 39). The event that this parable gives prominence to is Satan's activity in sowing tares or weeds, "the people who belong to the Evil One," among the wheat, "the people who belong to the Kingdom"; and that he is allowed to do so without any hindrance. But what mainly concerns us at this juncture is the harvest:
"...the harvest is at the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. Just as the weeds are collected and burned up in the fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man [see Revelation 14:14] will send forth his angels, and they will collect out of his Kingdom all the things that cause people to sin and all the people [of Israel] who are far from Torah; and they will throw them into the fiery furnace, where people will wail and grind their teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father."
The vision in Revelation 14:14-16 agrees so closely with this description of the harvest of Israel at the end of the age, that it is unnecessary to point out the resemblances! The designation of the Messiah as the "Son of Man" -- which occurs in only one other place in the Book of Revelation (1:13) -- is clearly intended to direct attention to the parable. In the Messiah's explanation of the parable he tells of the separation of the tares or weeds from the wheat just before the reaping takes place.
"The Son of Man," writes Howard B. Rand, "as a reaper of the earth, is pictured by John as thrusting in His sickle to reap, for the harvest is ripe" (A Study in Revelation, page 216) --
"This is a graphic picture of the in-gathering of the 'Firstfruits' of the earth before the vines are cast into the winepress of God's wrath. Is this scene the one to which Malachi refers when he speaks of certain ones that are to be spared? Speaking through this prophet the Lord has said of a few, 'I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.' (Mal. 3:17.) The statement then follows, 'Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not'" (ibid., pps. 216-217).
We have seen that such a work of separation is indicated as taking place just before the blowing of the seventh trumpet (shofar), see Revelation 11:1, 2. The separation is then followed by the reaping of Israel in the vision and the gathering of the wheat into the barn in the parable (Matthew 13:30). In Revelation 14 the separation again appears conspicuously, in that the judgment upon the wicked (the tares of the parable, which are bound in bundles ready to be burned) is shown in a separate vision, that of the vintage and winepress.
That the Son of Man, as seen in this vision, has on his head a GOLDEN CROWN indicates clearly that he is come in the character of king. This agrees with the parable of the nobleman who as to go into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return -- Luke 19:12. The coming of the Son of Man to reap the harvest of Israel can only mean the coming of the Messiah described in 1 Corinthians 15:52 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17.
We now read in Revelation 14:17-19:
"Another angel came out of the Temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. Then out from the altar went yet another angel, who was in charge of the fire; and he called in a loud voice to the one with the sharp sickle, 'Use your sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of grapes from the earth's vine, because they are ripe!' The angel swung his sickle down onto the earth, gathered the earth's grapes and threw them into the great winepress of God's fury. The wine press was trodden outside the city, and blood flowed from the winepress as high as the horses' bridles for two hundred miles!"
The angel who executes this judgment comes out from the altar, and he has power over fire. This brings to mind the vision of Revelation 8:1-5, which occurs immediately after the opening of the seventh seal. There an angel is seen standing at the altar who, after offering up the prayers of the saints, adds incense and takes fire from the altar and casts it upon the earth. Then, in the voices, thunderings, lightnings and earthquake, there were threatenings of judgments about to fall upon the earth. This plainly agrees with the scene now before us, in which the vine of the earth is removed altogether -- root and branch -- and is cast into the "great winepress of God's fury." This scene represents a work of judgment -- thorough and complete.
The winepress is said to be located "outside the city." This can be understood in the light of Revelation 22:15 where, speaking of the heavenly city, it is said, "outside are the homosexuals, those who misuse drugs in connection with the occult, the sexually immoral, murderers, idol-worshippers, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood" (Jewish New Testament). In other words, nothing that is unclean or defiling is to enter into that city.
YEHOVAH God the Father is the treader of the winepress of His wrath. Notice Isaiah 63:1-4:
"Who is this coming from Edom, from Bozrah with His garments stained crimson? Who is this robed in such splendor, marching in His great strength? It is I, announcing vindication, mighty to save. Why are your robes red, and your garments like theirs who tread the winepress? I have trodden the winepress alone, and from My people no one was with Me, and I have stained all My clothing. For the day of vengeance was in My heart, and the year for My redeeming work had come" (The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible).
We are told that when this "great" winepress is trodden, blood flows out of it in a stream of such volume that it rose even to the horses' bridles -- and for a length of two hundred miles. The mention of the horses' bridles connects this scene with Revelation 19:11-16, where YEHOVAH God appears mounted upon a white horse, clothed in a garment dipped in blood; and followed by the armies of heaven, also mounted on white horses.
The Far Greater Hope
For centuries Christians -- and even the Churches of YEHOVAH God -- have been thoroughly confused over the two events pictured in Revelation 10 and 19, and placed their hope and expectations and yearnings on the return of Yeshua the Messiah while relegating YEHOVAH (YHVH) and His return to the dust bin! While the return of the Messiah is not to be minimized -- the FAR GREATER, earthshaking, awesome mind-reeling event is that of the "SHEKINAH" GLORY RETURNING TO THIS EARTH to reside and rule from the Temple in Jerusalem! THIS is the event pictured in Revelation 19! All the prophets of the Old Testament clearly predicted a visible, awesome, literal manifestation of the "Shekinah" Glory of YEHOVAH once again -- this we see in Revelation 19.
