Posts Tagged ‘Tribulation’

The Truth: ‘2014 The Most Lethal Year For Global Terrorism In The 45 Years Such Data Has Been Compiled.’ Versus Obama/Democrat LIES

February 27, 2015

Jesus summed up my central problem with Barack Hussein Obama:

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” — John 8:32

And:

“For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” — John 18:37

Barack Obama has long-since dedicated his life to being Lucifer’s stooge in order to prevent as many people – and the whole world – from recognizing the truth, understanding the truth, believing the truth.  He has surrounded himself with like-minded demon-possessed LIARS like John Kerry and Susan Rice and whoever is his blathering mouthpiece at the moment in the White House Press Secretary position.

It is as simple as truth versus reality:

Intel chief says 2014 deadliest year for terror ever recorded, in counter to upbeat Kerry
Published February 26, 2015
·FoxNews.com

The top U.S. intelligence official on Thursday gave a drastically different assessment than Secretary of State John Kerry of the terror threat — declaring 2014 the deadliest year for global terrorism ever recorded, after Kerry claimed that threat was diminishing.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, testifying on Capitol Hill, catalogued the growing terror-fueled violence in stark terms.

“When the final accounting is done, 2014 will have been the most lethal year for global terrorism in the 45 years such data has been compiled,” Clapper told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

He offered statistics that would appear to challenge other administration officials’ claims that the country and world are safer today.

A day earlier, Kerry testified at a separate hearing that, “Despite ISIL, despite the visible killings that you see and how horrific they are, we are actually living in a period of less daily threat to Americans and to people in the world than normally; less deaths, less violent deaths today, than through the last century.”

That prompted a quick response from lawmakers and from inside the intelligence community.

Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn , former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told Fox News that Kerry is “out of touch with reality, he clearly is not listening to the entire U.S. intelligence community.”

Clapper on Thursday said that in 2013, about 11,500 worldwide attacks killed about 22,000 people. But in the first nine months alone of 2014, he said, preliminary data from a University of Maryland research unit show nearly 13,000 attacks killed 31,000 people.

Half of those attacks and fatalities were in Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan, he said. He said the Islamic State conducted more attacks than any other terror group in those first nine months.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, asked Thursday about the apparent discrepancy in the two officials’ remarks, said he thinks Kerry was referring to the success in pressuring ISIS leadership.

I can only guess that the White House Secretary of Lies was referring to the fact that if Obama pronounces Islamic State a “JV team,” then a JV team they shall forever remain.  Just keep lying and lying and then lying some more.  And of course as the Democrat – Hillary Clinton – who will take over the role of “Liar in Chief,” put it, “What difference does it make?”

Barack Obama is the living embodiment of the Big Brother mindset:

“WAR IS PEACE,” “FREEDOM IS SLAVERY,” “IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH”

“War IS peace” under the cancer of this presidency.  Because there is war all around us, with our enemies dedicated to the proposition of destroying us and enslaving those whom they don’t crucify, behead, bury alive, or burn alive.

If Obama’s policy isn’t “Ignorance is strength,” then why has he been saying so many transparently false things and telling his professional liars to go on the airwaves to repeat those lies over and over and over again?

And you just watch Obama’s avalanche of taxesattack against profitregulations, penalties, bureaucratic Stalinism (whether you’re talking about the FCC, the EPA, the NLRB, etc.), an unprecedented attack on a previously free press, to see that Obama believes that “Freedom is slavery.”  This is a man who believes as Stalin believed that he has the right – because there is no “God” but GOVERNMENT – to DICTATE to us and IMPOSE on us what our “rights” are and what our “freedoms” are.  Because “Freedom is slavery” to this forerunner of the coming Antichrist who will follow in Obama’s example as the ultimate “freedom is slavery” tyrant.

Two hundred thousand human beings have been butchered in Syria in the climate of Obama’s cowardly and dishonest “red line” (that has made us an unfeared, pathetic joke among our enemies) and some four million human beings have fled.  We have established under this presidency the largest caliphate – now literally the TWO largest caliphates – dedicated to genocide and slavery in the entire history of planet earth.  We have wars and rumors of wars.  And Obama is making the following pronouncements:

“I mean, the truth of the matter is that for all the challenges we face, all the problems that we have, if you had to be — if you had to choose any moment to be born in human history, not knowing what your position was going to be, who you were going to be, you’d choose this time. The world is less violent than it has ever been. It is healthier than it has ever been. It is more tolerant than it has ever been. It is better fed then it’s ever been. It is more educated than it’s ever been.”

He is a pathologically dishonest liar who has surrounded himself with pathologically dishonest liars.

The Bible described this moment thousands of years ago:

“They offer superficial treatments for my people’s mortal wound. They give assurances of peace when there is no peace.” — Jeremiah 6:14

I am declaring for you with all the force of the prophets who declared the Word of God, Democrat, that hell is coming for you.  There is a moment coming when you shall stand before a just and holy God before His Great White Throne and FIRE will be pouring out of the wheels of that chariot throne as God requires you to give an account for why you personally participated in the murder of more than sixty million innocent human beings AND COUNTING in Democrat abortion mills.  Because if you ever ONCE voted “Democrat” you voted for abortion.  God is going to hold you to account for your sticking your middle finger up at God and screaming, “God ahead and burn me according to your Word!  But I want homosexual sodomy to be imposed on my nation!”  God is going to hold you to account for your refusal to help God’s saints of whom He declared “The world was not worthy of them”:

There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection.  Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment.  They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated–the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground. — Hebrews 11:35a-39

As we speak, Christians are being tortured and murdered and persecuted in greater numbers than they have ever been in all human history –  as we speak Islamic State is threatening to murder more than 200 Christians after having mass-beheaded 21 Christians whom Obama cowardly and dishonestly referred to as “Egyptian citizens” to cover-up the crime of people he won’t call “Islamic” against victims he won’t identify as Christians and Jews.  The enemies of God are burning God’s people alive and you won’t lift a finger to help them.  And YOU’RE going to burn alive for your cowardice and cynicism and wickedness.

You go ahead and call yourself a “Christian” the way Barack Obama says he’s a “Christian” after rejecting the Bible’s message that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life and no one comes to the Father except by Him and instead believes in a demonic “social gospel” of “collective salvation” that fixates not just on works but on the work of human government to impose a welfare state.  You go ahead and call yourself a “Christian” and confidently declare that God hates babies and that you were a good person for having millions of babies murdered in abortion-genocide.  You go ahead and preach that more dead babies than any time in human history is actually a good thing that God smiles down upon in spite of what His Word declares.  You go ahead and assure me that God loves homosexuality in spite of everything His Word declares to the contrary.  You go ahead and preach that the depraved elevation of homosexuality beyond anything a depraved world ever did in all of history is a good thing.

You go ahead and burn in hell with your false messiah.

The Bible prophetically declares in advance that the Tribulation that will be the wrath of God on a godless world will officially begin when Israel signs a seven-year covenant with the world political leader that the Bible calls the “Antichrist” and “the beast.”  And we can easily see that this administration under Obama and the godless stench of the Obama presidency has pushed Israel to the point where they will look around and see NO ONE to help them.  The United States – Israel’s staunchest ally – has under Obama turned against Israel and is actively helping Iran to ultimately obtain nuclear weapons and the ballistic missiles to deliver them.  And it is because of YOU, Democrat, it is because of YOU, progressive liberal, it is because of YOU, secular progressive, that Israel will sign that covenant with the beast.

Eternity itself will literally not last long enough for you to suffer for what you’ve done and the unholy LIES you participated in and supported and voted for.

Soon – I believe in our lifetimes – a man is coming who will offer you everything Obama promised and then some.  The Bible calls him the “beast,” and he will give you Democrats and progressive liberals and secular humanists the ultimate big government that you have yearned for.  And the Bible promises that you will burn in hell with him and share his judgment.

Hell is coming for you.  You still have time to repent.  But you will not repent because your soul swims in the lies of the world, the flesh and the devil.

 

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What Is The Purpose Of The Millennium? Why Will Christ Reign On Earth For One Thousand Years?

February 19, 2013

What is the “Millennium” that is repeatedly referred to (six times in Revelation chapter 20) in the Book of Revelation?

Well, the Latin word “Millennium” itself provides much of the answer: “mille” means “one thousand” and “annum” means “years.”  One thousand years.  Sadly, what is quite clear in Scripture is largely denied by the majority of the last days Church.  “One thousand years” doesn’t mean “one thousand years”; it becomes a metaphor for something else; it’s all just smoke-and-mirrors symbolism.  And Revelation becomes an incomprehensible book that is better left unread because Amillennialists have muddied and distorted it until it is nigh impossible to explain.

For the record, “Amillennialism” means “no thousand years” even though Revelation chapter 20 specifically refers to “a thousand years” six different times.  How did such a bizarre doctrine form?

During the time of the great Christian scholar Augustine in the fifth century AD, there was no Israel, there had been no Israel for centuries and there was no apparent hope of there ever being a national Israel.  And so many passages in Revelation that made crystal clear sense in light of a national Israel made no sense at all without a national Israel; and we needed symbolism to understand what apparently could not be understood literally.  If there were no Israel, as I shall explain in this article, there would clearly be no reason whatsoever to have a Millennium.  And since there was no Israel when this theology was written, Israel was literally written out and allegory and metaphor was literally written in in Israel’s place.  And since “Israel” was merely a word that had been redefined to mean something else, why not do the same thing with the words “thousand years”???

Tragically, many of these amillennialist denominations have largely abandoned the true faith in favor of secular humanism and political correctness.  And that happened largely because nothing literally meant anything on their interpretations any more – and even the Resurrection of Christ became another allegory or metaphor rather than a literal event in history.

I argue that this is a lack of faith on man’s part rather than a lack of ability to perform a miracle on God’s part.  Ezekiel chapter 37 prophecies a national rebirth of Israel from “dead bones.”  And that is precisely what happened as a people who were nearly destroyed in the Holocaust – with the survivors being transformed into living skeletons due to starvation and disease – in 1948 as Israel miraculously became a nation after two thousand years of exile.  During those two thousand years, Jews who clung to the promises of God would say every year in conclusion of the Seder, “Next year in Jerusalem!”  And Bible-believing Christians always believed that with them.

Amillennialists want to depict premillennialism (the belief in a literal 1,000 year rule of Christ on earth) and dispensationalism (the belief that God has been dispensing or administering His revelation according to His own will and according to various stages of human history) as something that was developed in the mind of one man named Charles Nelson Darby in the late 19th century.  But that simply isn’t true.  In fact, the doctrines that fly in the face of the amillennialist system have been around for centuries and in fact predate amillennialism.  You can go back to Romans chapter 11 to see that Israel – yes, national Israel – would be saved.  Romans 11:26 very specifically says “all Israel will be saved.”  And there is no rational definition of “all Israel” that does not include the nation of Israel.  And for “all Israel” – very much including the nation of Israel – to be saved, it would have to actually somehow EXIST.  Which happened on May 14, 1948.  Exactly as those who took the Bible literally held to a literal nation of Israel and a literal Millennium said would happen for centuries prior to 1948 and continued to say right up to that historic day on May 14.

On May 14, 1948, those who clung to a literal Millennium and a literal Israel were proven right.  And those who denied the Millennium and denied national Israel were proven wrong.

Why is the existence of Israel crucial to the belief in a one thousand-year Millennium during which Jesus Christ will physically rule and reign over the earth from His Davidic throne in Jerusalem?  For one reason: the Millennium is the time when Messiah will fulfill EVERY SINGLE promise He made to His people Israel.

