Three years elapsed as we journeyed together from the beginning to the end of the Bible. In the first post after that, It Only Happens In God’s Time, I said that our journey would now shift from what the Bible said, to one of how to apply it in our lives. Preceding this ‘how,’ we first explored the urgency in starting that application, (because we only have a limited time frame in which we can connect with God), and then followed with a three-part series of posts, Why Would You Want God In Your Life?, to show you the supernatural advantages of having God steer your path in life so that deciding to make those applications made sense…
Now we are going to begin learning how to walk with God. We are going to start by building a strong ‘home base’ for our faith-based journey, so that we can have a powerful foundation behind our walk. We begin by looking at the immeasurable lengths that God went to, to establish your presence:
Your galactic home:
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. Gen. 1:3 ESV
BAM! That is the beginning of everything we know. God spoke and an entire universe came into being! Don’t let anyone tear down your faith. We have a God, the Prime Mover, who with a word, created everything we know from nothing. He is the Big Bang:
By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. Heb. 11:3 ESV
God used spiritual building blocks of His own making.
Don’t be put off by atheistic scientists either. The Bible does not conflict with the scientific evidence for the sequential formation of the universe and of our world in it.
God tells us that He took six days to create everything. However, God was being metaphorical. (1 Pet. 3:8) Each day consisted of eons. Oh, we have some hardcore fundamentalists who claim the ‘six days’ only refer to a literal six thousand years, but there is a plethora of evidence refuting that. The very rate of the expansion of the universe since the Big Bang, tells us that it is approximately sixteen billion years old. The Bible does not deny that.
Your earthly home:
God describes the formation of your earthly home too. He formed dry land masses > plants > marine life and birds > land mammals, and finally > Man. (Gen. 1:1 – 26.)
God wrote this through Moses approximately four thousand years ago, yet it is describing the exact sequence of creative events that science would formulate and believe in only about one hundred years ago. If God knew it, He did it, and you can throw the evolutionary approach of happenstance out the window. Statistically impossible. Faithless fiction.
God created this entire universe, and especially this galaxy and our earthly home in it, for you – to sustain you, to bless you, and for your enjoyment. Then He gave it all to you for safekeeping:
God said, Let Us [Father, Son, and Holy Spirit] make mankind in Our image, after Our likeness, and let them have complete authority over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the [tame] beasts, and over all of the earth, and over everything that creeps upon the earth. Gen. 1:26 AMP
Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. Gen. 2:15 NKJV
Yet, as wondrous as our home is, it is only a temporary one:
…just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself… Eph. 1:4, 5. NASB
Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God… Eph. 2:19 NKJ
These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth…they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them. Heb. 11:16 NASB
God has a final heavenly home for you after this earth passes away, a place called New Jerusalem; and that has been His plan since before He created this universe. Even those faithful to God, yet born too early to have experienced the coming of His Christ, knew innately of God’s plan, and were assured by God that they were included. You are blessed by having direct access to Christ through the Holy Spirit, and your inclusion is first hand.
Your incarnate home:
Let us go back to the scripture above (Gen. 1:26) where God tells us that He made us in His likeness. We are made in His image, as well as in the image of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. What is the commonality between Them? Well, by virtue of His name, the Holy Spirit is a Spirit. Jesus tells us that God is a Spirit (John 4:24) and that a spirit has no flesh. (Luke 24:39) Jesus too was a Spirit prior to His incarnate manifestation on the Earth. (John 1:14)
Thus, the part of us that is made in Their image is our spirit. Our body is only a temporary house until we are refitted with our immortal, incorruptible heavenly body. (Phil. 3:20, 21; 1 Cor. 15:42 – 53.)
What does all this have to do with applying the word of God?
It’s all about training your thoughts in faith (For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. Pr. 23:7 NKJV) It’s about strengthening your Christian attitude as a result – knowing that you can move those mountains in your paths because the Creator of the Universe is working through you and for you.
It’s about being secure in your God foundation with a security that will color everything that you do in this life. God created a universe for you. You were appointed its caretaker. He gave you the most special rank in it; i.e. to live as the image of Him. You were given the charge to advance His kingdom by bringing His promise of salvation to others, and He has fully equipped you to do it.
Finally, this wonderful life God has placed in you will yet be eclipsed by an eternal existence on the heavenly plane. You can live out your earthly life from beginning to end as a win-win if you invite God in your life through Christ.
“…with God all things are possible.” Matt. 19:26 NKJV
Strike a godly attitude. Be bold for the kingdom. Know that you and everyone else are special to God. Walk like a son or daughter of God. Be faithful to living out His word. You’ve got what it takes…
Goodnight and God bless.
July 26 2014 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »
In part two of this three-part series, we continued in our journey in examining reasons for having God in our lives – listening to what God Himself has to say about it. The reasons we saw include the fact that God has made Himself a refuge for us in times of trouble, along with a guaranteed deliverance from them. God is always trustworthy; we can rest assured all of His promises are kept. Our God is always merciful to us when we slip off of His path if we return to Him.
Finally, God keeps His eyes on us, returning us to the rich and righteous road of life that He has paved for each and everyone of us. He teaches us the right ways; He surrounds us with guardian angels, and opens the eternal doors of heaven…
Now, let’s peruse more of God’s reasons for grabbing a hold of Him:
…God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave, for He shall receive me. Ps. 49:15 NKJV
For surely there is a hereafter, and your hope will not be cut off. Pr. 23:18 NKJV
He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from beginning to the end. Eccl. 3:11 ESV
He will swallow up death forever, and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces; the rebuke of His people He will take away from all the earth; for the LORD has spoken. Is. 25:8 NKJV
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” Is. 43:1 – 3. ESV
Listen to Me…you who have been borne by Me from your birth, carried from the womb: Even to your old age I am He, and even to hair white with age will I carry you. I have made, and I will bear; yes, I will carry and will save you. Is. 46:3, 4. AMP
And it shall come to pass that whoever calls upon the name of the LORD shall be saved. Joel 2:32 NKJV
Yes, I know; a whole bunch of scripture. However, this is one of the biggest reasons people seek God – to grab a hold of eternal life. Let’s face it, this stretch of time we are allotted on this earth is a short one, a blink of an eye on the cosmic timeline. By the time we’ve accumulated enough wisdom to make a difference in this world, our physical body and brain begins to slow down. Our earthly journey is painfully limited.
God never meant it to be that way, but Adam and Eve threw a wrench into our original gears of infinity. So because God loves us so much, He devised a plan for our redemption – a plan where we never have to see death, a real heavenly alternative.
