Everything was created through him;
nothing—not one thing!—
came into being without him.
What came into existence was Life,
and the Life was Light to live by.
The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness;
the darkness couldn’t put it out.
Let’s get READY to Rumble!
War broke out in Heaven. Michael and his Angels fought the Dragon. The Dragon and his Angels fought back, but were no match for Michael. They were cleared out of Heaven, not a sign of them left. The great Dragon—ancient Serpent, the one called Devil and Satan, the one who led the whole earth astray—thrown out, and all his Angels thrown out with him, thrown down to earth. Then I heard a strong voice out of Heaven saying,
Salvation and power are established!
Kingdom of our God, authority of his Messiah!
The Accuser of our brothers and sisters thrown out,
who accused them day and night before God.
They defeated him through the blood of the Lamb
and the bold word of their witness.
They weren’t in love with themselves;
they were willing to die for Christ.
So rejoice, O Heavens, and all who live there,
but doom to earth and sea,
For the Devil’s come down on you with both feet;
he’s had a great fall;
He’s wild and raging with anger;
he hasn’t much time and he knows it.
As a result, the dragon was enraged at the woman and went away to make war
on the rest of her children—those who keep the commandments of God
and hold fast to the testimony of Jesus.
And the dragon stood waiting on the sand of the seashore.
Victory IN Jesus
The scroll John eats is taken from the hand of the powerful messenger who announces
the fulfillment of all the prophecies. Just as it did for the Old Testament prophet Ezekiel, the scroll represents the message John is required to proclaim;
but first he must take it in and it must become a part of him.
Initially it tastes sweet, but as it settles deep within him, it becomes bitter.
God’s message is always bittersweet.
It is sweet joy for those who turn to God, but bitter sadness for those who do not accept it.
Then I received a measuring rod. It resembled a staff, and I was commanded to take measurements.
A Voice: Get up, and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship in it. 2 However, do not measure the court outside of the temple. Separate that area out because it has been handed over to the nations. They will trample over the holy city for 42 months. 3 I will authorize my two witnesses to prophesy for 1,260 days dressed in sackcloth, the clothes that mourners wear.
4 These two witnesses are the two olive trees and two lampstands standing in front of the Lord of the earth. 5 If anyone wishes to harm the witnesses, fire spews out of the witnesses’ mouths and consumes their foe in flames. Anyone who wishes to harm them is destined to die this way. 6 They have the authority to shut up the sky so that no rain may fall during the time of their prophecies. They also have authority to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with any plague whenever they desire.
The two witnesses bear a striking resemblance to the faithful prophets of Israel and the faithful martyrs of the churches. Together they stand speaking God’s message as the nations rant and rave and trample the holy city. The lampstands, which signify the churches, are not the light, but they welcome the light and present it to the world. The olive tree, even today, is a symbol of Israel. Olive trees supply the oil for the lamps so that they may burn brightly in the darkness. For a season, the two witnesses enjoy God’s protection, but a time is coming when they will fall victim to the nations and then lie silent.
7 On the day they finish their testimony, the beast from the abyss will declare war on them and win victory by killing them. 8 Their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city (which, spiritually speaking, is called Sodom and Egypt) where their Lord was crucified. 9 For three and a half days, representatives of the peoples and ethnicities, languages and nations stare down at their lifeless bodies and refuse them a proper burial. 10 Because these two prophets tormented the earth dwellers by speaking God’s message, the people will rejoice over their dead bodies and celebrate their deaths by exchanging gifts with one another.
11 At the end of the three and a half days, the spirit of life that comes from God entered their corpses, raising them, and they stood again on their feet. Those who looked on were terrified by what they saw. 12 Then they heard a great voice from heaven.
A Voice: Come up here!
Their enemies watched the spectacle as the witnesses ascended into heaven in a cloud.
13 In that same hour, a great earthquake shook the earth causing one-tenth of the city to crumble into dust, and 7,000 people were killed in the earthquake. Then the rest who were left alive, quaking in fear, turned and glorified the God of heaven.
14 The second disaster has passed; watch as the third disaster comes quickly.
19 Know this: my God will also fill every need you have according to His glorious riches in Jesus the Anointed, our Liberating King.
17-18 God-of-the-Angel-Armies said, “They’re mine, all mine. They’ll get special treatment when I go into action. I treat them with the same consideration and kindness that parents give the child who honors them. Once more you’ll see the difference it makes between being a person who does the right thing and one who doesn’t, between serving God and not serving him.”