In the Old Testament, God’s promises to His people for faithful obedience were very literal and very material.  He promised them the land of Canaan as an everlasting possession (see Gen 12:1-7;  22:17 cf Numbers 26:52-56); He promised them material abundance and long physical lives on earth (Isaiah 65:17-23).  But most of all they were promised that their Messiah would rule and reign over the nations among them on the throne of David in Jerusalem (2 Samuel 7:12-16; Micah 4:1-5; Zechariah 6:13).  The very nature of nature itself will be profoundly altered during this period, such that the wolf will lay down with the lamb (Isaiah 11:6; 65:25).

Amillennialists want to allegorize such verses and claim that they refer to heaven.  But when Isaiah 65:20 teaches that a person who dies before the age of a hundred will be presumed to have been cursed for his sins, how can that possibly refer to “heaven”?  This is clearly a reference to a very clearly literal Millennium period during which Jesus Christ shall physically rule from Jerusalem just as the Scriptures consistently claim.

During the Tribulation all Israel – national Israel – will be saved.  God has a purpose for the Tribulation to bring grace to His people and He will bring grace to His genetic people Israel just as He promised.  They will see their Messiah and mourn and weep as they would for a lost son and they shall repent as a people and be saved (Zechariah 12:10).  And during the Millennium Jesus Christ, King of kings and Lord of lords, shall rule over the nations for one thousand years from the city of Jerusalem and from the throne of David – just as God promised His people Israel.

And every single promise God made to His people Israel He shall fulfill.  Because the God who is faithful to His Church will be faithful to the people through whom God gave birth to the Church.

I find it interesting that King David ruled Israel very nearly exactly one thousand years prior to the coming of Jesus of Nazareth to die for the sins of the world as in His First Advent as Messiah.  The nation of Israel almost immediately stumbled into sin.  Even King David himself had to be judged for gross sin (2 Samuel 12; 2 Samuel 24).  During the Millennium, Jesus Christ will show Israel how He would have blessed them if they had obeyed His Word.  Jesus will heal Israel for a thousand years of disobedience by giving them a thousand years of blessing.  That, I believe, is the ultimate purpose of the Millennium.

But just as with the Tribulation, God has a secondary purpose for the world.

At the very beginning of the Millennium, God sends an archangel to bind Satan and throw him into the abyss for the duration of the Millennium (Rev 20:1-3) so that he cannot deceive the nations to pursue evil.  At the end of the Millennium, Satan is released (Rev 20:7).

So why is Satan bound for a thousand years only to be released in Rev. 20?  Just as God gives sinful man his chance to “have it his own way” during the Tribulation in order to reveal in history that man simply cannot make it without Jesus Christ, so also does God give the human race in the Millennial Kingdom this “opportunity” to turn their backs on Jesus.  By releasing Satan, God demonstrates in human history that as long as man has a choice – even with Christ physically ruling over him in Jerusalem – sinful man will always choose evil.  The wicked always have an excuse for their wickedness; they will claim now that God was not visible enough for them.  But even when God is so visible He is literally reigning over them in Jerusalem for every human eye to see, they will still rebel against God the moment they have a chance to hear the devil’s lies.  Sin is not the unfortunate result of poverty or our environment; it is the result of our fallen nature apart from Christ.  And so even the Millennium Kingdom – as idyllic as it is compared with the world Christ just saved at the end of the Tribulation – is not ultimately adequate.  We need the ultimate state of heaven where God will confirm us in our righteousness and where no Satan can ever tread.  That’s why.

If you have the kind of faith by which God will save your soul from hell, you do not need to see God with your physical eyes.  If you do not have such faith, you will not believe even if God is right in front of you.  It is ultimately not the lies of the devil which snare us, but our own propensity toward wickedness that makes us beings who want to be deceived with lies because we do not love the truth as embodied in Jesus Christ.

In the end, God stands as always true to His Word, while Satan will ultimately burn forever in hell as the great deceiver who always encouraged fallen man to live down to his lowest common denominator of sin.

What Is The Purpose Of The Tribulation? Why Does God Allow The World To Go Through Hell On Earth?

February 19, 2013

Have you ever read the Book of Revelation?  The four horsemen of the Apocalypse, trumpet judgments bowl judgments and seal judgments galore.  The sun like sackcloth and the full moon like blood.  Stars falling from the sky and poisoning the water.  Armies of hundreds of millions of demonic men facing off across a nuclear battlefield at Armageddon.  The Great and terrible day of the LORD.  Treading whole armies in a bloody winepress of wrath.  Really bad stuff.

Why does God let all that happen???

But, you see, God DOES say it will all happen, that and a lot more.  He said it would happen through the prophet Daniel, through Jesus Himself and through His apostle, St. John.

But why does God’s Word say that the human race will come to such a violent, fire-back-with-every-nuke-we’ve-got end?

Let me give you the two primary reasons.

First is the fact that God will ultimately allow secular humanism to have their experiment with big government socialism.  He will take the Church – consisting of every believing Christian on earth – out of the picture and allow sinful man to have his way in the form of the ultimate dictator whom the world will literally worship.  At this point, you’ve got your liberals who believe in government-created Utopia saying that they could turn the world around and create a paradise if it weren’t for those Bible-banging fundamentalist right wingers who disapprove of abortion and homosexuality and socialism and all the things they love so much.  Bible-believing Christians are “obstructionists” who are blocking human progress toward a better world.

What I’m telling you is that God will give them their chance.  And instead of their big government one-world socialist Utopia, what they’re going to produce is hell on earth in only seven years’ time.

Right now they believe they could have a “Star Trek” version of history reaching out into the stars; instead, when Jesus comes and destroys them in their hate and fury, He will literally come to save planet earth from a crazed human race bent on mutually assured destruction as long as they can kill their enemies.

The Tribulation is a foretaste of hell for an unbelieving world that will accuse God of not letting them know what is coming due to their wickedness and their unrepentance.

In the end, before the Great White Throne Judgment in which all the unbelievers on earth will finally reap the hell in eternity they sowed in their time on earth, no one will be able to say that his or her way worked better than God’s way.  The laboratory of the world itself will have proven them wrong.

The second reason God allows the Tribulation is even more fundamental.  Why will the Christ-rejecting world go through Tribulation?  Because that’s what it will take to finally bring the Jews – the apple of God’s eye (Zech 2:8) – into the true Messiah Jesus’ sheepfold (John 10:1-18).  Does Jesus have other sheep (John 10:16)?  Yes, He has His Church.  But consider the lost sheep of Luke 15:3-7; when one sheep was lost, the good Shepherd leaves the other ninety-nine to find that sheep and rejoices when He returns it to its fold.  So also is Messiah with His people Israel.  They are few compared to the Gentile Church; but Messiah loves them passionately and will not abandon His nation Israel to hell.

We find that in the Tribulation the Satan-possessed Antichrist has a special hatred for Israel and a special desire to persecute them (Rev 12).  God raises up His 144,000 Jews from each of the Twelve Tribes who are like 144,000 Billy Grahams to Israel.  They begin to evangelize Jews after the Rapture of the Church (Rev 7:3-8); God is NEVER left without a witness.  And ultimately God keeps His people the Jews safe at a place called Petra (see Rev 7:13-16).

Ultimately, when Messiah appears as King of kings and as Lord of lords, He goes to Petra and releases the Jews from their place of refuge.  And just short of too late Israel will look upon Him whom they rejected and mourn for Him as for a lost Son (Zechariah 12:10).  And thus all Israel shall be saved (Romans 11:25-32).

Just as it took the Holocaust to bring about the restoration of national Israel, so it will ultimately take the Tribulation to bring Israel to national repentance and worship of her Messiah.  Always remember that God is the Hound of Heaven, and just as He will do whatever it takes to bring you to salvation and Heaven, so also will He be just as faithful to His people the Jews.

As a Christian, when I look at a Jew, I look upon a lost brother who is dearly loved by my Father.  The miraculous rebirth of national Israel – born from dead bones (see Ezekiel 37) – was part of God’s plan which God will bring to fruition at the end of the Tribulation.

A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 21-22

January 29, 2013

Part One – A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 1-3

Part Two – A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 4-5

Part Three: A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 6-7

Part Four: A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 8-9

Part Five: A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 10-11

Part Six: A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 12-13

Part Seven: A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 14-15

Part Eight: A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 16-18

Part Nine: A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 19-20

A quick recap: right now we are in the age of grace or the Church Age which will end at the Rapture.  Sometime after the Rapture the world will enter the seven years of the Tribulation, which God will use to bring His plan for the world and for the Jewish people to fulfillment.  After Christ returns as King of kings He will establish His literal physical 1,000 year Kingdom on Earth.  And last time we ended considering the Millennium Reign of Christ on earth as He sat on the throne of David in the city of Jerusalem.  Which demands the question: why is Jesus ruling in Jerusalem and not Washington or Cairo or somewhere else?  Because the entire purpose of the Millennium is to fulfill every single one of God’s earthly, geographical, physical promises to Israel.  They were promised a literal, geographic land with specified boundaries (Ezek 48): God will fulfill that promise literally.  They were promised material abundance and blessing and complete peace and safety after thousands of years of shabby treatment by the world.  Christ will fulfill these promises literally.  They were promised an exalted place among the nations; Christ will fulfill that because the nations will have to come up to Jerusalem to see the God that the Jews told them about.  And we saw the Millennium end with the war of Gog and Magog.

Gog and Magog are different and yet the same as the Gog and Magog of Ezekiel 38-39.  They are different in that the war of Rev 20 is NOT the same war as the war prophesied in Ezekiel 38-39.  They are the same in that the final war that will occur at the end of the Millennium manifests the same TYPE of hatred and rebellion as will be displayed during the war of Gog and Magog from Ezekiel 38-39.  What happens in Ezekiel is that Russia, Iran and a coalition of Islamic nations will attack Israel with the intent of annihilating her sometime between now and the end of the Tribulation.  And God will step in and utterly destroy that army.  And later, at the end of the Millennium, Satan – who hates Israel – will incite the SAME sort of attempt to destroy God’s people Israel.  And when Christ obliterates that attack before it even gets off the ground, and shortly afterward this present world will be destroyed.  Because as long as Satan is able to accomplish his desires, there always has been and always shall be a special hatred for Israel, for Jews, for the people of God and for the God of the Bible.  Some things just never change.

As we saw last week, near the end of the Millennium Satan will be loosed from the bottomless pit and he will immediately get to work showing that human nature is ultimately perverted and sinful – even with God personally ruling amongst us.  Satan will inspire the revolt that hearkens us back to Gog and Magog, Christ will destroy that rebellion, and the Millennium will end with the Great White Throne Judgment in which all sinful humanity will be resurrected to stand before God and give his or her account.  I’m hoping you’ll take my word for it when I tell you that you WON’T want to be there.

I also want to point out that when Jesus said, “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places,” He was not referring to earth during the Millennium as our homes.  I have no doubt that we will be part of what goes on on the earth during the Millennium, but this earth is not our home: the new heaven and the new earth of Rev 21:1 is.  And while this present Jerusalem (which will be rebuilt in the Millennium per Ezek 48:30-34) is specially and uniquely promised to the Jews, the New Jerusalem (Rev 21:10,15-16) will be for all of Messiah’s redeemed believers.  And as a 1,400 mile long, high and wide pyramid or cube, there will be plenty of room for each one of Christ’s people to have his own piece of Jerusalem just as Christ promised us.  Because it will have 1.125 billion cubic miles of volume!  Scientists say that about 70 billion people have lived on Earth until now. So even if a full third of them were Christians, that would mean that there would be about 23 billion Christians in the Heavenly City, or 20 Christians per cubic mile! With 10-foot ceilings, that could make about 500 floors with one square mile of floor space per floor, or 500 square miles of floor space for only 20 people–or 25 square miles per person!  Sound spacious enough?  Now consider there also won’t be any oceans (which comprise about 72% of earth’s surface) taking up space to realize how incredibly spacious this New Earth will be!  When the KJV translated Jesus’ word as “mansions,” they weren’t wrong, aside that no mansion was ever so spacious or so wondrous.  When Jesus said He was going to prepare a place for us, I think we should take that as meaning that this city is about ready for occupancy right now!  The New Jerusalem may well “orbit” above the earth during the Millennium.