Our Creator placed an innate knowing about this available eternity, in our hearts, even though we can’t as mere mortals quite figure out how He is doing His thing. Still, God gives us snippets to hold onto because we cannot perceive of the supernatural glory of that day when He brings us to our eternal home. We can see that God will be right beside us during that transition, and that our eternal home is a happy one. In fact, God is with us every step of the way – from the womb to the tomb if we partner up with Him.
What we do know is that the centerpiece of God’s redemptive plan for Man is Jesus:
For the Son of Man came to save [from the penalty of eternal death] that which was lost. Matt. 18:11 AMP
Just as the Son of Man came not to be waited on but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many [the price paid to set them free.] Matt. 20:28 AMP
Then the King will say to those on His right hand, “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:” Matt. 25:34 NKJV
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. John 3:16, 17. NKJV
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6 NKJV
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.” John 10:27 – 30. NKJV
I am [Myself] the Resurrection and the Life. Whoever believes in (adheres to, trusts in, and relies on) Me, although he may die, yet he shall live… John 11:25 AMP
God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to the earth to show us the way back to the paradise lost, back to our Creator Himself. He accomplished that by speaking the final elements of the truth of God in the gospel – our heavenly road map. Moreover, His seal and guarantee of our redemption from death came through the shedding of His blood on the cross for the atonement of all of man’s sins (for those who accept His sacrifice) as well as through His resurrection.
As we can see, Jesus is the ONLY way to heaven. There is no substitute. Believe me, you don’t want any part of the outcome waiting for the people who don’t side with Christ. Jesus is the essence of His Father. If you reject Jesus, you reject God, and there will be no hope coming your way.
What kind of God would submit Himself to the ultimate agony of watching His Son die? It’s the kind of God that you want in your life because He went to the greatest lengths to ensure you a life of eternal love with Him. That same kind of love, because it is His love, is expressed in Jesus:
“I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” John 10:10, 11. NKJV
“In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” John 14:2, 3. NKJV
I have loved you, [just] as the Father has loved Me; abide in My love [continue in His love with Me]. John 15:9 AMP
Jesus loves you with the full strength of the love of God. It courses through Him. He laid down His life for you, and has prepared heaven for you – all because He loves you.
Just how strong are the love of God and the veracity of His plan?
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Rom. 8:38, 39. ESV
For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. Rom. 11:29 NKJV
He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Col. 1:13, 14. ESV
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights… James 1:17 NKJV
Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 1 John 3:1, 2. NKJV
We love Him because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19 NKJV
Nothing can get in the way of God’s love for you unless you reject it. God has delivered all of His children through His Son from any sort of evil and condemnation. He showers you with His perfect love and transforms you daily into the perfection of His Christ.
More than anything, God loved us before we ever knew He existed.
I hope that I’ve been able to convey the wondrous majesty of God’s love and all of the blessings that it entails. Hopefully, you now see the wisdom of seeking after Him through His Son. It’s the only eternally living game in this universe. God loves you so much that He has planned your outcome even before He created this universe, just so He could give it all to you forever. He wants you to bask in His love for all of eternity; and frankly, I’d like to have you there with me.
Goodnight and God bless.
July 19 2014 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »
In part one of this series we started looking at why anyone would want to have God in his or her lives. We went to God Himself (through His word) to get the answers. He told us that He was our Creator, that He created us to be the top of the hierarchy of all His creations, and that He blessed us with His grace at birth.
Furthermore, God made us aware that He never leaves our side, He protects us forever, and that He will deliver us from anything that comes against us. Why? It’s because if we choose to have God in our lives, we become God’s children – we become His treasure.
Now, let us continue to listen in as God proceeds to make His case:
The beloved of the LORD dwells in safety. The High God surrounds him all day long, and dwells between his shoulders. Dt. 33:12 ESV
The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms; He will thrust out the enemy before you… Dt. 33:27 NKJV
For I have looked upon the distress of My people, because their cry has come to Me. 1 Sam. 9:16 AMP
“…for nothing can hinder the LORD from saving by many or by few.” 1 Sam. 14:6 ESV
There are many times when the world appears to be overwhelming. The root cause of that is when we forget our God. You can see that He is our safe place, a place no enemy can breach, and nothing deters Him from being so. Moreover, He is always attuned to your times of grief, sorrow, and despair; and He soothes them all with the strength of His compassion and His ability to deliver you into His joy.
“…not one thing has failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spoke concerning you. All things have come to pass for you; not one word of them has failed.” Josh 23:14 NKJV
…’I will never break My covenant with you.’ Judges 2:1 NKJV
This is the best part! Everything that God says He will do, He does. He is the ultimate Promise-Keeper. You can count on His word. God is always trustworthy.
For He is good, for His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever. 2 Chr. 7:3 AMP
…for the LORD your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn His face from you if you return to Him. 2 Chr. 30:9 NKJV
But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lam. 3:21 – 32. ESV
Hey, we’re human; we make mistakes, and we make them repeatedly. Thank God that He covers us with His mercy, and that His mercy towards us is immeasurable as long as we come to Him with sincere confession and repentance. Our loving God wants to restore us back onto His good path:
‘You have granted me life and lovingkindness; and you care has preserved my spirit.’ Job 10:12 NASB
Upon whom does His light not rise? Job 25:3 NKJV
Does not [God] see my ways and count all my steps? Job 31:4 AMP
When I view and consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained and established, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of [earthborn] man that you care for Him? Yet you have made him but a little lower than God [or heavenly beings], and You have crowned him with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of your hands; You have put all things under his feet. Ps. 8:3 – 6. AMP
I [the Lord] will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you. Ps. 32:8 AMP
…those who seek the LORD shall not lack any good thing. Ps. 34:10 NKJV
For You have delivered my soul from death, indeed my feet from stumbling, so that I may walk before God in the light of the living. Ps. 56:13 NASB
For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. Ps. 91:11 ESV
God has a plan. You are part of that plan – a part unique to you that is integral to His design. He looks after you in every area of your life, and He does so with the utmost love and care. God created you as the greatest of all His creations, to enjoy, care, and have dominion over them. Yes, our original parents (Adam and Eve) did pull us down a few notches on God’s hierarchy, but He came back and restored us with the crown of Christ.
God is an everlasting beacon, an eternal map. We can’t get lost when we stick by Him. He grants an eternal path to those who side with Him, sending His angels to usher in and watch over their every step.
I asked you in part 1, ‘Are you feeling the love?’ Can you see and feel His love manifest in every God moment of your life? He listens to you, He comes to your aid without fail, He keeps His promises, He picks you up when you fall, and He restores you to His side.
