Signs of the End of the Age
The Powers of the Heavens Are Shaken
Studio Session 87
In the three records of Jesus’ great prophetic message: Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21, Jesus not only speaks of signs in the earth but He speaks of signs in the heavens. These signs indicate things that are happening in the invisible realm. You see the story of man was quite literally presented in the stars because when God established the stars, the constellations of the heavens, He did so with the intent that they be his signboard for nations. It is only recently that humans do not have much of an interest in the stars. Before that, and especially in ancient societies, the message of the stars was critical to the ancients’ understanding of signs and seasons.
For example, in ancient Babylon we know from the book of Daniel that there were astrologers and soothsayers who were regular parts of the king’s court. In ancient Egypt it was the same and even as recent, in human history that is, as Rome, the process of determining the future was to look at the stars and engage in augury. In times that were more recent than those, humans attempted to navigate the uncharted seas by the stars of the heavens. So until all but the most recent of times, the stars of the heavens played a critical role in the understanding of major events in human history.
I believe this was so because even though ancient societies did not have a relationship to the true God, they had their gods. There was still the memory of things that God revealed to ancient man from the days of Adam on down that continued in the families of man: which families found their origins of course from the first man and the first woman. So the knowledge of the stars was critically important to the evolution of thought and understanding in ancient societies. In fact the Romans believed that the stars portended such important things as the death of princes.
Remember the famous line from the play “Julius Caesar,” where in the Elizabethan-era, Shakespeare, being cognizant of how the ancients saw the stars, was said to have put the words in the mouths of one of his characters, and the words from “Julius Caesar,” the play, are, “When beggars die there are no comets seen, but the heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes.” So it was believed that a comet in the sky was an ill omen to princes. The point is that with the coming of modern science, everything seeks a rational explanation and there are many things that do not have a rational explanation, but God—knowing that there would be events that would occur in the heavens that would have unimaginably stunning results for the earth—told us that there would be “signs seen in the heavens above, signs in the sun, the moon and the stars.” (Inserted – actual verse—“ ‘There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea.’” – Luke 21:25)
So let’s look at this. Matthew 24. By the way, these are the words of Jesus, himself. They are even in red letter in your Bible. Matthew 24:29, Jesus says, “ ‘Immediately after the distress of those days “ ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’” Those four things again: the sun will be darkened, the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken. This is an important question. The heavenly bodies will be shaken. What’s that? What does that mean? What is the indication here? What are the bodies in the heavens that will be shaken?
Look at this: this is from the book of Hebrews, the 12 th chapter. It is a quote from the Old Testament. Hebrews 12, the very last verses say the following, (Hebrews 12:25) “See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven?” Did you see that? Let me read it again: “See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks.” In other words, do not ignore the one who is speaking. “If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven?”
So there are warnings that come from the earth but even more dire warnings come from the heavens. Verse 26, “At that time his voice shook the earth,” That is, when He warned from the earth his voice shook the earth. Can you think of any event in human history where men were warned from the earth? How about the flood? One hundred and twenty years, while the ark was being prepared, and no one paid attention. What were the consequences? The world was drowned, except eight. But He says that as bad as that was…and that is just one of the warnings of impending judgments that God gives on the earth.
We’ve just gotten through speaking about signs on the earth and the terrible catastrophes that are coming on the earth, some of which are already happening. But He says that if you think that is something, “If you ignore him who speaks from heaven, who warns from heaven, that’s even worse.” It means that the warnings that are coming from heaven are meant to be much worse than the warnings that come from the earth, and He quotes from the book of Numbers, chapter 24, verse 17 is quoted here in Hebrews 12. “ ‘At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, ‘Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens. The words ‘once more’ indicate the removing of what can be shaken…’” (Inserted – Hebrews 12:26,27a)
In other words He is not just shaking the heavens; He is removing things that can be shaken. From where? From the heavens because that is the subject, that is the venue in question. The removing of what can be shaken, that is: created things, so that what cannot be shaken may remain. So apparently there are created things in the heavens which can be shaken, which will be shaken, and the signs of these things in the heavens that can be shaken and removed from the heavens, the sign that this is happening will appear in the sun, the moon and the stars. Fascinating!
Let me speak that again because sometimes, you see, we think that the only created things in the heavens are the things that are visible such as the planets, the sun, the moon and the stars. But He is telling us that there are other created things in the heavens, which are to be removed from the heavens. The powers of the heavens will be shaken. These things are referred to as “powers of the heavens,” so it is clearly not a reference to inanimate things like planets. It is in the planets, in the configuration of the constellations and in the behavior of the visible heavens—the sun, the moon and the stars—that we will know when the created things that are in the heavens, which are described as “powers that can be shaken,” are being shaken so as to be removed.