Rev 20:4 is a great verse for a funeral.  That’s because it provides so much comfort.  All of our guilt and grief and suffering is temporary and transitory.  It’s not the way God created man to be and it will all end.  Deep down we know that we were made for a better world than this.  There’s something in every human soul that cries out for justice and peace that is simply impossible to attain in this world.  It’s an evidence that man was created for a better world – unless you’ve see chickens looking around and saying, “Wait!  This is all so UNFAIR!  Our lives ought to be better than this!  Where’s God? Cluck cluck.”

And something else is amazing: all claims of atheists and evolutionists to the contrary, man does have a soul.  One of the things that makes abortion so evil is you are killing the physical body of a human soul. And just as the soul is part of a human fetus as our bodies are developing in the womb, it is in the same way that part of us that enables us to survive the death of our physical bodies.  And in our human souls we can imagine the death of our bodies.  Think about it, if atheism is true and there is no God and if evolution is true and man is just a microbe that randomly mutated and evolved, then “life after death” is impossible.  It’s similar to trying to imagine a square circle; it’s a category fallacy that cannot possibly exist.  Atheists say life after death is exactly like that.  And yet I CAN imagine my body dying and yet I continue to exist (watch me: I’m doing it right now).  Let me also point out that my dog – as high up as it is on the evolutionary ladder – can’t do that.  I watch the sun set at night; my dog sees it get dark.  We are truly categorically different than the animals in a way that can only be explained by the Imago Dei (Gen 1:27).  And one of the most blessed ways that we can know that we were created in an eternal God’s image is the fact that “He has planted eternity in the human heart” (Ecc 3:11).  We can see Rev 21 and 22 in our hearts; we can taste it.  We can see ourselves there in bodies that will be everlasting.

Isn’t the picture of this New Jerusalem beautiful?  It will be made of “pure gold, as clear as glass” (Rev 21:18).  What will it be like to look through gold?  Can you imagine the stunning lighting effect that would create?  In our eternity, we won’t have anything that we would ever want to hide from anybody.  I imagine the ultimate purpose of this translucent city that “shone with the glory of God” (Rev 21:11) is so that everybody will be able to look at Jesus any time they want from wherever they are!  We’ll also be able to see if one another is home so we can pop in for a visit!  Make sure to have snacks if I drop by.

I find it interesting that the foundations of the city have the names of the apostles and the twelve gates have the names of the twelve tribes.  Think of this as “foundation” and “access.”  Jesus said to the Samaritan woman, “Salvation is from the Jews” (John 4:22), meaning that it was through the Jews that God provided man with access to God.  But was it the Jewish Levitical system that was the foundation for this salvation?  No, the foundation was ALWAYS Christ.  Messiah was always the foundation of salvation even in the Old Testament (Psalm 118:22-23 and Isa 28:16 cf. Matt 21:42 and Acts 4:1), and we know that it was always the Blood of Jesus that the animal sacrifice pointed to (Heb 10:4).  And we know that Abraham, the Father of the Jews and of God’s spiritual people, “was looking forward to the city with foundations, shoes architect and builder is God” (Heb 11:10).  When you enter the New Jerusalem, you will access through the gates (go through the Jews) to stand on a city with the apostles representing Jesus serving as the foundation.

Rev 21 says the old earth “passed away.”  Peter tells that it is destroyed by fire (2 Pet 3:7).  Interesting that this is now the very way astronomers universally affirm that earth will ultimately be destroyed: by the sun going supernova and being burned up with fire.  Similarly, Christ is described in Colossians 1:17 as “holding all things together.”  Christ literally is the mysterious strong force discovered in the 1970s that keeps every atom from flying apart – and one day He will allow the stars to collapse and this universe to end merely by withholding His power.  John MacArthur asks how long it takes God to create the New Heaven and the New Earth: do you get the sense that it takes Him 14 billion years to pull that off here?  If you tend to believe in an “old earth” as opposed to young earth creationism, all I ask is that you make sure you don’t forget that if God wanted to create the world in six literal days, He could do it.  If He wanted to create the world in six ages that may have taken billions of years each, He could do that, too.  We shouldn’t make this such a divisive issue – and it’s too bad that people who believe that “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”(Gen 1:1) can’t unite and oppose the real enemy.

A little Christology is in order.  What is the nature of Christ?  Rev 21-22 makes it rather clear: He is God in the Second Person of the Trinity.  Note Rev 22:13 and the declaration, “I am the Alpha and the Omega.”  Who is speaking?  Verse 16 makes it crystal clear: Jesus is speaking.  He says, “I,  Jesus, have sent My angel.”  Well, interestingly, in Rev 22:5-6 we have “He who was seated on the throne” – GOD – saying, “I am the Alpha and the Omega.”  And while Jesus says it’s His angel in Rev 22:16, Rev 22:6 says it’s “the Lord God” who sent His angel.  And Rev 22:12-13 makes clear that it is Jesus who AGAIN is called the Alpha and the Omega, because He’s the One who’s coming quickly (not God the Father).  What is this clearly stating about Jesus Christ?  How could somebody even BEthe Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End” as Rev 22:13 says Jesus declares Himself to be and NOT be God???  How for instance would Jesus as the self-described “the Beginning and the End” not be able to “make known the end from the beginning” as Isaiah 46:10 says God does?  How is Jesus as “the First and the Last” here NOT the same “the first and the last” as described by Isaiah 44:6?  The picture is complete in the fact that the angel refuses John’s worship, because worship is for God alone.  Yet Jesus is worthy to receive worship (Rev 5).  A lovely little poem sums up what took place at Calvary: “He came to die on a cross of wood, yet made the hill on which it stood.”  In the Incarnation, Christ – the Word (John 1:1-9) added a human nature to His deity so that He could live as one of us and die in our place for us.  He alone made salvation possible.  We can all go to heaven if we would just go to the feet of Jesus on the cross.  It was Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross that all sacrifices in the Old Testament pointed to.

When the voice from the throne of God says, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them” (Rev 21:3), He fulfills through the Word Jesus (John 1:14) the work He began in the Levitical system pictured in Tabernacle.  Jesus told us He was going to prepare a place for us, so that we could with Him (John 14:1-3).  We will finally be able to see God face to face (1 John 3:2) because Christ will make us like Himself in everything but His deity.  Right now, we see dimly, but soon, very soon, we will be able to clearly see and understand our God “face to face” (1 Cor 13:12).  And we realize that God is using this world – warts and all – to shape and prepare us for the next one that will last forever.  If nothing else, this world teaches us to yearn for the glorious world that awaits us thanks to Jesus Christ.

A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 19-20

January 22, 2013

Part One – A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 1-3

Part Two – A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 4-5

Part Three: A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 6-7

Part Four: A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 8-9

Part Five: A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 10-11

Part Six: A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 12-13

Part Seven: A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 14-15

Part Eight: A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 16-18

Rev 19 presents the stark contrast of two feasts, two responses and two rewards representing the fruits of two worldviews.  On one worldview, you are preparing for the most anticipated and blessed feast in history: the marriage supper of the Lamb; you have a spontaneous thunder of praise and adoration for the Messiah who made your attendance at that Millennium Kingdom feast possible; and you have the reward of a dazzling white robe as Jesus’ worshipers enter their new heavenly forever.  Representing the fruits of the other worldview is a grotesque feast of vultures feeding on the flesh of armies united against God (Rev 19:18); you have a hail of bullets, missiles and curses hurled at Jesus as He returns as King of kings and Lord of lords; and you have a river of blood and hundreds of millions of souls bound for hell to join the billions waiting for their sentence.  For sheer drama, it doesn’t get any better than that!

In terms of chronology, ch. 19 picks up where ch. 16 left off.  Recall that we saw hundreds of millions of demonized troops deployed along a battle line from Turkey to the Sinai Peninsula and attacking one another in a war of total annihilation.  Hundred pound hailstones are slamming into the earth, and most of the great cities on earth are leveled as the greatest earthquake in the history of the human race tears across the planet.  Jesus said if these days went on not one human being would be left alive (Matt 24:21-22).  As utterly hopeless as things look on earth, God is actually about to end the problem of human suffering.

In the eyes of unbelieving mankind, God is denounced as unreal until His existence is past undeniable; then He is blasphemed as unfair.  When sinful man suffers the just consequences of rejecting God’s grace and forgiveness through His Lamb, they will call Him unjust no matter how many times He was warned them.  This willful blindness and hardness of heart is seen in Rev 9:20, 21 and 16:21.  Contrast this with the attitude expressed in the fivefold hallelujahs as Christ prepares to return to earth as King of kings.  Rather than being unfair or unjust, Christ’s judgment is true and just (19:2).  As J. Vernon McGee put it, “You might have a better plan than God, but what you don’t have is your own universe.” Since Christ assumed a human nature so He could share in all the experience of humanity, and since Christ literally accepted the blame for every sin of every sinner who would confess His need for Christ’s free gift of salvation, Christ more than has the right to now judge the world who instead spat in His face.

Rev 19:7-10 presents the raptured Church as the bride who has made herself ready.  If we men don’t love the analogy as much as women, remember that we’ll all be like the angels in heaven (Mark 12:25); there’s no sexual context.  In heaven, ALL believers will be one in submitting to Christ – and resurrection believers will be united in their submission to Christ (Eph 5:22-24), NOT in “femininity.”  We’ll be dressed in the “fine linen, bright and clean” which will be made according to our “righteous acts” (19:8).  The lavishness of this robe will be determined by what we did on earth; we’re literally weaving our heavenly garment this very moment!  They may be elaborately studded with gold and silver and precious stones or they may smell like smoke from all the wood, hay and straw of our unspiritual lives on earth (1 Cor 3:10-15).  It’s all up to YOU.  But there is simply no question that God rewards us for our righteousness that comes from living our lives in faith and acting out that faith in our attitudes/conduct.

Here’s a good question: when does the wedding feast of the Lamb occur?  Jesus Himself tells us that He won’t drink wine with His disciples until He drinks it with us in His Father’s Kingdom (Matt 26:29).  And when is that?  At the beginning of the Millennium after the battle of Armageddon and the separation of the sheep and the goats (Matt 25:31ff).  I believe the Old Testament saints (who will be resurrected at the end of the Tribulation cf. Dan 12:2) will join Tribulation martyrs (Rev 20:4) as well as Raptured believers at this feast.  The guests of honor will be those Tribulation saints who survived.  Had you asked me prior to my study of this chapter, I would have confidently told you that this feast occurred in Heaven during the Tribulation.  But think of all the great company we’d miss out on if that were true!

John is so overwhelmed by all the glory he sees that he falls down before the angel – whom we were told in 18:1 “had great authority, and the earth was illuminated by his splendor” – who tells him to knock that junk off right away.  Because only God is EVER to be worshiped.  And THAT’S how we can know that Christ is no angel and no created being of ANY kind, but our Savior, our Lord, our God, and our Creator.  As beautiful and majestic as the angels are, Jesus is as superior to them (Heb 1:3-4) as He is to all of His creation (John 1:1-3,10, Colossians 1:16) which He also sustains (Heb 1:3) and holds together (Col 1:17).