He showers you with goodness from here to eternity. Isn’t that the kind of life that we all want? You can have it, but it depends upon you…
Goodnight and God bless.
July 12 2014 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »
In our last post, It Only Happens In God’s Time, we began our preamble to learning about how to apply biblical principles (God’s word) in our lives. In that preamble we looked at the urgency behind latching onto God’s salvation through Jesus Christ. Once you’ve heard about this free gift of the grace of God, you have a distinct finite time frame in which to receive it – one that runs out when you take your last breath on this earth, or when Jesus returns, whichever comes first. Because you don’t know when either of those times will come, it is literally a life-and-death matter for you to connect with Christ immediately.
Now, in the second edition of our preamble, I want to look at some of the reasons why you’d want to live your life as an expression of God…
Let’s listen to God as He makes His case for us:
(Note that anything God promises to His children of old apply to all of His children throughout the ages.)
So God created man in His own image, in the image and likeness of God He created him; male and female He created them. And God blessed them… Gen. 1:27, 28. AMP
Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. Gen. 1:31 NKJV
So the first thing reason to consider inviting God in your life, is that He made your life. He is your first family – your Father in heaven. He created you with an innate goodness, and then He covered you with His favor. You are born into His grace.
Fear not…I am your Shield, your abundant compensation, and your reward shall be exceedingly great. Gen. 15:1 AMP
And behold, I am with you and will keep (watch over you with care, take notice of) you wherever you may go… Gen. 28:15 AMP
“For I will look upon you favorably and make you fruitful, multiply you, and confirm My covenant with you.” Lev. 26:9 NKJV
“…I will fulfill the number of your days.” Ex. 23:26 NKJV
God leaves nothing to chance where you are concerned, (provided that you partner up with Him). He is with you at all times, He’s got your back, and He even sets an abundant future right in front of you, just because you initiated that partnership. God promises you that this partnership (covenant) will be everlasting.
Fear not; stand still (firm, confident, undismayed) and see the salvation of the Lord which He will work for you today. Ex. 14:13 AMP
My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest. Ex. 33:14 NASB
I will give peace in the land; you shall lie down and none shall fill you with dread or make you afraid… Lev. 26:6 AMP
I am the Lord your God…and I have broken the bars of your yoke and made you walk erect [as free men]. Lev. 26:13 AMP
“For I am the LORD who heals you.” Ex. 15:26 NKJV
Are you beset with problems in the mental, physical, and or spiritual arenas? God is always by your side. When you call upon Him, He will deliver you from your trials and tribulations – extinguishing your anxieties and wounds as He grants you healing and liberty.
Do not be in dread or afraid of them. The LORD your God who goes before you will himself fight for you… Dt. 1:29, 30. ESV
It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed. Dt. 31:8 ESV
…the LORD your God carried you, just as a man carries his son… Dt. 1:31 NASB
In this life, you will have other people come against you – especially if you make Christ your Lord (because it reminds your detractors of the ill-gotten path that they are on). Yet you can see that when anyone stands in the way of your God moments, they are standing in the way of God Himself. If they had a brain that is not a battle they should take on. Regardless, God is your vanguard against evil, warding it off as He compassionately carries you through any mountain that blocks your path.
Why does God do all these things? It’s because He loves us so much. Moreover, when we make the decision to walk into Jesus’ open arms, we become God’s ‘official children’ – dropping our worldly barriers so that we can be filled with His love. We are special in God’s eyes:
“You have led in your steadfast love the people whom you have redeemed; you have guided them by your strength to your holy abode.” Ex. 15:13 ESV
“For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.” Dt. 7:6 ESV
You shall be blessed above all peoples… Dt. 7:14 NKJV
And the LORD will make you the head and not the tail, and you shall go up and not down… Dt. 28:13 ESV
Is He not your Father, who bought you? Has He not made you and established you? Dt. 32:6 NKJV
“Indeed, He loves the people; all Your holy ones are in Your hand…” Dt. 33:3 NASB
You are God’s greatest treasure, one of His loved ones whom He puts on a pedestal, and of His blessed ones who He guides into His house forever…
Are you feeling the love?
Goodnight and God bless.
July 05 2014 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »
If you have been following this blog for the three years that it has been published, you will have seen that we began our journey in Bible book of Genesis, and then examined the Bible right through Revelation – which we finished in our last post. (The only books not examined, were Ruth, Esther, and Philemon, because for me they represent the application of Christian living, rather than teaching the founding principles of Christianity. So we will look at those in that fashion, at a later date.)
From this point onward, my intent is to share with you how to apply God’s word in the world that you live in, so that you can have your greatest life on your God path – stepping out of the study of the Bible and putting it into practice.
Prior to examining those applications, I want to share with you the urgency that surrounds your living out God’s words. Next time we will explore why you should apply them.
Because we will be embarking upon how to practice Christian principles, please feel free to share your opinions and experiences regarding your own applications, so that learning about what works can enrich all of your brothers and sisters in Christ…
What is the ‘it’ that happens in God’s Time?
The ‘it’ is everything that happens. That’s why we need to look at the urgency that exists when it comes to using our time wisely – using it to first look to our salvation, and then to help others to find theirs.
Everything that happens in this first rendition of our universe, takes time – even right down to the most infinitely small events that occur on the atomic level. The time frame within which everything takes place, is in God’s time.
Some of our space telescopes can identify images of stellar events that occurred at the birth of our universe – when God created time.
God created a three-dimensional universe – one that has length, width, and height. During that same creative event God also brought into being the fourth dimension, which is time. According to Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, (which has never been disproved) together, they form a ‘space-time continuum’ that allows for a single universe containing manifold events. This is just one example of how great and awesome our God is.
Space by itself is just a jumble of all things side by side. Time by itself is a conglomeration of all things following one another. Melded together, the space-time continuum gives rise to the old adage that God gave us space so that everything wouldn’t happen in the same place, and He gave us time so that it wouldn’t all happen now.
Time, in relationship to the continuum, has certain characteristics. Gravitational fields can slow it down, as well as the relative motions of observers to other moving phenomena, and it slows down for anything traveling faster than the speed of light. Theoretically then, we could create a ‘time machine’ if we could travel that fast. In fact, there are some galaxies that are expanding away from our own Milky Way at a relative speed faster than light.
Our God is so BIG, and the possibilities He creates are so vast.
