Sunday, October 30, 2011

Will you fall prey to the harlot?


The first verse of Revelation 17 had kind of a “wow” effect on me today. John had been observing and writing all these things as they were put before him and then one of the “featured” angels comes to speak with him. It painted a picture for me of an angel stepping out of a scene to explain to the writer what he just wrote:

Revelation 17:1 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,

Verse one brings us to one of two words we are going to take a look at today.

Harlot
H`ARLOT, n.

1. A woman who prostitutes her body for hire; a prostitute; a common woman.

2. In Scripture, one who forsakes the true God and worships idols. Isa 1.

3. A servant; a rogue; a cheat.

H`ARLOT, a. Wanton; lewd; low; base.

H`ARLOT, v.i. To practice lewdness.

The angel told John he was about to be shown the Judgment of the “great” harlot, not just a harlot. The imagery of the great harlot does not produce anything good in the mind of the born again Christian and verse 2 tells us the “fruit” of her existence:

Revelation 17:2 with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication."

Even knowing the truth of the great harlot and what she represents, John can’t help but “marvel with great amazement”. If John, a man that walked, talked and lived with Jesus, marvels at the sight of this evil image, how much more do WE have to prepare our mind for the lures of pleasures of life, money, sex, and any other idolatry that comes our way in this sinful and adulterous generation:

Revelation 17:4-6 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. 5 And on her forehead a name was written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. 6 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.

Immediately John is rebuked by the angel:

Rev 17:7a But the angel said to me, "Why did you marvel?

The great harlot is described as being carried by the beast; which I think means that the harlot gets her influence, motivation and power from Satan. Almost the entire world will marvel at the great harlot, but not all. The ones that do not marvel at her are the ones whose names are written in the Book of Life. Although most will marvel, the rest of the story is immediately told in chapter 17….Jesus wins.  The one that ascends from the bottomless pit will be destroyed, which brings us to our second word of the day:

Perdition
PERDI'TION, n. [L. perditio, from perdo, to lose, to ruin.]

1. Entire loss or ruin; utter destruction; as the perdition of the Turkish fleet.

[In this sense, the word is now nearly or wholly obsolete.]

2. The utter loss of the soul or of final happiness in a future state; future misery or eternal death. The impenitent sinner is condemned to final perdition.

If we reject the truth, we seal our own perdition.

3. Loss. [Not used.]

Revelation 17:8 The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition. And those who dwell on the earth will marvel, whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, when they see the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

Revelation 17:14  These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful."

It would be easy for someone to read these verses and think, “I would never be taken away by such deception and evil.” However, the truth is, people marvel at the feats of Chris Angel and other magicians, people flood in to the false teaching churches that tickle their ears, and people prefer to feed their flesh with everything the world wets our appetite with such as pornography, alcohol, drugs, career, sports, travel, or anything else that gets in between us and serving God. Satan has not yet been allowed to give us his best shot at deception, yet people really think that they will not fall prey to his schemes? The only way you can stand against the wiles of the devil is committing yourself to putting on the full armor of God every day.

Ephesians 6:10-19 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—



Friday, October 28, 2011

Is repentance really that big of a deal?


There are three things that really jump out at me in Revelation chapter 16. One-God pours out His Wrath in increased intensity and ultimately His complete and final Wrath will be poured out on the earth and all its inhabitants. Two-at every stage that His Wrath is poured out, men are still given the opportunity to repent. Three-although God is Righteous and Just in pouring out His Wrath, men will still continue to blaspheme His Name.

It is not a matter of “if”, it is a matter of when:
Revelation 16:1  Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, "Go and pour out the bowls of the wrath of God on the earth."

Revelation 16:9  And men were scorched with great heat, and they blasphemed the name of God who has power over these plagues; and they did not repent and give Him glory.

Revelation 16:11  They blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and did not repent of their deeds.

Once again, God’s Word makes it clear how important it is to repent….if you haven’t yet, why not?

The dragon, the beast and the false prophet will perform signs and the demonic forces will be intense; but the Victor has already been Crowned and the final “battle” will be over at the sound of His voice:

Revelation 16:13-17 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 14 For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. 15 "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." 16 And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon. 17 Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, "It is done!"

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Will Jesus be in hell?


Hi everyone! I have to admit, the main reason I have been a little inconsistent with my posts is because I am finding the later chapters of Revelation very intimidating. I am reading, re-reading, and re-reading some more; praise God I am getting more each time.

In any case, if you’ve been rolling with me through the New Testament, after today we will only have seven chapters left since I am going to go through chapters 14 and 15 today.

It doesn’t seem that Revelation is giving events chronologically and I am not sure how and when verse six happens, but it does put to rest the age old argument, “what about the people who have never heard about Jesus?”

Revelation 14:6 Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people—

The instruction that the angel in verse 6 gives is about as simple and straight forward as you can get; 1) Fear God 2) Give Him Glory 3) Judgment is coming 4) Worship Him 5) He made everything:

Revelation 14:7 saying with a loud voice, "Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water."

Clearly the warning and instruction of the angel in verses 6 and 7 was not heeded, thus a second angel gives the result and assurance of victory that belongs to the Lord:

Revelation 14:8 And another angel followed, saying, "Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication."

Babylon is most likely referring to the false religions and other idolatry the world bows down to instead of fearing, glorifying, or worshipping the One True God that made the Heavens and the Earth. Notice how not only will these things get tore down, but those that have given themselves over to them will experience the Wrath of God that is due to them for pride-fully ignoring the warnings of Almighty God.