If you want to shock yourself, enter the question in your search engine, “Will Jesus physically return to earth?” and note all the preterists who call themselves “Christians” who deny that He will.  They make Jesus out to be a liar (e.g. Matt 24:30).  Heb 9:28 assures us that Christ “WILL appear a second time.”  When Jesus Ascended, His disciples stood gawking up at Him as He was physically taken up to heaven until an angel appeared and told them, “This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11).  We’re assured that Christ will first set foot on the Mount of Olives when He returns to earth (Zechariah 14:4-8).  Which btw is exactly where the disciples were standing when the angel told them to quit gawking at Jesus (Acts 1:12)!  And if all that isn’t clear enough, Rev 19 most certainly is.  And Jesus doesn’t just physically return to earth, He physically wipes out His enemies.  Jesus fulfills Isaiah 63:1-4 in singlehandedly destroying His enemies.  Our robes will be white (19:14); His will be red from treading the winepress (Isa 63:2-3 cf. Rev 19:15).  And so we say “buh-bye” to Antichrist and the false prophet.

So why is Satan bound for a thousand years only to be released in Rev. 20?  Just as God gives sinful man his chance to “have it his own way” in order to reveal in history that man simply cannot make it without Jesus Christ, so also does God give the human race in the Millennial Kingdom this “opportunity” to turn their backs on Jesus.  By releasing Satan, God demonstrates in human history that as long as man has a choice – even with Christ physically ruling over him in Jerusalem – sinful man will always choose evil.  Sin is not the unfortunate result of poverty or our environment; it is the result of our fallen nature apart from Christ.  And so even the Millennium Kingdom – as idyllic as it is compared with the world Christ just saved at the end of the Tribulation – is not ultimately adequate.  We need the ultimate state of heaven where God will confirm us in our righteousness and where no Satan can ever tread.  That’s why.

Again, marvel at the silliness of people who call themselves “Christians.”  SIX TIMES in Rev 20 we are told that this literal kingdom on earth will last for one thousand years.  In Latin, “mille” means “one thousand” and “annum” means, “year.”  One thousand years.  Did God promise such an earthly Kingdom?  Yes, repeatedly to His people the Jews.  The very heart of the Old Testament prophetic message is the coming of Messiah to set up an earthly kingdom over which He would rule from the throne of David in Jerusalem.  Will God fulfill His promises literally?  Yes, just as He always has before.  When God said Messiah would be born of a virgin, He was born of a virgin.  When God said Messiah would physically suffer and die, He physically suffered and died.  And when God says that Messiah would rule from Jerusalem for a thousand years, He will rule from Jerusalem for a thousand years.  In Acts 1:6 Jesus’ disciples asked if He was going to restore the kingdom to Israel now.  Why would they have asked this if Jesus was NOT going to restore the kingdom to Israel?  Remember the Road to Emmaus (see Luke 24:27) where Jesus explained everything to the disciples?  That had already happened forty days BEFORE Acts 1:6; and Luke and Acts were both written by Luke to demonstrate that continuity.  But more importantly, why wouldn’t Christ have not corrected them and explained that they had it all wrong and there would never be such a kingdom for Israel to begin with?  This is not rocket science.  And yet it seemingly would be easier for some people to build a rocket ship and land it safely on the surface of the sun than to figure out that “a thousand years” means “a thousand years.”

So Satan is bound for how long?  A thousand years (Rev 20:2,3).  Which interestingly corresponds to the time between the revelation through Moses (~1400 BC) and the final OT revelation through Malachi (~400 BC).  The Messianic Kingdom prophesied in the Old Testament is a time of universal righteousness and peace (Isa 11:6-9), but that won’t happen if Satan is allowed to incite man to sin and to follow his base nature and defy God.  Basically, the Tribulation saints – including the 144,000 Jews and their Jewish converts who fled to Petra (see Rev 12:14) – who survive will inherit the Millennial Kingdom.  Every single human being on earth on Day One of the Millennium will be a saved believer.  But they will have children.  During the Millennium human beings will live an incredibly long time (see Isaiah 65:20 and understand that this prophecy makes no sense whatsoever apart from the Millennium Kingdom).  And some of these children will simply harden their hearts against Jesus just as we saw so many others do during the Tribulation.

We have the first resurrection – here composed entirely of believers who were martyred during the Tribulation (Rev 20:4-6).  This resurrection actually completes the fourth of four phases of this “first resurrection.”  Christ was the first fruits of this first resurrection (1 Cor 15:20-25).  In phase 2, raptured Christians living and dead received their resurrection bodies (1 Thess 4:13-18) before the Tribulation.  In phase 3 of this first resurrection the Old Testament saints receive their new bodies at the end of the Tribulation before the Millennium so they can see God’s Word to them LITERALLY FULFILLED and they could witness God’s faithfulness in their flesh (see Job 19:25-27).  That btw validates the 40 times the word “resurrection” is used in the New Testament, which is always a bodily resurrection (see John 5:28).

Near the end of the Millennium Satan is loosed and allowed to stir up what will be the very last rebellion in the entire history of the human race.  God will destroy it and throw Satan into hell for all eternity.

The second resurrection (Rev 20:11-15) consists ONLY in those whose names had not been written in the Book of Life.  They aren’t resurrected prior to the Millennium because they have no part in it and will have no part in anything other than hell.  Jesus – who spoke more about hell than ANYONE – told us there would be a resurrection of life and a resurrection of damnation (see John 5:29).  And it’s going to be at this time that God will respond, “I never knew you” to those who assure Him there must have been some kind of clerical error.  God will open up His Law and demonstrate how they ignored it (Gal 3:10).  And God will open up the Book of Works (Eccles 12:14) and show that they stand condemned as sinners.  And then He will open up the Book of Life and show that at no time did they ever truly accept His Son as Savior (John 3:18).  The entire meaning of life consists in FINDING life in the Son of God.

Part Ten: A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 21-22

A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation 16-18

January 14, 2013

Part One – A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 1-3

Part Two – A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 4-5

Part Three: A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 6-7

Part Four: A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 8-9

Part Five: A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 10-11

Part Six: A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 12-13

Part Seven: A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 14-15

Three words for three chapters: judgment (16), wickedness (17), destruction (18).  Rev 17 is an interlude informing us of an evil end times religious system depicted 1) in terms of the system made infamous by Babylon and 2) as a whore who has all of her rivals (i.e. Christians) murdered.

Rev 16 describes the seven final and worst judgments of all: the bowl judgments.  What are these bowls?  They are the golden censors used in the Temple to carry the incense (which symbolizes prayer).  Remember the last time we discussed the prayers of the Raptured believers who were a sea of glass mixed with fire (Rev 15:2 cf 4:6)?  They were calling for judgment to fall on the wicked world for murdering the Tribulation saints.  We see today that God will answer that prayer!  By this point in the Tribulation, God knows in His foreknowledge that every single unbeliever still alive on earth at this time will not repent no matter what (see Rev 16:9,11,21).  These judgments in effect are a foretaste of hell.  God brings judgment on these unbelievers warning, “This is what’s in store for your eternity if you refuse to repent.”  They are God’s final warning; and the world will settle for nothing less than hell.

I won’t try to speculate on how these judgments are carried out.  Remember that God has three ways to enact these judgments (by simply stepping back and allowing man to punish himself; by bringing natural disaster such as super volcanoes; by directly supernaturally acting).  The 1st bowl (16:1-2) causes giant, incredibly painful malignant sores to break out ONLY on those who have taken the mark of the beast.  These sores may be like the terrible ravages of radiation that we saw on survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  The 2nd bowl (v. 3) is poured into the sea and causes ALL sea life to die (say goodbye to fishing and aquaculture).  The 3rd bowl (vv. 4-7) turns all the FRESH water into blood because the world that spilled the blood of the martyrs will get blood to drink.  There will be no more water to drink.  The 4th bowl (vv. 8-9) is poured out on the sun and scorches people with its fire.  The 5th bowl (vv. 10-11) is poured onto the throne of the Satan-possessed Antichrist, plunging his entire kingdom into a darkness that is so oppressive it can be physically felt (cf. Ex 10:21).  The 6th bowl (vv. 12-16) is poured upon the great river Euphrates, and its waters dry up to prepare the path of the 200 million man army of the kings of the east.  The Euphrates marks the boundary between East and West.  A famous rhyme by Kipling says “East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet.”  But they WILL meet as armies led by China will one day commit the greatest banzai charge in human history.  And this judgment is an example of one that can now be fulfilled by man: the Soviet Union completed a dam project that can shut off the flow of the Euphrates for an army to cross; and a huge road project has been constructed from China through the Himalayas of Kashmir to Pakistan.  India denounced it to the U.N. at the time as “a threat to peace in Asia.”  History will record India to be right as the kings of the east cross it like a red carpet to Armageddon.  The secular humanist world will end in a greater bloodbath than every war up to this point combined.  And the 7th bowl (vv. 18-21) causes the worst earthquake in history which will cause all the great cities of the world to collapse.  It will remove islands, flatten mountains, split Babylon into three parts and result in 75 lb hailstones to plunge out of the sky.

Armageddon is the result of demonic influence both on the kings of the East and the Antichrist (Rev 16:12-16). It may be that demons employ signs and wonders to inspire the various armies to gather at Armageddon – with demons inspiring each side that they will win this global war of extinction (see Joel 3:12-14).  As the kings of the east mass at the Euphrates, Antichrist inspires his own armies to meet them.

We don’t know how or when the order of battle will proceed.  Part of that is because there are wars prophesied in Scripture that may happen BEFORE the Tribulation or during it.  For example, take Psalm 83, which prophesied that modern-day Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Palestine would attack Israel.  I believe that prophecy may have been fulfilled in the Six Day War.  Ezekiel 37-38 prophesies the War of God and Magog which has not yet occurred.  It will involve the modern-day armies of Russia and the former Soviet Republics of Eastern Europe, Iran, Turkey, Sudan and Libya.  The Old Testament names of these countries have been pretty well established for centuries based on the Table of Nations in Gen 10 (which is the most archaeologically significant page that ever existed).  As an example the great archaeologist William Albright said, “The tenth chapter of Genesis…stands absolutely alone in ancient literature, without a remote parallel…”

The amazing thing is that these coalitions described in the Bible are EXACTLY what we have today: the Russians have EXACTLY this coalition dating to the days of the USSR.  And China is right now solidifying its hegemony over Asia.  The global alignments look RIGHT NOW precisely the way the Bible said it would look in the very last days.  The only thing we don’t yet fully see is the ten kingdoms that will be ruled by Antichrist (and consider my next paragraph for more on that).

The War of Gog and Magog is not directly tied to the Tribulation (e.g., by being specifically cited in the Book of Revelation).  If the War of Gog and Magog occurs prior to the Tribulation, it might literally be the event that causes the panicked international response out of which the Antichrist arises.  I see the various events of Bible prophecy as sprockets and pulleys of a great machine that will all come together with every gear and cog falling into place such that what God said would happen WILL happen as He foreknew and foretold.  Whether it be war or economic collapse or both, everything prophesied in the last days will suddenly fall together in an incredibly short time such that the Antichrist will simply step in at God’s appointed hour and take over – with much of the work of organizing the world for his takeover already having been done for him.  If the War of Gog and Magog occurs during the Tribulation, it would be the first stage of the vast global campaign that is summed up by the word “Armageddon.”  So Russia and Iran would lead the Ezekiel 38 coalition against Israel – and subsequently be destroyed by God.  China and her allies would then position themselves to protect their oil interests, thereby causing the Antichrist and his armies to maneuver to try to block their access to the Middle East amidst nuclear mushroom clouds galore.  All the major armies of the world will be gathered.  It will be complete madness that will be hard enough to understand when it is going on, let alone be able to figure it all out even before it happens.  But one thing is sure: there is enough detail and description in the Bible that Tribulation believers will look at their Bibles and at this insane war and recognize it when they see it.