Furthermore, God also placed a clock within every living thing. Each has its own unique time span before it winds down forever; and only God knows what that expiration date is (Job 39:1, 2.) In the United States, our average human time span spent on this earth is 78.75 years. (Note: we rank a pitiful #53 on the list of average world life spans.) Of course ‘averages’ are based upon a conglomeration of high and low values, which suggests that we each have a unique God-clock within.
God Himself, being the creator of time, must exist outside of time, because He created something that was not. Furthermore, the moment will come when He will dispense with time forever; and He will replace time with eternity. In that space, the distinction of past and future will be given over to a new reality – one that is ‘ever-present.’ God has always lived in that reality (outside the space-time continuum). God declares this by simply saying that “I Am…” and “This is My name forever…” (Ex. 3:14, 15.)
Christ made the same claim when He too stated that He existed before the time of Abraham. He also said, “…I Am.” (John 8:58) He also was able to see all of time in a single glance when the devil tried to tempt Him with power to rule all of the earthly kingdoms for all time. (Luke 4:5) So Jesus, because He is the essence of His Father, also exists outside of the space-time continuum.
God sent His Son at His appointed time, to bring light into the world; and He allowed Jesus to die at the exact time that salvation was to be gifted to us through His death and resurrection. (Rom. 5:6; 1 Tim. 2:6; Heb. 10:14) Christ will also come a second preordained time, and sweep us into His grace for that very salvation, at just the right time. (Heb. 9:28) Timing is everything with God.
Our Creator orchestrates the past, present, and future simultaneously, seeing it all happen at once; but His creations experience time sequentially. In order to show His children just how He controls their future, God often prophesied through His prophets so that the future generations could experience the fruits of His omniscience. (Dan. ch. 7, 8 & 12; Mic. 5:4; Hab. 2:3)
There was a specific time for Moses to teach the children of Israel God’s laws for living. (Dt. 4:14) The walls of Jericho came down when His children shouted out at a preordained time.
God appoints specific times for certain people to step up to be used by Him in advancing His design for Man; [e.g. when He placed Esther in a place where she could become queen and save His children from the evil planned for them by the king's subversive right-hand man, Haman. (Esth. ch.3 - 7.)]
Bad things happen when God’s children do not adhere to His specific timetable. For example, it was King Saul’s impatience that led him to ignore God’s appointed time for performing a particular task for Him – which resulted in having his kingdom ripped away from him. (1 Sam. 13:8 – 11 & 13.)
God also puts urgency on time with regards to your ability to seek salvation from Him through Christ. (Ps. 32.6)
That urgent piece of time is defined in the same way for everybody. It began when Jesus came to spread the gospel, (Mk. 1:15), and it is available to you up until the time that you draw your last breath. If you don’t make your connection with God while you are living your first life, if you continue to reject Him, you will not have a second chance; and your outcome is not a good one. (Ps. 75:2 & 81:15.) You do not want to take that chance, because you have no idea about when death will come. (Eccl. 9:12) Neither do you know the time when Christ will return. (Mt. 24:42) Your pact with Him must be made before either of those events.
If you do heed Christ’s call, God will have your back forever; (Ps. 121:8 & 125:2.) and you will transcend time, death, and troubles. (Is. 25:8)
Thank God that He is in control, and that He has mapped out the specified times for our getting the greatest benefits from all events that take place during our stay upon this earth. (Eccl. 3:1 – 8 & 11.)
All of God’s clocks are winding down. It began when Christ came, and time will run out when He returns the second time. Please, if you haven’t done so already, seek Jesus out. Don’t waste a single moment…
Good night and God bless.
June 28 2014 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »
We’ve spent over three months studying the Book of Revelation in the previous 13-part series How The World Ends As We Know It. Many people run away from Revelation because it seems so terrifying to them. (I know that every time I touch upon it, readership drops.) Yet Revelation is all about hope, about how the end of the world will be a good thing if you’re on the side of Jesus. It is a complex book, and it takes a large effort and a willingness to sort it out. I hope that I have managed to do that for you. If however, you are one of the ones who flee when Revelation is mentioned, I am now presenting a ‘short take,’ a recap if you will, that will give you a bite-sized chunk of what it’s all about and perhaps encourage you to go back and read the entire series. (Revelation does tell us that those who read it will be blessed by it.)
Revelation is just that, it is a series of revelatory visions given to the apostle John by Christ Himself, in order for him to accurately relay to everyone what is coming at the later part of time, between the first and second coming of Jesus. It is also God’s last evangelical appeal to unbelievers – a plea to come to salvation through Christ before it’s too late.
First, Jesus commands John to write letters to seven churches in Asia that are full of exhortations and or condemnations, the contents of which hold what we can extrapolate to be the behavior that is necessary for living a righteous life as a follower of Christ.
The apostle is then transported (in the spirit) to heaven to the throne room of God, around which are twenty-four ‘elders’ who represent the twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve apostles – indicating a unification of the church of Jesus Christ.
God hands Jesus a scroll with seven seals which contains God’s final plan for the redemption of Man. When the first six seals are undone, John becomes privy to a ‘preview’ of the imminent onset of the seven-year ‘tribulations’ (the time where the earth and its inhabitants are subject to His final judgments).
The tribulations begin with the coming of the Antichrist, and with the war of the ‘armies of the north’ against Israel.
Before the seventh seal is opened, 144,000 Jews in Israel come to Christ after they see that the Gentile church has been ‘rapture(d)’ up to heaven, and they rise to heaven as well. With regards to the war, God steps in and defeats the northern army at about the halfway mark through the tribulation period.
After seeing the Gentile church and the Jews for Jesus rise, a ‘great multitude’ around the world decides that this Jesus thing is real, and they are taken up as well.
Once the seventh seal is opened, we see the seven ‘judgments of the trumpets,’ which herald the beginning of the tribulations. The ‘preview’ is over. These judgments are only partial in nature – a burning of part of the earth, pollution of a third of the earth’s seas and fresh water, darkening of a third of the sun, moon and stars, and demonic mental and physical torment.
In addition, the Antichrist builds a two hundred million-man army from the ‘east’ that kills a third of mankind during their march to the valley of Megiddo in Israel.
Up to this time the Antichrist has been aligned with a ‘church’ of false religion and sets up a one-world government with himself at its helm. He then destroys the church of false religion because he occupies the new temple in Jerusalem where he declares himself to be God. Another of Satan’s stooges, the ‘false prophet’ sets up a new religion that forces all the heathens to worship the Antichrist. (Most of them don’t need forcing.) During the Antichrist’s short (3 1/2 years) reign, many followers of Jesus are martyred.