I used to think that hell was a place where God was not present. Verses 9-11 put that assumption to rest. Make no mistake, the blessings of God will be removed from all who inhabit hell, but it seems clear that Jesus and His Holy Angels will be there:

Revelation 14:9-11 Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, "If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name."

I don’t think any of us can get our mind around never ending torment; however, God gives us just a sliver of the anguish in these verses. Even if we can’t understand the “full strength” of God’s Wrath, we can relate to being without rest to some extent. When people speak of being in captivity there seems to be one thing that is worse than everything else and that is sleep deprivation. When someone is completely exhausted and they are not allowed rest they get crazy; but in hell there is no rest and there is no insanity because an insane mind would be a form of rest from reality and it is clear that there is NO REST day or night, forever.

God then gives us a contrast with the same line of thinking. Those who obey God and put their faith in Jesus Christ will be given rest from their labors:

Revelation 14:12-13 Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. 13 Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, "Write: 'Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.' " "Yes," says the Spirit, "that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them."

The rest of chapter 14 gives us the imagery of Jesus taking in the harvest; some to eternal Life and some to eternal death. Then chapter 15 begins with John saying another sign he seen was “great and marvelous”. When I read that I was thinking, “everything we’ve read so far is pretty great and marvelous” what is so much more so that John would describe it in this way; answer, “the Wrath of God is complete”:

Revelation 15:1 Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous: seven angels having the seven last plagues, for in them the wrath of God is complete.

Isn’t that amazing to consider? Most pulpits today will not speak of the Wrath of God, yet John speaks of the complete Wrath of God being great and marvelous.

Then look at the scene of those that have victory over the beast!

Revelation 15:2-4 And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God. 3 They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying: "Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints! 4 Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. For all nations shall come and worship before You, For Your judgments have been manifested."

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

"It" is given its power by Satan

Revelation 13 starts with some very detailed symbolism. Whether verses 1 and 2 describe a person, a world government, a nation, or anything else…..I don’t know. Most of us have heard the various speculations, the most popular being the Left Behind Series; however, I have no idea what the true meaning of this symbolism is…but I do know, whatever “it” is….:it" is given its power by Satan:

Revelation 13:1-2  Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name. 2  Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority.

There are a few HUGE things to consider here.  First, signs and wonders WILL BE DONE and Jesus warns us not to be deceived:

Matthew 24:23-25  "Then if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or 'There!' do not believe it. 24  For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25  See, I have told you beforehand.

Revelation 13:13-15  He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. 14  And he deceives those who dwell on the earth—by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived. 15  He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed.

The elect will not be deceived, but those that prefer unrighteousness will prefer to believe the lie and God will send them delusion because they take such pleasure in their life of sin:

2Thessalonains 2:7-12 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

The thing that is made clear throughout God’s Word is also made clear here: some are saved and some are condemned….whichever side of the Cross you are on, the end of the story has been told…Jesus wins….it is not even a fight….the brightness of His appearing will destroy Satan and all lovers and workers of darkness.

Those that are on earth for His coming will experience anguish like no other time in history…these people will not only deny Christ and worship the beast, but they will foolishly and boldly say that no one can make war with the beast:

Revelation 13:4 So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?"

It is interesting that in the big picture of eternity that Satan is only allowed…yes he is allowed, by God….he is still God’s devil on a chain….he is only allowed his position of authority for 42 months.  Although there will be most that bow down and worship Satan, not all will…and Satan will be allowed to make war and defeat the saints:

Revelation 13:7 It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation.

To recap: Satan will be allowed to give power to the beast (whatever or whoever that is)…the beast will perform signs and wonders….he will also demand the worship of everyone or they will be killed….people will be forced to take the mark of the beast or they will not be able to buy or sell.

Revelation 13:16-17 He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, 17 and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

So that leads to the obvious question….which line will you be in? The line that refuses to worship the beast unto death. The line that refuses to take his mark which will also, probably, lead to death…but will definitely lead to eternal condemnation?

Some reading that might say…”Come on, you don’t really believe all that stuff do you?” To them I would ask another question….Has God ever lied? He gave us His prophetic Word to show His authority and Divinity…are you going to doubt Him now because all this sounds strange to you?  Peter talks about preparing our mind for action…you need to prepare your mind for how you will respond to these circumstances should you find yourself forced to decide between life unto death; or death unto life?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Satan cast out of Heaven...now what?


I think Revelation 12:1-5 seems to be referring to Lucifer’s rebellion in Heaven(along with a third of the angels); and his attempt to destroy the Son of God as soon as He is manifest in human form:

Revelation 12:1-5 Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars. 2 Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth. 3 And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. 4 His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born. 5 She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne.

It seems that John is not writing in chronological order because in verse 7 he is writing about when Lucifer was first thrown to the earth, along with those angels that rebelled with him:

Revelation 12:7-8 And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, 8 but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer.

We know that Satan was defeated in Heaven, we know that he was defeated when Jesus was born, lived a sinless life, was crucified, and rose on the third day. Satan was and remains defeated; however, he has waged war against all the saints (followers of Jesus Christ). Satan is allowed to accuse the brethren before God day and night. WOW! Satan is allowed to accuse the brethren before God day and night!?!

Revelation 12:9-10 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. 10  Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, "Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.

But the accusations amount to nothing because those that put their trust in Jesus Christ and His Blood Sacrifice love Him more than they love their own life and are willing to demonstrate that faith and love unto death if necessary:

Revelation 12:11  And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.

Does this mean Satan has given up and is curled up in his bottomless pit? Not a chance!

Revelation 12:12  Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time."

Revelation 12:17  And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

1Peter 5:6-9  Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. 8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9  Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.