And while this vicious “the survivor wins” battle is going on, the world will be utterly devastated by a supermassive earthquake that will either be unleashed by a massive nuclear exchange or even more directly by the hand of God.  God will have given secular humanist man his chance to govern the world without God.  When Christ returns in Rev 19, it will literally be to prevent the destruction of the planet and the death of every single human being on earth.

I’m going to do something different with Rev 17-18.  Rather than try to explain every tree (i.e., every detail in the chapters), I’m going to spend time trying to show you the forest.  I believe with a good study Bible (like the Ryrie Study Bible, the MacArthur Study Bible, or even the NIV/NASB Study Bibles which share the same study notes) you can pick up a lot of the details.  Rev 17 and 18 talk about “Babylon,” and what I want to do is show you where the Babylon system that Revelation describes truly comes from and what it will look like in the Tribulation.

We arrive at the descriptive interlude of Rev 17 that teaches us about two of the great dynamics driving the last days.  One is a last days religious system directly connected to ancient Babylon.  And again, this is something that may fall into place in an incredibly short time (to be exploited by the false prophet for the benefit of Antichrist) in the last days.  Consider the cover story that has already been concocted to explain away the Rapture: “The people who leave the planet during the time of Earth changes do not fit in here any longer, and they are stopping the harmony of Earth. When the time comes that perhaps 20 million people leave the planet at one time there will be a tremendous shift in consciousness for those who are remaining.” — Barbara Marciniak, Bringers of the Dawn.  Now, I think it will be quite a bit more than 20 million, but you get the idea: New Agers and secular humanists alike agree on one thing: the Christians are the problem; we are the force that is preventing the world from “evolving” the way the aliens who seeded the earth with life intended.  In order to evolve to the giant government Utopia that New Age channelers and secular humanists long for, the aliens will have to show up remove the barriers preventing that Utopia.  That’s us.  We’ll be beamed away so the world can properly evolve.

Let me give you a complementary example: climate change.  Nobody talked more about freak weather characterizing the last days than Jesus.  The prophets filled the Bible with prophesies of deadly weather.  “Global warming” or “climate change” or whatever they’ll call it next ought to be OUR sign; but the secular humanists and new agers who most oppose Jesus Christ and God’s Kingdom have hijacked and perverted this sign of the end times to THEIR agenda, haven’t they?  The United Nations has demanded $76 trillion to save the earth from global warming as they redistribute wealth to advance their agenda.  In the same way, I believe the same enemies of God will exploit the Rapture to bring about THEIR religious system, which they will use to unify the human population “left behind” by the Rapture and bind the world to their demonic agenda.  And it doesn’t matter if it was in the Bible for thousands of years because the unsaved world couldn’t care less about what the Bible says.

Rev 17 talks about this religious system in terms of “Babylon.”  Two things most characterized that system: gazing into space for answers (astrology) and binding the human race together in unity against God.  Let’s go back to Babylon’s first moment at the Tower of Babel.  Why were they building the tower?  Nimrod (whose name fittingly means “We will revolt”) unified the world to build the world’s tallest astrological observatory for the purpose of astrology. But King Nimrod doesn’t first say, “Let’s build a tower.”  Instead he says, “Let’s make BRICKS” (Gen 11:3).  Normally you first decide what to build and THEN pick your building materials.  Why is that significant?  Consider an altar: God commanded it be built from uncut stones (Exodus 20:25), and therefore each stone is unique in size and shape.  Think in terms of people: God made us unique individuals.  But now consider bricks: every brick is exactly identical to every other brick.  Bricks are faceless and interchangeable.  God wants us to be stones, precious in individuality (see 1 Pet 2:4-5), but the god of this world tries to mold us into bricks.  And the Hebrew word for “mortar” is the same word as the word for “materialism.”  The unification of people against God by materialism.  The Babylon system wants us to become faceless and mindless bricks that are mortared rigidly into place by our lust for materialism and our desire to get more and more of the material world.

The Jewish Talmud refers to this founder of Babylon as “the hunter of the souls of men” (see Gen 10:9).  He hunted men not to kill them, but rather to seduce them into becoming his subjects and to make himself their master.  Nimrod represented totalitarianism and totalitarian government.  The ability of people to think for themselves and believe for themselves were simply not in his game plan.  And throughout its entire history, Babylon continued to be infamous for its astrology, its materialism and its godless and arrogant totalitarianism.  And every single totalitarian Utopia began under the deceitful premise that those who served the cause would be better off materially/economically.  And as the people discovered they’d been lied to, they realized that the government had all the guns and held all the power and that it was too late to try to resist the kind of power over humanity the State now held.

If you want to know what God thought of this kind of big government system, read 1 Samuel 8:4-22. God knew that the demand for this kind of government amounted to a rejection of Him.  And God knew that all the king that the people wanted would do was TAKE from them.

AFTER the Rapture – which will be hijacked by the world to make it about “obstructionist Christians” being removed by aliens so that the world can evolve into the totalitarian Utopia – would it surprise you if the world is led into a Babylon-style religious system which focuses on unity and on the movements of the celestial bodies?  After hundreds of millions of people suddenly just “vanished” into space???

I hope you can see by now how the political (totalitarian Antichrist), the religious (the false prophet) and the economic (materialism, the mark of the beast) all come together in this world system.  Because Rev 18 continues to confirm that; you now have a commercial/economic Babylon (see 18:3,11).  This may be a geographic city; the “whore” of Babylon in Rev 17 “sits on many waters”; which we’re told in 18:15 meant “peoples, multitudes, nations and languages” (all plural).  Whereas Rev 17 describes a religious system characterized by godless, arrogant, Babylon-style materialism which murders anyone who won’t become a “brick,” the Babylon of Rev 18 appears to be a political and economic center.  And everything is united – politics, religion, government, and commerce – by this system that the Antichrist will rule.  Secular humanists do NOT hate religion; they only hate religion that gets in the way of the political system they’re trying to impose.  In a remarkable address to the American Academy for the Advancement of Science in 1991, Dr. LD. Rue, addressing the predicament of godless modern man, advocated that the human race be deceived by what he called a “noble lie” into thinking that we and the universe still have meaning, purpose and value.  He wanted to avoid what he called “the madhouse option” by which everyone would get to choose their OWN personal values (see Judges 21:25).  And so he wanted a noble lie that would deceives us, tricks us, compel us beyond self-interests, beyond ego, beyond family, nation, and race.  He wanted a religious system – (ANYTHING BUT Christianity) – which would create the illusion of these things while still promoting the agenda of godless secular humanism. He wanted to bind mankind together by an illusion that he knew was false – “a noble lie” – that would provide all the benefits of religion without any of the costs or inconveniences.  That’s what’s coming.

Part Nine: A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 19-20

Part Ten: A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 21-22

A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 14-15

January 9, 2013

Part One – A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 1-3

Part Two – A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 4-5

Part Three: A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 6-7

Part Four: A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 8-9

Part Five: A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 10-11

Part Six: A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 12-13

Revelation 14 and 15 form a series of short scenes in the spiritual realm that take place near the very end of the Tribulation.  The unifying theme that binds them all together is that Christ is ultimately triumphant over all the forces of evil that Satan and his two beasts try to bring to bear during the Tribulation.  We have in these chapters a moment of what scholars call “the prophetic preterit,” in that before the book is finished we already know who will surely win as if it was a past tense already accomplished event.

The first scene (Rev 13:1-5) foreshows the 144,000 (whom we first saw in Rev 7) surrounding Christ after the last battle outside of Jerusalem.  I believe they are called “firstfruits to God” because they are THE very first souls saved after the Rapture of the Church as these Jews specially prepared by God believe in the real Messiah of Israel right after the Rapture.  Given that at least half the world’s population perishes in the Tribulation, given that likely millions of Christians are martyred and given that Antichrist desperately wants to kill every single one of the 144,000, it is a miracle that every single one of them survive the seven years to stand with Christ victorious at the end.  The reference to their sexual purity may extend to the entire corrupt world system – which is most especially represented by its sexual immorality.  They will truly stand apart from the sin of the sick culture that surrounds them, like Daniel and his three friends in Babylon.  Why can no one learn the song they sing but the 144,000?  It may simply be that only these heroic Jewish believers can truly understand both the full horror of the seven years of Tribulation judgments along with the full power of God’s divine deliverance and protection.  They will be living embodiments of Romans 8:28.

The second scene (Rev 14:6-11) provides a scene that every angel has dreamed of as angels finally are allowed to get into the act of sharing the gospel.  The first angel preaches “the eternal gospel” because the unbelieving world hearing the message are on the precipice of eternity – and most of those who would believe this message would be martyred for their faith and have to pass through physical death to receive eternal life.  Given the pervasiveness of evolution we can already easily see that it is hardly surprising that the angel’s gospel message will center on the fact that GOD IS THE CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE and should be glorified and worshiped as such. The second angel provides a true “prophetic preterit” because God’s judgment pronounces Babylon as fallen in the aorist/past tense even though Babylon’s destruction doesn’t actually occur until Rev 18.  God has decreed that it will fall, and it will surely fall.  The point is that anyone who trusts in Satan’s world system, Antichrist’s empire or the false prophet’s religious system are fools because all of it will fall.  And the third angel specifically singles out the most outward manifestation of the demonic trinity’s program – the mark of the beast – stating that all who take part in it will burn in a hell that is every bit as real as the physical universe that God created above.

Rev 14:12-13 says, “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.”  Because most of those who accept “the eternal gospel” will have to pass through death to inherit life.  It’s the wise alternative of taking the mark and going to hell.  Those who have this “patient endurance” unto death will receive a special blessing even above previous generations of martyrs because of the viciousness of the persecution they will face.  Christians will be called upon to suffer and die as they never have before.  When you received Christ, would you have said that prayer with a gun pointed at your head knowing that the moment you finished praying you would be killed?  That’s basically what these Tribulation believers will face.

Revelation 14:14-20 presents two different harvests at the end of the Tribulation.  The first (vv. 14-16) is akin to what Jesus described in the separation of the wheat from the tares (Matt 13:39-43).  Here as there, the reapers are angels.  And these angels will “weed out of His kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil” (Matt 13:41) and throw them into the fiery furnace of hell (v. 42).  This will take place at the end of the Tribulation after Christ has returned as King of kings and defeated Satan and his two beasts.  The Tribulation believers are the wheat who will inherit the Millennial kingdom.  The second harvest (vv. 17-20) and everyone in it will be thrown “into the great winepress of God’s wrath.”  Verse 20 (“They were trampled in the winepress outside the city”) tells us where, when and to whom this harvest occurs: (where) outside the city of Jerusalem (when) at the return of Christ as King of kings (to whom) to all the armies gathered against Him.  This harvest of slaughter is also prophesied in Zechariah 14:2-3.  The demonic 200 million man army from the kings of the East and the armies of Antichrist will be gathered like clusters of grapes that are ripe for the winepress of wrath.  Blood will rise as high as the horses’ bridles (Rev 14:20) from the 200 miles between the hills of Har-Megiddo and the Valley of Jezreel to the port of Elath on the Gulf of Aqabah.  It will be filled with war materials, corpses and blood.  The famous Latin phrase, “Sic semper tyrannis” (Thus always to tyrants)?  It turns out to be ultimately true.