In the second half of the tribulation period, God sends two powerful witnesses to preach the gospel to anyone left on earth who would listen. During this same time, the seven ‘bowls’ of judgment are poured over the earth, which bring immense and total destruction – disease, extermination of all marine life, pollution of all fresh water, a physically burning heat from the sun, 100-pound hail, and severe earthquakes.
At the end of the tribulations, Christ clashes with the Antichrist’s armies and annihilates them with but a word in the battle of Armageddon, whereupon He also tosses the Antichrist and the false prophet into the lake of fire. Jesus also binds the devil in chains for a thousand years while He takes full reign over the earth (along with His saints) on a newly reformed paradise suspended in a new cosmos.
Yet there are still unbelievers who live on this millennial earth, (those who didn’t get killed during the tribulations). They propagate over these thousand years. At the end of that time, Satan is released and he gathers himself an army of these unbelievers to war against Christ and His saints. However, God consumes the unbelieving army with fire and tosses the devil in the lake of fire forever.
Everyone who has ever lived stands in front of the judgment seat of Christ – the saints to gather their rewards that correspond to the nature of their godly deeds while on earth, and the unbelievers to receive their condemnation of eternal death, as they join the devil and his minions in the lake of fire.
Finally, we get to see the glory of heaven, the new earth, and the holy city of New Jerusalem where the saints will live forever in joy, basking in the love and light of Jehovah God and Jesus Christ…
What Can You Take Home From This?
There are more interpretations for the symbolism in Revelation than you can shake a stick at. Read the book over and over, praying for your own revelation regarding the meanings, remembering to take the words literally wherever possible when it makes sense.
Consider too that ever since the Bible became available to read in its entirety, Man has tried to fit their present time into the ‘end times.’ Regardless of what time frame it really happens in, or when the raptures occur or if they occur at all, I believe that there are some really important and fundamental things to grasp onto here:
God always keeps His word. God promised repeatedly to Israel that He would restore them in the end times, and keep those who come to Christ with Him forever. (See Ezek. 43:7) Israel as a nation was wiped out in 70 A.D. It was ‘restored’ in 1948, which is a strong indicator that the ‘end times’ clock is ticking with more vigor.
The book of Revelation is a window into the end of the world and of time itself. It tells of two major wars against Israel, worldwide ecological disasters, a one-world government headed by someone with major delusions of grandeur, and of large-scale murderous assaults against the followers of Christ. However, what did Jesus tell us to do when the tribulations come?
“Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift your heads, because your redemption draws near.” Luke 21:28 NKJV
Keep your eyes peeled. God is calling you to get on His Love Bus. You know what to do. Please don’t miss it…
Good night and God bless.
June 21 2014 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »
In part twelve of this series, we saw Jesus bind Satan for a thousand years while He and His saints (those raised up in the ‘first resurrection’) reigned over the earth. Unfortunately, there are also some survivors from the tribulations who will continue to refuse Christ and perpetuate their seed over this millennium who act likewise.
When the devil is freed, he gathers up the offspring of the sinners to make war against the saints, but God Himself intervenes and devours the satanic army with fire, and then throws the devil into the lake of fire.
We also got to see the joy laid upon the saints at judgment day – in stark contrast to the horror visited upon the ungodly, (in their ‘second resurrection’) which will have to face their second and final death.
Lastly, we took a little peak at eternity, where the saints are communing directly with God and Christ, and living in perpetual joy…
The apostle John’s vision continues to reveal our heavenly eternity:
Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me, saying, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God… Rev. 21:9 – 11. ESV
As you know, the saints of the church of Jesus Christ are referred to in the Bible as the ‘bride of Christ.’ Here we see that same designation given to the city of New Jerusalem because it will be housing the church. John now relates in great detail, the construction of that city: it is surrounded with twenty-story high walls with twelve gates – each gate inscribed with one of the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. The walls also rest upon twelve foundational stones, each engraved with one of the names of the twelve apostles.
So you can see that God never forgot the promises that He made to His original children of Israel, which are now unified with the Gentile church to be one people of God.
The city of New Jerusalem is a fifteen hundred mile cube in measurement. The walls are encrusted with jewels, the gates made of pearl, and the buildings and the streets are paved with gold.
John continues: But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city had no need of the sun or the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light. And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it. Its gates shall not be shut at all by day (there shall be no night there). And they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it. Rev. 21:22 – 26. NKJV
But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life. Rev. 21:27 ESV
John doesn’t see a temple because the entire city is the temple – a place where the saints live with God and His Son in an environment of worship without barriers, illuminated by the glory of God coursing through Christ.
The ‘saved nations’ are those who did not align with Satan during the tribulations, whose people came to Christ during the Millennium. The ‘kings’ of the earth may be the leaders of these nations or may refer to the saints themselves. (See Rev. 1:6)
Finally, we are given a warning with respect to the type of unrepentant behavior that will deny one entry into New Jerusalem because the perpetrator has had his name blotted out from the book of life.
Now, John’s vision reveals the inside of the city: Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves were for the healing of the nations. Rev. 22:1, 2. ESV
And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.
Then he said to me, “These words are faithful and true.” And the Lord God of the holy prophets sent His angel to show His servants the things which must shortly take place.” Rev. 22:3 – 6. NKJV
The ‘water of life’ pouring out from the thrones of Jehovah God and Jesus Christ symbolize their abundant provisions for the saints – satisfying their every need. (See Is. 44:3 & John 4:10 & 14.) The presence of the ‘tree of life’ tells us that Man has come full circle, come home to a new Garden of Eden.
The word ‘healing’ is translated from the Greek word therapia and is translated as ‘heal-giving’ by some.
The curse of the original sin of Adam is blotted out, replaced by the very intimate presence of God and His Son. Furthermore, we get to see God’s face! Not since Adam, has anyone had that privilege. (See 1 Cor. 13:12) Furthermore, we are sealed by God, which makes us His forever, basking in His light.
At this point, John’s vision of these eschatological events comes to an end…
It’s Up To You:
Jesus now speaks a message for everyone through the apostle: “Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book!” Rev. 22:7 NKJV
It is important to our Savior that we understand and obey this last alert so that we don’t share the fate of the unbeliever.
The enormity of John’s visions prompts him to fall prostate at the feet of the messenger angel who has also been delivering some of Jesus’ revelations. John begins to worship the angel, but the angel admonishes him: “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God!” Rev. 22:9 ESV
(We are never to worship angels.)