So it raises the first question: What are these things if they are not the sun, the moon and the stars? Well begin with this truth: There are three heavens. This is what Paul says when he writes to the Corinthians in II Corinthians, chapter 12, where he says, “I knew a man fourteen years ago who, whether he was in the body or out of the body I do not know, but he was caught up to the third heavens.”(Inserted – actual verse—“I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows—was caught up to paradise. He heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell.” – II Corinthians 12:2-4)
So we know that there are three heavens. Now in each of these heavens, or realms, there are obviously multiple dimensions. We know of at least three of the dimensions in our realm. For example, in the realm of the earth there are at least three dimensions: There is the dimension of height (there is height and depth as one); length and breadth; and width. Now there are other factors that, for example, architects and engineers have to take into consideration such as vector factors, the forces of aging over time, and the scientists tell us now as they look into the realm of the subatomic, that they are discovering many other dimensions. And in fact they claim to some extent that they are discovering the dimensions that are the thin curtains between the realms of the natural and the realms of the supernatural.
Einstein and Enfeld, in the thirties, were theorizing about this. When they were young professors they theorized that if you would move an object beyond the speed of light that it would disappear from measurable quantifications but would not cease to exist. In other words, the universe as we know it is bound by the speed of light because it is what allows us to measure and note the existence of objects in proximity to each other within this realm. But their theory was that if you move an object beyond the speed of light it would not cease to exist but it would simply enter a different realm. Now that may be one of the many dimensions within this realm, these heavens, the heavens that surround this earth, or it may be that we are moving toward that thin veil between the different dimensions such as the second heavens and the highest heavens.
What lies in the second heavens and what lies in the third heavens? If you measure these things from the proximity to earth, the third—or highest—heavens would be the heavens of God where the throne of God is and from where the influence of God, over all that is, emanates. Paul apparently was caught up to the third heavens. Wonderful and incredible things are in the third heavens. We have glimpses into the reality of the third heavens. For example, did you know that there are books in the third heavens that are referred to as the book of truth, or the book of life or the book that records the lives of everyone? These are things plainly spoken in the Scriptures.
For example, in the book of Daniel when Daniel is visited by the archangel Gabriel, Gabriel tells him, “Daniel, I have come to tell you what was written in the book of truth, for you are highly favored.” (Inserted – actual verse—“He instructed me and said to me, ‘Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding. As soon as you began to pray, an answer was given, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed. Therefore, consider the message and understand the vision.” – Daniel 9:22,23) Apparently the angels all had access to the book of truth and that becomes important at a point further on in this message.
We are told in the book of Revelation, the 20 th chapter, at the end of the age the books are opened and the dead are judged out of the things that are written in the books. (Inserted – actual verse—“And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.” – Revelation 20:12) And finally we are told that there is a book that refers to the select, the elect. It is called the Lamb’s book of life. (Inserted – actual verse—“Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” – Revelation 21:27)
Marvelous insights! In fact Paul said, when he was in the third heavens, that he saw things that were prohibited to man. So when he came back to the earth—he was out of his body—he said, “Whether I was in the body or out of the body I cannot tell.” (You see he was in another state of being). He saw incredible things, some of which he was not permitted to tell. (Inserted – actual verse—“And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows—was caught up to paradise. He heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell.” – II Corinthians 12:3,4) Now that is a glimpse into heaven—a real glimpse into heaven—not necessarily a Dantean glimpse into Paradiso but a real glimpse into heaven: books that contain truth, immutable truth known from the foundations of the world, pursuant to which truths the existence off man was framed. These are in heaven.
What is in the second heavens? If these things are in the highest heavens—and you know what is in the natural heavens, the ones around the earth or the first heavens… the planets are there—what is in the second heavens? Plainly spoken, in the book of Ephesians, the 6 th chapter, speaking on the matter of spiritual warfare, Paul, the writer, says to the Ephesians, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities, powers” (note that word “powers”) “the rulers of the darkness of this world, and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Inserted – actual verse—“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” – Ephesians 6:12)
What is in the second heavens? The entire demonic realm: the seat of Satan himself and the seat of that which resists God. Originally this was in the highest heavens but when God created man and He created the universe, He also created the heavens and the earth, and in one of the heavens the demonic, which used to be in heaven but lost its original battle, is now placed in the second heavens. I have a series of messages entitled “God’s Heirs” and we look at why the battle was engaged in the first place. Why did the angels revolt against God in the first place? But that’s available to you for downloading from the website, so you might look at it.