We’ve seen two signs – the woman (Israel) and the dragon (Satan).  Israel is a sign because of her miraculous preservation by God in spite of staggering odds that they could survive as a people/culture.  Satan is a sign to the wise because history proves that evil transcends human capability and points to a supernatural and personal origin in Satan.  We intuitively know the world ought to be a better place but there is a malevolent intelligence seeking to thwart that better world.  Now we see the third and final sign in the form of the final seven judgments from God.  And if these seven plagues aren’t a sign demonstrating God’s sovereignty, nothing is.  They finish the wrath of God on earth and bring the world into God’s purpose and will; and the word “completed” in reference to God’s wrath in Rev 15:1 is the identical word uttered by Christ on the cross in John 19:30: tetelestai (“It is finished”).  You’ll soon see how this fits into the message of the chapter.

We again have reference to a “sea of glass” in Rev 15:2 that we saw in Rev 4:6.  Again, the sea of glass symbolizes Raptured believers at rest before the throne of God.  But now we see mixed with this sea of glorified believers fire, the symbol of judgment (Num 11:1; 16:35; Deut 9:3; Psalm 50:3; 2 Thess 1:7-9; Heb 10:27; 2 Pet 3:7).  “God is a consuming fire” (Heb 12:29).  It seems to me that the fire represents the prayers of Raptured believers for the final judgments to come on behalf of the martyred Tribulation believers.  These martyred believers stand on the sea of glass (Raptured believers) much the way a winning coach might stand on the shoulders of a victorious football team.  No one is more of a “winner” than these martyred believers.  There is no sign of defeat or bitterness in God’s “team” of saints; there is only praise and worship and exaltation in victory.  How can death really mean victory?  How can submitting to injustice and evil ultimately produce triumph?  Ask martyr Jim Elliot, who famously wrote: “A man is no fool to give up that which he cannot keep (such as his own life – see Luke 17:33) to gain what he cannot lose.”  This kind of victory isn’t found by playing it safe and never rocking the boat.  These believers will take a stand in the face of certain death – and in so standing they will be victorious.

They sing “the song of Moses” (Rev 15:3 cf. Deut 32:1-43).  Why?  Because just as the Israelites looked back at Egypt and realized that they were delivered from slavery and bondage, so these martyred Tribulation saints will look back upon their experience of horror on earth in the grip of evil and realize that they are now forever delivered from suffering and death in heaven.  And that song will turn into “the song of the Lamb” because it will have been Christ who brought about that great deliverance.

Rev 15 ends with a scene taking place at the heavenly tabernacle (vv. 5-8).  Keep in mind that the earthly tabernacle was made from the same pattern as the one in heaven (Heb 8:5 cf. Ex 25:8-9).  The Book of Hebrews draws several parallels between the function of the priests in the earthly tabernacle and Christ as our High Priest in the heavenly tabernacle.  In Hebrews we learn that the rituals/symbols of the earthly tabernacle worship were designed to foreshadow things that would have ultimate fulfillment in the heavenly tabernacle.  In Rev 15 John looked into the Holy of Holies of the heavenly tabernacle.

The Tabernacle of Testimony (in Acts 7:44 the King James Version calls it the Tabernacle of Witness) was both a witness FOR man and AGAINST man.  It was a witness for man in that it told him how he could have his sins forgiven and approach God; it was a witness against man because the very necessity of those rituals was a constant reminder that he was unworthy to approach God on his own merit.

Inside the earthly Ark of the Covenant were three items God commanded the people to put there.  And each of these items displayed man’s rejection of God.  The 1st item was the rewritten stone tablet of the Ten Commandments (recall that Moses broke the original when he saw the Israelites in gross sin); the second tablet was placed in the Ark as a witness of man’s rejection of the perfect moral law (Ex 25).  The 2nd witness was a pot of manna; God commanded it be placed in the Ark after Israel complained about the heavenly food God miraculously prepared for them.  It was a witness to man’s rejection of God’s provision for daily needs (Ex 16).  And the 3rd item was Aaron’s staff.  A rebel group tried to take over leadership of the nation of Israel from Moses and Aaron, and God caused Aaron’s staff to bud to confirm who He had designated to lead.  The staff that spouted leaves was placed in the Ark as a witness of man’s rejection of God’s chosen leadership  (Num 17).  The three items taken together displayed man’s complete rejection of God.  And they were placed in the Ark as a continual witness of the fact that man was sinful and rightly deserved God’s judgment.

When the high priest entered the Tabernacle and sprinkled blood on the Mercy Seat, he was in effect symbolically covering the symbols of man’s sin (in the form of the three items) from God’s sight.  The Mercy Seat formed the lid to the box in which the three items were placed.  As God now saw the blood of the innocent substitute rather than the three items symbolizing man’s rejection of Him, His justice was satisfied because the penalty of death had been paid.  And God could then transform His throne from one of judgment to one of mercy.  And of course all of this was intended to foreshadow what Christ would do as the Lamb of God and as our High Priest; His blood would not only cover but literally take away the sin of the world, thereby turning the throne of God in heaven’s tabernacle to one of mercy for all who would come by faith in Jesus.

But what John saw when he looked at the Holy of Holies was a sobering change; it now became the place from which the seven final plagues were sent forth.  It was no longer a place where men were reconciled to God; the throne of mercy had now become a throne of judgment against those who had rejected the Lamb.  The three reminders of man’s sin in the Ark were now fully uncovered and were a witness against man who had rejected Christ’s salvation.  Which is why no one was allowed to enter the temple until the plagues were completed (Rev 15:8); because the time for mercy had now passed man by and only judgment remained.

Part Eight: A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 16-18

Part Nine: A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 19-20

Part Ten: A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 21-22

A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 10-11

December 26, 2012

See Part One – A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 1-3

Part Two – A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 4-5

Part Three: A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 6-7

Part Four: A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 8-9

In the first three chapters of Revelation we saw Christ prophetically addressing seven churches which represent “the Church” composed of all true believers in Christ on earth throughout the centuries.  In Rev 4 we saw “the Church” called up to heaven in the Rapture, and we saw ourselves surrounding God on His throne.  In Rev 5 we saw Christ on the throne of God being singularly declared worthy to unleash the judgments that will defeat evil and win earth back for God’s glory.  And then beginning in chapter six we have begun to see those judgments in the form of seven seals, seven trumpets and seven bowls.

I had described two ways God could bring about some of these judgments: by supernatural means or by merely stepping back and allowing man to do what comes naturally to his depraved nature (e.g., with nuclear war). But there is actually a very real “third way” – namely the eruption of super volcanoes:  It turns out that just one of these things “could be sufficiently severe to threaten the fabric of civilization.”  And there are FIVE super volcano zones – including one in Yellowstone!  Which is to say that God has THREE paths to fulfilling every prophecy in the Book of Revelation: supernatural causation, allowing humans to fulfill the judgments upon themselves, and very real and very terrifying natural calamities that scientists declare are every bit as real and possible as they are unthinkable.

I thought that worth pointing out; I have to do a lot of simplifying and selective editing for a “midlevel” flight over Revelation, and that means it’s possible to leave out something I should have included.  Such as the effect of super volcanoes and their end times potential.

Today we’re going to get an interlude from all the hell-on-earth judgment (at least until the seventh trumpet is sounded and we get the terrifying bowl judgments).  We’re going to discuss the message of an angel, we’re going to talk about the coming Jewish Temple that will be built and we’re going to examine the ministry of the coming “two witnesses.”

“Then I saw another mighty angel…”  We saw “a mighty angel” in Rev 5:2.  These angels who are designated “mighty” are apparently members of the highest order of angels (the archangels) who stand in the very presence of God.  There are messages that are so significant to human history and divine mission that no one but an archangel with supreme authority such as Michael (Jude 9) or Gabriel (Luke 1:19) can deliver them.  And get a load of the sheer majestic “mightiness” of this “mighty angel”: he is clothed with a cloud which is the vehicle GOD Himself uses to come to earth (see Psalm 104:3; Isa 19:1; Daniel 7:13; Matt 17:5).  A rainbow is upon his head heralding back to Gen 9:9-17 and God’s promise that He remembers and keeps His covenants.  His face will be like the sun to remind us of the brilliant glory of the One from whose presence he has just come (e.g. Ex 34:29).  His feet are like pillars of fire, reminding us of Christ in Rev 1:15 and symbolic of divine judgment.  In placing his right foot upon the sea and his left foot upon the earth, he comes to take possession of the entire earth by divine decree of judgment.  And his voice is as the roar of a lion.  And the voices of the seven thunders answer his call.

This is a passage that always sends shivers down my spine.  But as incredibly mighty and glorious as this archangel – quite possibly the archangel Michael himself – is, if there were a contest to see who could fall on their feet before Jesus Christ first, I’ll bet this mighty angel would win hands down.  He serves One more glorious.

The archangel takes possession of the land and the sea and says that “there shall be delay no longer.”  Delay in doing what, we might ask.  This angelic visitation takes place very near the end of the seven years Tribulation: there shall be delay no longer in Jesus Christ returning to the earth He created as King and Lord over it.  Christ shall delay His return no longer.  The time of the eschaton predicted by the prophets has finally arrived and absolutely no power of man or demon will be able to hold it back.

We’re told “the mystery of God will be accomplished” (Rev 10:7).  The completion of the mystery is the conclusion of the Father’s plan that was initiated before the foundation of the world and is now finally to be realized in its fullness.  Many times, overwhelmed by evil, righteous man has cried wondering if God was even working at all in the affairs of men.  GOD WAS WORKING.  GOD IS WORKING.  AND GOD’S WORK WILL CULMINATE IN GOD’S ETERNAL PURPOSE.

The “bittersweet message” of Rev 10:8-11 is this: God’s Word is sweet when we learn of God’s love for man resulting in God’s salvation of man accomplished by Christ.  But it is bitter indeed to discover the brutal reality in store for all who reject Christ’s salvation and therefore experience the full wrath of God’s holy judgment for their sins.  God does not want us to be a people who are characterized by rejoicing when the wicked “get theirs.”  God wants us to be a people who grieve when He is forced to judge sin and unbelief.  Because that’s how Jesus will feel, and we should be like Jesus (Luke 9:52-56).

Revelation 11 assures us that there WILL be a Third Temple.  The Second Temple was destroyed as Christ predicted in AD 70 prior to John’s receiving Revelation in 96 AD.  So there is no question that this is a yet-to-be-built structure.  Part of the seven year covenant that Israel signs with Antichrist will allow them to reinstitute animal sacrifice (Dan 9:27) – and there is NO other place that a Jew would do so but in the Temple.  The problem is that for 4,000 years the Temple has stood in one and only one place – and that place appears to be taken up by the Muslim Dome of the Rock which was deliberately built right on top of the ruins of the Jewish Temple.  We don’t know what’s going to happen: destruction in an earthquake, destruction in a war, or something else.  Scholars like Dr. Grant Jeffrey believe that the Second Temple is actually in a slightly different location from which is commonly believed and the Third Temple could be constructed without damaging the Al Aqsa Mosque.  Jeffrey claims that a previously unknown gate of Solomon’s Temple proves that the original Temple was several hundred feet north of the Dome of the Rock (remember Herod MASSIVELY enlarged the Second Temple).

It’s actually amazing how many obstacles existed to a Third Temple – and how many have been overcome.  Money is no problem when you realize how many Jews over the centuries have included the Temple in their wills or purchased Temple bonds.  But only a Jew from the tribe of Levi and the family of Aaron can enter the Holy of holies and how can Jews prove their descent?  The answer to that is DNA testing resulting in “the first family reunion of the Jewish priestly dynasty in nearly 2,000 years.”  You’d need to have a Sanhedrin which hasn’t existed since 425 AD.  The answer is that Israel reestablished the Sanhedrin in 2005.  You need holy anointing oil – which was discovered and chemically verified as authentic in 1988.  And you need stuff like a red heifer – and they’re working on it and they’ve already come so close it’s unreal.  If you think any of the difficulties are beyond God, you’re daft.