The angel continues: “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. Let the one who does wrong, still do wrong; and the one who is filthy, still be filthy; and let the one who is righteous, still practice righteousness; and the one who is holy, still keep himself holy.” Rev. 22:10, 11. NASB
The angel tells John to be sure to disseminate his vision because it is urgent now for all people to understand what is coming. We also see that many people will not care about or believe in this message and continue along towards their doom.
Jesus gives us another message through John: “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.” Rev. 22:12, 13. NKJV
This is yet another divine reminder to be continually on the alert and ready for Jesus’ arrival. He’s bringing rewards (not salvation – He’s already provided that for His followers) for the saint’s service to Him while they lived on the earth. Jesus also reminds us of the ultimate authority in which He speaks: as the Alpha and the Omega, He is indeed deified as the Son of God – He is His Father’s very essence.
The messenger angel speaks again: Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. Rev. 22:14 NKJV
And that is the long and the short of it; we just have to follow God’s plan. But what about those who don’t?
Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying. Rev. 22:15 NASB
(‘Outside’ is the lake of fire. Don’t kid yourselves; these people know who they are.)
Jesus speaks of His authority once more: “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.” Rev. 22:16 NKJV
The ‘churches’ means that His message is meant to reach all of the saints – to give them cause for discipline and for hope. When Jesus describes Himself as the ‘Root and Offspring of David, He is saying that He is both the creative agent of King David and his Messianic descendant. ‘Bright and Morning Star’ is a messianic title. (See Num. 24:17 & Rev. 2:28.)
Now we hear an evangelic appeal from the Holy Spirit and the church, asking for Jesus to come, as well as a plea to all of those who desire to come to Christ to claim their salvation: The [Holy] Spirit and the bride (the church, the true Christians) say ‘Come!’ And let him who is listening say, ‘Come!’ And let everyone who is thirsty [who is painfully conscious of his need of those things by which the soul is refreshed, supported, and strengthened]; and whoever [earnestly] desires to do it, let him come, take, appropriate, and drink the water of Life without cost. Rev. 22:17 AMP
Just how important is this pure message of Revelation? The messenger angel tells us:
I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. Rev. 22:18, 19. ESV
Clear enough. Don’t pervert the message, because you will pay the ultimate price if you do.
And so, here are the final words of Jesus Christ in scripture: He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly! (And the church responds:) Amen. Even so, come. Lord Jesus! Rev. 22:20 NKJV
We are left now with the final sentence in the Bible – a benediction for us all: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. Rev. 22:21 NKJV
Goodnight and God bless.
June 14 2014 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »
In part eleven of this series, we watched as halfway through the tribulations, the Antichrist holds himself up to be God. Then he gathers an army to do battle against the Son of God and His saints. Jesus decimates the army using only the words of His Father, and He also throws the Antichrist and the false prophet into a lake of burning fire.
The apostle John’s vision is now focused earthward and settled upon the time just after the end of the tribulations – subsequent to Christ’s victory over the forces of Satan:
Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more until the thousand years were finished. But after these things, he must be released for a little while. Rev. 20:1 – 3. NKJV
As you would expect by now, there are varying interpretations of this thousand-year period, this Millennium. Some interpreters see the Millennium as a ‘symbolic’ time span that represents the time between the first and the second coming of Christ. (I disagree, because that would invalidate the entire book of Revelation up to this point.)
Others believe these thousand years will be a time of great peace as Christ comes back to teach the gospel again. Finally, (and this seems most correct to me) some subscribe to a more literal application of the scripture where it describes Jesus returning physically to the earth and reigning over it – along with the resurrected saints.
If we follow this last interpretation, we see that Satan is taken out of the picture for a thousand years, to a place where his influence can no longer sway the people. Also, being that ‘nations’ still exist on the earth, it can be inferred that they would be made up of unbelievers who were not part of the devil’s army, and who managed not to get killed in the second half of the tribulations.
John’s vision continues: Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or on their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with Him for a thousand years. Rev. 20:4 – 6. ESV
Thus, Jesus reigns with the elders (see Matt. 29:28 & Luke 22:30) and with the saints (the church and the martyrs who came to accept Christ during the tribulations – see Dan. 7:22 & 1 Cor. 6:2) for a thousand years.
The ‘first resurrection’ would include the dead saints (see 1 Thess. 4:16), the raptures of the living church (1 Thess. 4:17), the 144,000 (Rev. 14:1 – 5.), the great multitude (Rev. 15:1 -3), and the resurrection of the ‘two witnesses. (Rev. 11:12)
The rest of the dead are the wicked that rebelled against God until the very end.
During the Millennium, the world is a changed place. (It has to be because it was not fit to live on after the final seven judgments of God were released.) Earth is now the physical kingdom of Christ. (These changes were prophesied in Is. 65:17 – 25, & Ezek. 40:1 – 48:35.) The ‘millennial earth’ will be a place where all of the troubles of the saints will be removed and forgotten – a place of perpetual joy. They will also have direct communication with the Father and the Son. It will be like the return of the Garden of Eden, where even the animals return to their original vegetarian state.
There will also be people present who are not saints, still having children, still growing old and dying, and still sinning – even though Christ is in their midst and the devil is not…
The Devil Takes His Last Shot:
John’s vision remains focused earthward, but now shifts forward in time to the post-millennial period: When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from prison, and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war, the number of them is like the sand of the seashore.
And they come up on the broad plain of the earth and surround the camp of the earth and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them. And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. Rev. 20:7 – 10. NASB
Think about this! Christ Himself is present reigning upon the earth. It’s now a paradise where the saints are still doing God’s work – still trying to bring unbelievers to salvation, which still persist in rebellion. That is one merciful God. (See Pet. 3:9)
The devil is able to do his dirty work all over again – even in paradise! ‘Gog and Magog are symbolic for Satan’s armies (new armies because all the others he pre-millennially amassed, are dead). He and his armies surround the saints who are living in a ‘restored’ millennial city of Jerusalem; yet just as Satan was about to strike, God devours his armies with fire and rids us of the devil forever. (See 2 Pet. 3:10)
John’s vision shifts heavenward to the end of time:
Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was no place for them. Rev. 20:11 NKJV
And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.
And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. Rev. 20:12 – 15. ESV
This is the ‘Day of the Lord,’ the end of history, the end of time. The earth and the heavens above it are poised for a radical change. Christ is on the throne. The saint’s names are present in the book of life because they accepted their salvation. Their time in front of Christ’s judgment seat will only be for determining the nature of their rewards in heaven, that reflect their godly deeds on earth.