Much too often Christians have allowed themselves to hastily read through the texts, all the while ASSUMING that when the prophets write of YEHOVAH Himself acting in decisive ways, they actually refer to His Messiah. How often have you heard preachers and ministers say that "when Jesus returns, his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives." Unfortunately, this is CARELESS AND UNSCHOLARLY exegesis. As you can plainly see, after reading all the texts I have laid out, the prophets ALWAYS maintain a CLEAR DISTINCTION between the DRAMATIC APPEARANCE of the LORD God (YHVH) in Revelation 19 and the coming of the Messiah in Revelation 10:1-7, and his subsequent rule over Israel UNDER YEHOVAH God.
The prophets understood this dramatic, personal intervention of YEHOVAH in history as a RETURN or "Second Coming." We read in Haggai that YEHOVAH declares: "ONCE MORE in a little while, I am going to shake the heavens and the earth, the sea also and the dry land" (2:6). Isaiah clearly yearns for this time to arrive:
"Oh, that You would rend the heavens and COME DOWN, that the mountains might quake at Your [Shekinah] PRESENCE -- as fire kindles the brushwood, as fire causes water to boil -- to make Your name known to Thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at Your Presence! When You did awesome things which we did not expect, YOU DID COME DOWN, the mountains quaked at Thy ['Shekinah'] presence. For from of old they have not heard nor perceived by ear, neither has the eye seen a God besides You, who acts in behalf of the one WHO WAITS FOR HIM" (Isaiah 64:1-4).
Also, in Isaiah 24, the prophet proclaims --
"Behold, YEHOVAH lays the earth waste, devastates it, distorts its surface, and scatters its inhabitants...They raise their voices, they shout for joy. They cry out from the west concerning the majesty of YEHOVAH. Therefore glorify YEHOVAH in the east, the name of YEHOVAH, the God of Israel in the coastlands of the sea...So it will happen IN THAT DAY, that YEHOVAH will punish the host of heaven, on high, and the kings of the earth, ON EARTH...Then the moon will be abashed and the sun ashamed, FOR YEHOVAH OF HOSTS WILL REIGN ON MOUNT ZION AND IN JERUSALEM, and His glory ["Shekinah" presence] will be before His elders...For behold, YEHOVAH IS ABOUT TO COME OUT FROM HIS PLACE to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; and the earth will reveal her bloodshed, and will no longer cover her slain" (Isaiah 24, selected verses).
The prophets were thinking back to the time of Moses and the unprecedented events in Egypt and at Mount Sinai, when YEHOVAH God dramatically judged the nation of Egypt and freed the Israelites from slavery. There, at Mt. Sinai, all Israel experienced the awesome, visible, dramatic, manifestation of the Presence (literally, "face") and GLORY OF YEHOVAH God.
Explains James Tabor, "The Torah is most explicit regarding this unprecedented experience. Nothing like this had ever happened before, or has happened since. YEHOVAH Himself appeared to the people in a fiery cloud-like pillar; they actually heard His voice and saw His Glory (Exodus 19:18-19; 20:18-21; 40:34-38; Numbers 14:14). The very purpose of the Tabernacle (literally, "dwelling place") was to provide a locus for this extraordinary manifestation of YEHOVAH" (The LORD (YHVH) God and His Messiah).
We have seen Ezekiel report that this Presence ("Glory") of YEHOVAH God departed shortly before the Exile. Ezekiel understood this in the most LITERAL way -- actually describing the cloud-like "Shekinah" moving through the Eastern Gate of Jerusalem, up the Mount of Olives, and away (Ezekiel 10:18-19; 11:22-23). In Deuteronomy 31:17 this "departure" is called the "hiding of the Face of YEHOVAH." To fully understand this teaching of Scripture, I have endeavored to show the DISTINCTION between the general presence of God (which is always with His creation) and this VERY SPECIFIC, literal, awesome, visible, manifestation of the Divine Glory or "Shekinah."
In that sense YEHOVAH departed from this planet, and in that sense all the prophets (including John) tell of His return. In other words, they clearly point to and predict a visible, earthshaking, LITERAL, manifestation of the holy "Shekinah" (Glory of YEHOVAH God) once again. For the righteous this will bring great rejoicing, but for all the wicked this will cause terror and the fear of judgment.
I have also tried to point out that the Scriptures show a definite focus on the EAST. On the EAST side of Jerusalem is the Mount of Olives. From this sacred area the holy "Shekinah" (Glory of YEHOVAH) departed, and it is HERE that it will return. This clearly connects to the passage in Zechariah that predicts "on that day His [YEHOVAH God's] feet will stand on the Mount of Olives" (14:4).
This area -- EAST from the Temple in the City of David and including the Mount of Olives -- is evidently the El Bethel (not the northern town of Bethel) where the patriarch Jacob had his vision of the ladder going up to heaven. He identified this place as awesome and sacred, and none other than the portal or "gate of heaven." Evidently Jacob was lying in the City of David area and facing EAST, looking in his dream at the summit of the Mount of Olives (Genesis 28:17; 35:5-8).
YEHOVAH the Father Himself will return to Zion in His Shekinah glory -- acting personally and directly to punish the wicked and rule as King over all nations. This is the day pictured in Revelation 19 -- that we should be waiting for with increasing expectations and excitement. Let's retrieve YEHOVAH GOD from the dust bin and give Him His rightful place in the scheme of things, as well as the greater praise and adoration that is His due -- not forgetting to stay awake for the earlier return of His first-born Son and Servant, Yeshua the Messiah!
Hope of Israel Ministries -- Preparing the Way for the Return of YEHOVAH God and His Messiah!
Hope of Israel Ministries
|Scan with your