I’m excited about the Third Temple as a fulfillment of prophecy – but in many ways it is actually a bad thing.  It will result from the covenant with Antichrist (bad thing); it will be built as a result of Israel’s unbelief in Messiah Jesus (bad thing); and Antichrist will sit in the Holy of holies and decide he’s God (bad thing).  The Jews have longed for their Temple because they believe it will fulfill all their national and religious hopes as a people; but sometimes you’ve just got to get exactly what you want in order to be able to see that what you always wanted won’t fulfill you, after all.  Ultimately Jews will have to realize that it is NOT the Temple which merely symbolizes the work of Christ that fulfills hope, but only Christ Himself.

In Rev 11:1 an angel tells John to physically measure the Temple.  If you study Ezekiel 40 and Zechariah 2, you will see that when God takes such measurements, it is to evaluate the spiritual condition of His people.  Is this Third Temple built with the help of Antichrist and the False Prophet (Rev 13:11-18) fulfilling God’s true calling to Israel?  Not even close.  It is built as an apostate place of worship that refuses to recognize Israel’s true Messiah; rather, they just want some kind of national identity symbol if not a giant stone idol.  And thus the verdict of Rev 11:2: in the second half of the Tribulation for 42 months, Jerusalem will see nothing but war and suffering until “the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled” (Luke 21:24).  And the times of the Gentiles will only end with the return of Messiah Jesus.

Rev 11:3 introduces the two most incredible Jesus freaks who ever lived: God’s two witnesses.  God is NEVER left without a witness.  Who are these men?  We won’t know for sure until “the players take the field,” but many scholars believe it will be Moses and Elijah.  In God’s very last words in His Old Testament, He says in Malachi 4:5-6, “I will send you the prophet Elijah before the great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.”  And that “great and dreadful day” is the second half of the 7 years Tribulation.  Elijah will show up at the beginning of the Tribulation and he will preach the Gospel right under the angry nose of the Antichrist who is powerless to stop him.  And a lot of people will be saved.  But ONLY “when they have finished their testimony” (Rev 11:7) and said everything that God sent them to say, will Antichrist finally be allowed to kill them.  Because God is sovereign.  Elijah’s most famous miracle was shutting up the sky for – get this – three and a half years (James 5:17; 1 Kings 17:1).  Just like “somebody” will do during the Tribulation.  So Elijah has good bona fides as a candidate.   Why Moses?  Moses’ most famous miracles featured turning water into blood and sending plagues (Rev 11:6 cf. the Exodus).  And both Moses and Elijah had their ministries end in failure – with Moses being denied entrance into the Promised Land (Num 20:12) and Elijah being taken up to heaven in a fiery chariot after he fled in fear from Jezebel and asked God to kill him.  And God replaced him with Elisha (1 Kings 19:16).  I’m sure both men would love to have a second chance to be faithful to the very end – and I believe God will give them that opportunity.

Every Christian ought to be like the two witnesses from Revelation while on this earth.  Think about it; these two men have been in heaven with Christ for millennia – and now they’re returning back to earth for one more mission and an opportunity to cover their past failure with glory.  In the same way, according to the Bible we died in Christ (Galatians 2:20) and were born again to a completely new life.  We’ve tasted a little bit of heaven through the Holy Spirit; and now each of us are on earth on a divine mission from God.  BE A WITNESS!

Part Six: A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 12-13

Part Seven: A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 14-15

Part Eight: A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 16-18

Part Nine: A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 19-20

Part Ten: A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 21-22

A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 6-7

December 10, 2012

Part One – A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 1-3

Part Two – A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 4-5

Brief recap: we began with a message from Jesus Christ to His churches (ch 1-3).  Last time we heard the church called to heaven (“Come up here”) and we saw that God on His sovereign throne is in command.  And we saw all attention turn to God the Son, Jesus Christ, in the center of God’s throne (Rev 5:6).  And we saw that in all of heaven, only Christ alone was worthy to open the seals that would begin the divine judgment that God would use to begin to finally deal with the problem of evil once and for all.  We find that there will be three waves of divine judgment on earth: the seven seal judgments (Rev 6-7), the seven trumpet judgments (Rev 8-15), and the seven bowl judgments (Rev 16).  As we begin Revelation chapter six we see Christ open the first of the seven seals.

There are a couple of ways of looking at these three waves of judgment that make sense.  One has the virtue of being the easiest to describe: that the opening of the seventh seal releases the seven trumpet judgments, and the seventh trumpet releases the seven bowl judgments.  That is the view significantly held by Robert Thomas as well as Tim LaHaye.  The other view is to see these three septets of judgment as coming in cycles, with all three final judgments occurring at the threshold of the parousia (return of Christ).  The argument against the first view would be that it would entail nuclear-war-like phenomena occurring very early in the Tribulation.  But let me simply put it this way: when these events happen, we will see that the book of Revelation makes sense; it will be the world that is crazy.

The first four seals of the seven seal judgments are the four horsemen of the Apocalypse (Antichrist-white horse; war-red horse; economic collapse-black horse; mass death-pale horse).  The Antichrist is the very first divine judgment of the tribulation.  It will be a case where God gives the people the leader they deserve.  I might have told you prior to our election that Antichrist was listed first on the basis that the list was given in terms of priority – and Antichrist is the most prominent and most important of the four horsemen.  And I may then have pointed out that the whole world was going to worship the beast (e.g., Rev 13:4), and why would they worship the beast if he had just destroyed their economy?  That said, the results from our election may put the kibosh on that theory: because people turned out to support the president regardless of how bad the economy is, didn’t they?  Somehow, between the Antichrist’s incredible charisma and the people’s depravity and amorality, the world will largely continue to follow and worship the beast no matter how terribly he ruins the planet around him.  It’s really quite an amazing thing.  And I think we’re seeing hints of that incredible blindness that will characterize the world right now today.

Antichrist carries a bow, symbolizing he will be a master of the art of war; but he will be able to rise to power winning bloodless victories by political conquests.  The white horse he rides is symbolic of the righteousness he will falsely present to the world.  Beth Moore pointed out something really insightful in her study on Daniel: namely, that both Daniel and the Antichrist to come were given “wisdom.”  Daniel used his gift to untie or untangle the visions so that the truth could be clearly understood.  Antichrist will use his wisdom in exactly the opposite way: to so tangle the truth in so many knots with his words that no one will be able to understand the truth from his lies and what is right from his deceitful framing of the narrative.

I go back to the Ten Plagues to understand how these future judgments will unfold.  Many have found “natural explanations” to “explain” the Plagues; such as a toxic algal bloom causing the first plague of the water turning to blood, which then set up the conditions for the subsequent plagues to occur in a natural cascade.  Give me all the “natural explanations” you want, but the God who created nature did it.  Many of the events of the Tribulation will likely be the results of man trying to solve one crisis and creating unintended consequences that fly out of control; but God sovereignly knew that that would happen without His direct intervention 3,000 years ago.  What I am looking at right now is man setting up many of the events that the Book of Revelation describes – including the mark of the beast.  And we all understand how good man is at imposing a dictatorship, ruining an economy, starting a terrible war, or creating famines and diseases that we see riding into town in the form of the four horsemen.

I often ask myself the question, “How do we get from the current state of world affairs to the Antichrist and his fellow horsemen?  I very much believe that history is on the verge of what Rev 6 describes, and that it won’t take a great deal to “nudge” us over the cliff and into the arms of Antichrist.  Right now, the three primary economies on earth – the United States, Europe and China – are all facing serious challenges.  In America our true debt isn’t the $16 trillion that many worry about; it is now well over $222 trillion and it grew by $11 trillion last year.  If we have a true catastrophic financial collapse, what will the world look like?  And my answer would be, “Like the Book of Revelation describes.”  The same is true of a terrifying war in the Middle East that either goes nuclear or almost does.  As the terrified world tries to come to grips with a crisis that could drag Russia and the US into World War III, you can easily see the Antichrist beginning to emerge as “the man with all the answers.”  So many of the events described in Revelation are already in place, just waiting for the “trigger,” and all it will take is one final jolt for all the gears to start turning exactly as Revelation said they would.  Interestingly, with all the computers that (e.g.) allow governments to simply add zeroes to artificially increase the size of their money supplies, we are more vulnerable to catastrophic chaos than we have ever been in the entire history of the world.

As an example of the above, and an example of the nexus between finance and war, look up a UK Telegraph article entitled, “How the Fed triggered the Arab Spring uprisings in two easy graphs.”  We have now seen the Arab/Muslim world in turmoil for two years; here’s why: all oil is sold only in US dollars, and so most oil-producing states are backed by the dollar.  When we devalued our currency through QE1, QE2, Operation Twist, and recently “QE Forever,” our devalued dollar forced sky-high commodity (food!) prices on the Arab world that these economies couldn’t compensate for merely by raising the price of their oil because the imbalance was too great in terms of all the other commodities they needed.  There’s a strong case to be made that the “Arab Spring” which is continuing to this day is essentially a series of food riots triggered by US monetary policies.  Here’s another example of the collapse waiting to happen: a top derivatives expert in May estimated the size of the global derivatives market at $1,200 TRILLION ($1.2 quadrillion), which is twenty times the size of the entire global economy.  These clever financial gimmicks are way past insane.

It’s not “if” the economy will catastrophically implode, it’s WHEN.  And in my gut I feel it coming.

The fifth seal (Rev 6:9-11) is the mass martyrdom of those who come to Christ AFTER the Rapture during the Tribulation.  And the sixth seal (Rev 6:12-17) appears to be a massive nuclear exchange.  Hal Lindsey pointed out that in a nuclear blast, the atmosphere rolls back in on itself (“like a scroll when it is rolled together”) as the blast creates a massive vacuum.  On the LaHaye view, this would happen within the first 21 months of the Tribulation (the Seal judgments occur during the 1st 21 months, the Trumpet judgments occur during the 2nd 21 months, and the Bowl judgments occur during the 2nd half (42 months) of the Tribulation.  42 divided by 12 months = 3.5 years.  On the cyclic view presented by Grant Osborne, that 6th seal “nuke” would occur just before Christ returned to earth as King of kings.  And I submit that the “massive nuclear exhange” could be something like a super volcano eruption.  There are five super volncanoes located around the world – and the eruption of any one of them would be so catastrophic that it would literally amount to a crisis that could threaten human civilization.

Chapter six ends with the question being asked, “who is able to stand?”  Chapter seven answers that!

Revelation chapter 7 presents an interlude between the sixth and seventh seal judgments.  What is happening here?  144,000 literal Jews from each of the 12 Tribes of Israel are gathered and commissioned by God as Christ’s witnesses during the Tribulation.  It’s an amazing thing that with DNA today we can actually know stuff like this; BUT GOD KNEW ALL ALONG who His people were.

There are two incredibly important truths that need to be understood: the first is that God never leaves Himself without a witness.  I believe that the Rapture of the Church will be the event that God uses to raise up His 144,000 messianic Jews, who will finally realize that the crazy Christians were right all along.  And this is because of the second important truth: that God is not done with His people the Jews or with national Israel.  We don’t have time to delve into it, but Daniel 9 presents a divine timetable for Israel of “seventy sevens” or 490 years to fulfill their divine mission.  Interestingly, seven years are “missing” and the divine clock is paused at 483 years with seven years yet to come.  God is going to give the Jews their final seven years, and the Jews will make up for every failure by evangelizing the whole world in that time.  And we find in Rev 7 that God is merciful and loving even in the midst of judgment, isn’t He?