The unbelievers had had a multitude of chances over many thousands of years to get straight with God, but they chose not to. They will be condemned at the judgment seat, and the ‘second death’ is for them alone…
A Peek At Eternity:
John’s vision straddles both heaven and earth at the gates of eternity:
Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also, there was no more sea. Then I, John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be nor more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Rev. 21:1 – 4. NKJV
The earth, and the cosmos in which it is suspended, are completely transformed into an idyllic home for the saints. (See Is. Ps. 102:25 – 27; Is. 65:17 – 19; & 2 Pet. 3:12, 13.) Some interpret the loss of the seas at literal; others view it as symbolic for the removal of evil (similar to the symbolic ‘sea’ that the satanic beast arose from).
The ‘holy city’ is a city constructed in heaven – a place for the saints to dwell with God, in an environment without sin or any of its collateral damage. God is finally completing His covenant with His children, communing with them in complete love, and blotting out all memories of pain, restoring an immortal life of joy that He foresaw for them before they were physically created.
For the first time in John’s vision, God Himself speaks: And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost.
He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be His God and he will be My son.” Rev. 21:5 – 7. NASB
God is telling us that His great plan is finished! It is His right to declare it so, because He is the Creative Author of the beginning and the end of all things. In His plan’s culmination, He and His Son offer Themselves (the ‘spring of the water of life’) freely to those who seek Their presence. Those who do are the people that rose above the ways of the world to the best of their ability, through the strength imparted to them by their faith in God and in His door to salvation (Jesus). Eternity is theirs for the taking. (See Eph. 1:3 – 11.)
Conversely, God tells us about the ones who stubbornly stayed mired in the world: “But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters, and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” Rev. 21:8 NASB
(Note that the word cowardly’ is not referring to one who is just fearful, but to one who will not take the risk of following Christ in a hostile world.)
We definitely do not want to be part of that crowd; and we won’t, if we link up with Jesus…
Goodnight and God bless.
June 07 2014 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »
In part ten of this series, we followed the continuing revelatory vision of the apostle John, as imparted to him by Christ – specifically watching God deliver His final judgments (the seven bowls) upon the people left on earth who persist in rebelling against Him. These judgments include physical attacks via disease, and God-induced aberrations of natural phenomena, contamination of the earth’s entire water supply, and the gathering of the devil’s army for the battle of Armageddon.
John’s vision is then refocused backwards in time to show how the devil has used ‘false religion’ (symbolized by the ‘Scarlet Woman and the Scarlet Beast’) in cahoots with world leaders and their armies, in order to bring his challenge for supremacy to Christ and His army.
The Fall of Babylon:
The apostle’s vision continues – staying focused upon the events on the earth, but shifting forward in time to the mid-tribulations period: After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illuminated with his glory. And He cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, “Babylon the great is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird!” Rev. 18:1, 2. NKJV
So, God’s prophecy about the final destruction of the institute of false religion has come to fruition. (See Rev. 14:8)
Jesus stops the flow of John’s vision momentarily; and He speaks a warning to the apostle for all of us to hear, about staying away from false religion:
I then heard another voice from heaven saying, ‘Come out of her, my people, so that you may not share in her sins, neither participate in her plagues. For her iniquities (her crimes and transgressions) are piled up high as heaven, and God has remembered her wickedness and [her] crimes [and calls them up for settlement]. Rev. 18:4, 5. AMP
Jesus goes on to say that the arrogant Scarlet Woman (Babylon) never believed she would lose her place of power, yet her institution of false religion was felled in a single day. He goes on to say that the kings and merchants of the earth lament at her fall, because the fountain of wealth that they enjoyed through governmental and commercial business is completely dried up; i.e. they are lamenting for themselves.
In addition, Jesus speaks to the evil that was perpetrated by this false religion that is no more: And on her was found the blood of the prophets and saints, and of all who were slain on the earth. Rev. 18:24 NKJV
So it was the false religion’s teaching (worldly ways opposed to God) that led to the death of all those who attached themselves to it.
Heaven Throws A Party:
John’s vision resumes – this time focused heavenward and slightly forward in time to the beginning of the second half of the tribulations. We now see heaven rejoicing over the downfall of Babylon:
After these things I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, “Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God!” Rev. 19:1 NKJV
Then I heard something like the voice of a great multitude and like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, saying, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” Rev. 19:6, 7. NASB
And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Rev. 19:8 NKJV
The heavenly celebration is over the destruction of false religion, and for the joyous anticipation of when the church (of all ages) is sealed forever as the ‘bride of Christ’ through the righteousness that He has provided for all of us…
John’s vision remains heavenward; the time focuses on the last day of the tribulations. At this point, a new dimension of heaven is opened for him to see:
Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called the Word of God. Rev. 19:11 – 13. NKJV
The ‘Word of God’ gives His identity away, yes? (See John 1:1) It is Jesus Christ Himself preparing for battle on our behalf. He carries a name that is above all names. (See Phil. 2:9) His robe is dipped in His atoning blood, not the blood of His enemies, because He hasn’t gone to battle yet.
And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” Rev. 19:14 – 16. NASB
Who is in that army clothed in white linen? It is the saints – the bride of Christ!
The apostle’s vision shifts earthward:
Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead, “Come gather for the great supper of God, to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great. Rev. 19:17, 18. ESV
Things are not looking good for the devil’s team. (See Ezek. 29:17 for the prophecy concerning this event.)
And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and His army. Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image.
These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh. Rev. 19:19 – 21. NKJV
So, Christ vanquished all of His foes (with the exception of the devil) with the sword coming out of His mouth, i.e. His victory came only from speaking the word of God. That’s righteous power! And He did it all for you…
Good night and God bless.
May 31 2014 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »
In part nine of this series, we looked at how the 144,000 (the Jewish remnant in Israel who accepted Christ as their Messiah) and the Gentiles all over the world, who converted during the first half of the tribulations, were raised up to heaven by Jesus.
The Seven Bowls:
The apostle John’s vision continues. This time his focus is heavenward, and the time frame of it rests at the beginning of the second half of the tribulations:
After these things I looked, and behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened. And out of the temple came the seven angels having the seven plagues… Rev. 15:5, 6. NKJV
Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God who lives forever and ever. And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from His power, and no one was able to enter the temple till the seven plagues were completed.
Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, “Go and pour out the bowls of wrath upon the earth.” Rev. 15:7 – 16:1. NKJV
First, we see that a temple exists in heaven. We also note that God is inaccessible to anyone during the distribution of His final judgments, (i.e. if you’re still on earth at this stage, there is no escape).