But they were first in the highest heavens; then they were put into the second heavens. But the war continues and so the Scriptures say, in the book of Revelation, chapter 12, that there was war in heaven. Chapter 12, verse 7, “And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven.”
Now you may say, “Well, that was the original war, when Satan was driven out of heaven.” But we now know that he is not on the earth. He presently is not on the earth; he is now called the “prince of the power of the air.” (Inserted – actual verse—“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.” – Ephesians 2:1,2)
He is now referred to as: “the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms,” so he is still in the heavenlies. (Inserted – Ephesians 6:12b) But after this war, this second round…you see, the war had not ended because he was put out of the first heavens. This war will end when the last enemy has been destroyed, and according to the book of Revelation, the 20 th chapter, who the last enemy is and when he will be destroyed and how he will be destroyed is stated. The last enemy is Death, the spirit known as Death—that is the last enemy—and he will be destroyed at the end of the age, at the end of the millennial period and he will be thrown into a lake of fire. (Inserted – actual verse—“The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.” – Revelation 20:13,14)
That’s when the war will end, when the last enemy has been destroyed. This war continues—it obviously continues—otherwise why are we talking about spiritual warfare in the first place? Every church group talks about spiritual warfare but if you say that this is the continuing war that began when there was an original revolt and it will end when the last enemy has been destroyed—and so the war is ongoing—people look at you strangely. Well why are we having spiritual warfare if the war is over? It is obvious that the war is not over… we continue to fight. But that creation—and it is a creation because the angels are created beings—they are not eternal beings, they were created.
Satan is a created being just like man is a created being, but they are creatures of a different dimension. Man is a creature of time; these creatures are creatures of another dimension. So they are in the heavenly realms, they have revolted against God, the war continues and it is now time to deal with them again. You see the end of the age is just that… it is the culmination of the purposes for which man was created and the culmination of these purposes invariably draws the demonic realm into focus. Whereas now they are invisible and they enjoy certain anonymity because of invisibility, yet they have continued to engage in war against God and they have continued to engage in war against the interest of God in the earth, which interest is humankind.
As the age concludes, all of these things will come into focus and we will have a culmination of the entire affair. So that is what Jesus was speaking about when He said, “And the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.” Look at the rest of this reading from Revelation 12. In Revelation 12 it says, “And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven.” They were, and they are now in the second heaven but this is where they will end up. “The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent…” (You see here Satan is referred to as the dragon, the ancient serpent) “…called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray.” (Inserted – Revelation 12:7-9a)
Where was he hurled down? He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. Note that? Where is he thrown? He is now in the heavens. Where is he thrown when he is thrown out of the heavens? He is thrown into the earth. When God shakes the heavens what He intends to do is to remove that which may be shaken. Everything that can be shaken will be shaken. We have received the only thing that cannot be shaken and that is a kingdom. When he shakes the heavens, He will remove the things that can be shaken and He will put them into the earth but that was the matter from the beginning. God always knew this. This is not going to be now a happenstance of the later years.
Look at this from the book of Numbers. This is an interesting quote from the book of Numbers and this would be Numbers 24:17. Here the Lord says, “ ‘I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel.” And so God promises that out of Israel there would come this incredible providence of God for the whole purpose of man at the end of the age.
It goes on to say, in the book of Zechariah, that God will shake everything that can be shaken so that what cannot be shaken will remain. How do we know when these things that can be shaken are being shaken? You see this is still the invisible realm but what comes out of it will affect us. How will we know the timing—when the heavens are being shaken? The answer is: these things will be symbolized in the sun, the moon and the stars. That is how we will know. There will be signs of these things appearing in the sun, the moon and the stars.
You’ve got to stay with us for the next broadcast to understand the appearing in the sun, the moon and the stars of the signs of these incredible events. Do you suppose that the enemy, thrown into the earth, will shake things up a bit when he gets here? Do you think human society will be different if Satan is in residence on the planet in the dominant role? That’s what we need to look at. The end of the age will come and these will be the things: the stars will show the way. I’m Sam Soleyn. Join me for a continuing discussion. I’ll see you then.
Scripture References :
II Corinthians 12:2-4
II Corinthians 12:3,4