Consider Romans chapters 9-11.  In Romans 9 Paul describes the ELECTION of Israel as God’s chosen people; in Romans 10 Paul describes the REJECTION of Israel due to her unbelief in her Messiah.  And in Romans 11 the complete RESTORATION of Israel.  The complete restoration of Israel will come to pass in the book of Revelation.  In Romans 11:25, Paul refers to “the fullness of the Gentiles.”  That time will be marked by the Rapture of the Church, and then it will be God’s divine timing for the Jews to shine as they have never shined before.  God NEVER abandons His people and God NEVER forgets His promises.  God will use the Tribulation to sovereignly deliver Israel to that point where she finally “looks on Me whom they pierced” (Zech 12:10).  Israel will be prepared to experience every single blessing that God promised Israel would have in the Old Testament with their Messiah personally ruling and reigning from the throne of David in Jerusalem.

In Rev 7:2, you see four angels holding the four winds with the power to harm the land and the sea.  What is amazing to me today is that it used to be “religious crazies” who would warn us that the world is about to end.  Now it’s “scientific crazies” who tell us that global warming will be our doomsday.  We find that MANY prophecies of the Tribulation involve freak weather conditions and storms of unimaginable intensity.  Jesus described “global warming” on steroids 2,000 years ago (Luke 21:25-26).  And what the world has done is something the world will ALWAYS do: taken a divine fulfillment of the Bible (freakish weather screaming that earth is in the last days) and transform it into some kind of evidence of secular humanism necessitating still more human government control.  God is giving mankind divine warning after divine warning, but sinful man will NEVER correctly interpret any of it and perverts those warnings to his agenda.

Part Four: A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 8-9

Part Five: A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 10-11

Part Six: A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 12-13

Part Seven: A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 14-15

Part Eight: A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 16-18

Part Nine: A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 19-20

Part Ten: A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 21-22

A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 4-5

December 4, 2012

See part one: A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 1-3

Every believer from the Old to and through the New Testaments has dreamed of eternity with God.  But what’s the process?  How does it happen – and most important of all WHEN does it happen?  We find that it doesn’t fully happen when we die: we are with the Lord, but those who have died up to now have not yet received their glorified bodies.  So when does it happen?  How?

For the first three chapters of the Book of Revelation, the word “church” – referring to believers in Jesus Christ on earth – is mentioned seven times with the word “churches” being mentioned twelve times.   That’s a total of nineteen times, all ye math whizzes.  For the first three chapters, it’s church, church, church.  And yet, after referring to the church and addressing the churches over and over again, “the church” is not referenced in any way, shape or form until Rev 19 when Christ returns to earth with His saints.  And the only believers referenced in between are the  two witnesses and the 144,000 Jews– and we aint them.  So what explanation makes sense?

This one: Rev 4:1 begins with the phrase “after these things” (NIV “after this”) and we hear the command to “come up here.”  And next thing you know we’re in heaven with John.  And the Church mysteriously appears to remain in heaven until we return with Christ as King of kings in Rev 19.  This can be nothing other than the Rapture of all true believers that occurs prior to the Tribulation.  No other answer makes sense to explain the complete absence/omission from the Church on earth during the Tribulation.  Want a little more proof?  In Rev 1:12 we have a reference to “seven golden lampstands.”  In Rev 1:20 Jesus Himself explains that the seven golden lampstands are the seven churches that He tells John to write to.  John is called up to heaven, and what does he immediately see?  Among other things surrounding the throne of God, he sees “seven lamps of fire burning before the throne” (Rev 4:5).  And I’m just going to tell you that those seven lamps are going to be resting on seven golden  lampstands!  Because the Church is in heaven where it belongs serving as the seven golden lampstands for those lamps.  As a further proof, Jesus seven times says in chapters 1-3, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”  Yet in Rev 13:9 we hear, “If anyone has an ear, let him hear.”  Either God is so angry at the churches He’s no longer even talking to them, or He isn’t talking to them because they’re in heaven and in Rev 13 God is urging the inhabitants of the earth to wisdom.  Another proof that the church is now in heaven is the twenty-four elders.  We know they aren’t angels because they are wearing crowns  (Rev 4:4) – and angels NEVER wear crowns ANYWHERE in the Bible because that honor is reserved only for God and for believing humans whom God honors.  The Bible mentions five crowns for believers: 1) the imperishable crown for believers who faithfully run their race (1 Cor 9:24-25); 2) the crown of rejoicing to those who win new believers for Christ (1 Thess 2:19-20; Dan 12:3); 3) the crown of life for Christians who endure trials even to death (James 1:12; Rev 2:8-11); 4) the crown of righteousness to those who love the appearing of Christ (2 Tim 4:8); and the crown of glory to shepherds who faithfully minister their flocks (1 Pet 5:1-4).  Further, “24” is symbolic of priestly service and priestly service is associated with human believers, not with angels.  As an example, there were 24 classifications of priests in 1 Chronicles 24-25.

Rev 3:10 promises that believers will be “kept from the hour of testing which is about to come upon the whole world.”  We have the promise of the sign of Noah and the sign of Sodom where Noah, Lot and their believing families are removed before divine  judgment falls upon the earth.  There’s a clear pattern: God prophetically warns the world of judgment; God removes His people; judgment falls.

So, by way of conclusion, John epitomizes a glorified believer prophetically called up to heaven at the beginning of events in Revelation 4 just as we shall be, and then seeing the rest of events through the eyes of a glorified believer.  We will have “a bird’s eye view” of what happens if there ever was one.

And we’ll be surrounding the throne of God, with the throne of God being the central focal point of the book of Revelation.  Everything that proceeds does so first from God on His throne.  John’s description of God on His throne is awesome in its majesty: God’s glory radiates like a precious multi-faceted gem (Rev 4:2).  Jasper is a white diamond representing divine purity; the sardius stone is a blood-red ruby symbolic of divine wrath and judgment.  God’s judgment is tempered,  however.  Because both God’s purity and wrath are enveloped in a rainbow of emerald representing divine life and mercy.  The NIV correctly says “encircled.”  Circles represent continuity and eternity.  And apparently every Christian is going to find out quickly that surrounding the throne of God is the place to be.

Surrounding the throne are four living beings (Rev 4:5-8).  They are apparently a class of angel in addition to the seraphim (Isaiah 6:1-7) and the cherubim (Gen 3:24; Ezekiel chap 1).  These four living beings may be a type of cherubim because they guard the throne of God (Psalm 89:1; 99:1).  What is most interesting about them is that their features resemble the description accorded to the different portraits of Christ in the four Gospels:  In Matthew Jesus is presented as a lion, the king.  In Mark Jesus is described as the hard-working ox who is fully obedient to the will of the Father.  The living being with the face of a man is recognized in Luke’s portrayal of Jesus as the perfect Man.  And the soaring eagle is fulfilled in John’s emphasis of Jesus’ heavenly and divine origin.

The word “sea” is also important.  In Rev 13 “the sea” is used to describe sinful humanity tossing around in fury and violence and confusion.  Isaiah repeatedly uses the metaphor of a restless ocean to describe the nations as “a troubled sea in a storm” (see Isaiah 57:20).  See also Jer 49:23 and Jude 1:13.  By way of contrast, we who surround God’s throne will be the picture of divine calm and peace, like a sea of crystal flowing out from the throne of God.  I like that picture a lot more than the always-raging sea of sinful humanity.

As we view the throne of God we begin Revelation 5: the exalted majesty of God on His throne leads to one thing – to the exaltation of the Lamb “standing in the center of the throne” (Rev 5:6).  Consider the incredible concept of God’s throne being a battle chariot from Daniel 7:9-10.  The battle chariot used by Old Testament warriors was a 2-3 man operation, with one steering the chariot while an archer/s and/ or spearman fought.  God’s throne is a Trinitarian throne.  And it is a throne that goes wherever God goes.

You see in Revelation chapter 5 Christ receiving worship in a manner that is impossible to deny.  As an example, in John 20:28 Thomas says, “My Lord and my God!”  And Mormons and JWs say it’s just an exclamation rather than a recognition of deity.  Jesus stands in the center of the throne of God (Rev 5:6).  The elders fall down on their knees before Jesus (5:8).  They and the angels pronounced Jesus as “worthy” (Rev 5:12).  And then God the Father and God the Son TOGETHER are worshiped (5:13-14).  It is merely unbelievable unbelief to deny that Jesus  is truly and fully God given the statement of Rev 5.

Now, we have a seven-sealed scroll with writing on both sides on the hand of the Father with the question, “Who is worthy to open it?”  And NO ONE is found who is worthy except one and ONLY one Person: the Lamb who was slain.  The physical characteristics of the scroll make one thing abundantly clear: it is a legal document that was seen in the ancient world: the contract would be written on the inner side, rolled up and sealed with seven seals, and a short description would be written on the outer side.  There are actually six different interpretations of what this scroll represents in various schools of thought.  But I’ll only mention the two that are genuine candidates.  The scroll is either: 1) the title deed to the earth (God gave man dominion over the earth, but Satan usurped that dominion; and Christ won the title deed back but had never exercised His claim until now); or 2) the decree to issue the judgment that will result in the eschaton (end of days) and ultimately in eternity.  I believe it is this second possibility because Christ opens the scroll and we initiate the unfolding of judgment and the beginning of the ushering in of the glorious eternal state.  So on that view, why does John weep when no one is found worthy (“qualified”) to open the scroll?  Because mankind is in this terrible state and nothing can be done to advance their condition and bring this terrible condition of the human race and planet earth to a good conclusion.  Only by Jesus opening the scroll can history move to the conclusion that a righteous, holy and merciful, loving God had foreordained for the world.

The seven years of the Tribulation will be the most fateful years in all of human history.  They initiate the countdown to the end of human law and lawlessness, and at the culmination of these seven years Jesus will finally personally return in a cataclysmic appearance on earth to establish the long-anticipated Kingdom of God.

The Tribulation will result in the Millennium in which Jesus Christ sits on the earthly throne of David in the earthly city of Jerusalem and rules over the world as is His right that He won for all time on the cross.  What is the purpose of all this?  It is twofold: 1) to literally fulfill every single promise that God gave to Israel, to God’s physical DNA-people the Jews.  Every promise of prominence, of blessing, of wealth and abundance, of shalom, in which Messiah rules from His David throne while all the peoples of the earth come to Jerusalem to worship Him, will be literally and completely fulfilled.  And 2) to also literally demonstrate to secular, unbelieving, sinful humanity that they can NOT create a better world – or even a world capable of surviving – apart from God and most especially apart from Jesus.  The world is saying, “We could evolve to our highest potential and solve all of our problems if only it weren’t for those damned Christians.”  Jesus is going to give them their chance: and in only seven years they will degenerate to the point that they will destroy themselves and literally destroy the planet they’re living on unless Jesus comes to personally intervene and take control.  By the time the Tribulation ends, no one will be able to say, “We were doing fine until Jesus showed up and ruined everything.”

Finally, the twenty-four elders, as glorified human saints, also give us a glimpse into our future work and ministry.  God will give believers crowns to honor our faithful service to Him while on earth, but we will primarily use those crowns not to exalt ourselves but rather to have something to exalt our God with as we cast our crowns at the feet of Jesus (Rev 4:9-11).  But in Rev 5:5-9 we also see these glorified believers being able to encourage and explain (“Stop weeping; behold!”); they carry “the golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints” as priests who minister before God.  And, yes, we WILL have harps in heaven and the ultimate capacity to make a truly joyful noise before the Lord.

Part Three: A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 6-7

Part Four: A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 8-9

Part Five: A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 10-11

Part Six: A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 12-13

Part Seven: A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 14-15

Part Eight: A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 16-18

Part Nine: A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 19-20

Part Ten: A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 21-22