As we continue, John’s vision straddles both heaven and earth:
The first ‘bowl’ (judgment) produces painful sores over the entire bodies of all who worshiped the beast. The second pollutes the oceans; subsequently, all marine life is wiped out. The third bowl putrefies all fresh water: And I heard the angel of the waters saying: “You are righteous, O Lord, the One who is, and who was and who is to be, because You have judged these things.
For they have shed the blood of the saints and the prophets, and You have given them blood to drink. For it is their just due. Rev. 16:4 – 6. NKJV (See also Is. 46:26 for the prophecy describing this event.)
The fourth bowl alters the sun – magnifying its heat to such an extent that people were literally being burned. Yet the stiff-necked heathens did not relent in their rebellion; in fact, they cursed God.
The fifth bowl is directed at the throne of the beast and at his kingdom. It brings great pain upon the devil’s followers, and that same earthly throne and kingdom are enveloped in perpetual darkness. In response, the people cry out against God with continuing blasphemy.
The sixth bowl dries up a section of the Euphrates river, so that the army of two million men from the east can cross over it to engage Christ and His Father in the battle of Armageddon. At this point, the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet release demonic spirits to comb the world to convince the leaders of other nations to join up their armies with them in this battle on the final day of the tribulations.
Jesus momentarily halts His visionary revelations to John, and instead speaks to him directly – imparting a warning for him to share with all of humanity: “Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.” Rev. 16:15 NKJV
Christ is urging us to stay alert, and to behave as righteously as we are able until He returns.
Continuing in John’s vision, Satan’s armies gather at the valley of Megiddo in Israel, ready to do battle. In heaven, the last bowl (the seventh judgment) is poured upon the earth:
And there were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, and a great earthquake such as there had never been since man was on the earth, so great was that earthquake. The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell, and God remembered Babylon the great, to make her to drain the cup of the wine of the fury of His wrath.
And every island fled away, and no mountains were to be found. And great hailstones, about one hundred pounds each, fell from heaven on people; and they cursed God for the plague of the hail for it was so severe. Rev. 16:18 – 21. ESV
The great city is Jerusalem, the headquarters of Satan’s false religion (Babylon). The seventh bowl brings cataclysmic destruction (see Is. 13:13 for the prophesy describing this phenomenon) upon the earth – completely changing its surface. Still the rebels (those who remain alive) remain steadfast in their opposition to God…
The Scarlet Woman and the Scarlet Beast:
In John’s vision, an angel takes him earthward and backwards in time to show him more of Satan’s part in the downfall of Man:
Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication.”
So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication. And on her forehead a name was written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement. Rev. 17:1 – 6. NKJV
In the Bible, when the word ‘fornication’ is not referring to sex out of wedlock, it always refers to idolatry, i.e. ‘false religion.’ It is an institution that perverts the word of God in order to bring glory to itself. This particular scripture tells us that all of the governments on the earth (the ‘many waters’) conspire with false religion to control its constituents.
(Any religion that mixes itself up with the world system is acting contrary to the word of God.)
We see that the ‘harlot’ (false religious institution) has grown wealthy in her association with the world, and is literally astride (being supported by) Satan’s beast (thus by the devil himself). So it is fitting that she bears a cup full of ‘abominations’ (idolatry and all of its related practices). The four names on her forehead tell us a few things about her.
‘Mystery’ comes from the Greek word mustering, meaning ‘a secret or mystery – associated with the silence often imposed in the initiation of shady religious rites. It strongly suggests the occult. (Recall that Jesus would have nothing to do with the religious people in His day.)
‘Babylon the Great’ (when not referring to the ancient empire that conquered Judah) is always used in the Bible to represent an institution of false religion.
‘The mother of harlots’ depicts false religion as the pinnacle of earthly evil; and the ‘mother of the abominations of the earth’ tell us that false religion stands for everything that is against God.
Finally, we see that false religion (e.g. the Pharisaical perversion of the Law of Moses) is responsible for the deaths of the saints throughout the history of God’s children.
The angel speaks again: “Why do you wonder? I will tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and the ten horns. The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to come out of the abyss and go to destruction.
And those who dwell on the earth, whose name has not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, will wonder when they see the beast, that he was and is not and will come.” Rev. 17:7, 8. NASB
The beast was and then was not (i.e. is mortally wounded) and it (will come) supposedly back to life. He will then go to his destruction, because his time on earth is short. Until then, he will deceive all of the people who reject Jesus, i.e. those whose names are not found in the book of life.
The angel offers further clarification: This calls for a mind with wisdom: the seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman is seated; they are also seven kings, five of which have fallen, one is, the other is yet to come, and when he does come he must remain only a little while. As for the beast that was and is not, it is an eighth, but it belongs to the seven, and it goes to destruction. Rev. 17:9 – 11. ESV
Some interpret the symbolic mountains to be ancient Rome, others see it as the papacy, and still others believe them to represent all of the kingdoms that rise up against God’s children.
There is yet another interpretation that feels right to me, (always pray over the interpretations and the Holy Spirit will lead you in the right direction) especially because of the events that were happening in the world about the time John received his vision. (90 A.D.) This interpretation says that the seven mountains represent certain world empires, (the first five being those that have fallen – Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persian, and Greek). The kingdom that ‘is’ would be the Roman Empire during John’s time; and there hasn’t been a ‘world empire’ since.
The seventh is that of Satan’s world system (the beast), and the eighth is a representative of the seventh empire – the Antichrist, who uses false religion to bring himself to power, that is, until the time of the mid-tribulations, when he declares himself God.
The angel continues to speak: “The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. These are of one mind, and they give their power and authority to the beast. These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is the Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called chosen and faithful.” Rev. 17:12 – 14. NKJV
The ten horns are ten nations that give their allegiance to the Antichrist, promising to stand with him in the battle against the Son of God. ‘One hour’ means that this allegiance will only have a short existence.
And the angel said to me, “The waters that you saw, where the prostitute is seated, are peoples and multitudes and nations and languages. And the ten horns that you saw, they and the beast will hate the prostitute. They will make her desolate and naked, and devour her flesh and burn her up with fire, for God has put it into their hearts to carry his purpose of being of one mind and handing over their royal power to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled.
And the woman that you saw is the great city that has dominion over the kings of the earth. Rev. 17:15 – 18. ESV
When the Antichrist declares himself God, he will destroy the institution of false religion because it cannot support his claim of divinity and keep itself relevant. Until that time, false religion will reign supreme over the world systems. The ‘city’ is the false religion institution in whatever form that is going to take.
It’s interesting to note that God uses the devil’s own devices to wipe out false religion.
The plot thickens…
Good night and God bless.
May 24 2014 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »