Jesus said Come, Follow Me!

Chapter 10 – The End, The Revelation of Jesus Christ

Much of the church has become filled with traditions and doctrines of men. It is worldly and rich, having need of nothing. The lukewarm prevail and do not see the shame of their nakedness (sin) due to blindness (deception). Much of the church thinks of itself as alive, but is mostly dead. False doctrines dominate. Many churches have simply become a reflection of the world around them (ineffective). This may not be manifested in rhetoric, but mainly in deed. Even so, there are a few (remnant) that have not defiled their garments and have kept the Word of God. Many more are waking up as the end of the age fast approaches (Eph 2:1-6, Joel 2:32 ). Jesus’ message to the end time churches is to repent (forsake your sinfulness), holdfast (to the Gospel) and overcome (the flesh, the world and sin – through Christ). 1 John 5:4, “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” To overcome is to become Christ like, to walk as He walked – this is where our faith will take us. Conforming to Christ’s image can only be accomplished by being led of His Spirit. The power comes from God and not from man, his ability or his direction (Jn 1:12 -13, Eph 2:18 , 3:20 ). Those who seem as the world have been overcome by it and must quickly repent. Those walking by the Spirit are being transformed by God into His image.

Great tribulation is coming and the church will go through it as a refining fire of God to make ready the Bride of Christ (glorious and holy – without spot, blemish or wrinkle). The wheat will be separated from the tares (weeds), but even so, much deception will abound, – the wise will understand. Daniel 12:10 , “Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.” The tares (just religious) look just like the wheat (those serving Christ through faith) until the fruit appears (Mt 13:26 , 30). The fruit is how you will know (Mt 7:20 ). God in His great mercy is going to pull many from their worldliness (perhaps initially kicking and screaming) during this time. Many soiled and filthy garments will be washed and made white. The persecution and tribulation are truly necessary and will accomplish God’s purposes. This will be the removing of those things that can be shaken (Heb 12:27 ). This will be a time of affliction and great trial. God’s wrath will fall upon the wicked. The righteous will be tried and purified. This will be such a time of trouble that if it were not cut short, no one would survive. When we see our wrongful ways and doings, we will know that God has not done this without a cause (Ez 14:23 , 17:20 , 20:43 , 36:31, Hos 5:15 ).

Many are expecting a pre-tribulation rapture or great persecution of churches. I dare say that many religious organizations, associations and movements will enter into the tribulation relatively unscathed. The Lord said that the antichrist will make war with those who keep the Word of God ( Rev 12:17 ). This is a very significant point. The world is mostly religious, seeking man’s way (will) to reach God. In other words, man’s will over God’s will. They have God serving them. These assume they are keeping the will of God – but they love not the truth. The true application of God’s Word is a reproach to them and they have no delight in it (Jer 6:10 ). Following the path of the cross was fine when it was Christ doing it, but the religious have no such desire. They define death to self as mental agreement or acceptance. The beast (false prophet) will be a religious leader who comes as a lamb (religious, phony believer), but speaks as a dragon ( Rev 13:11 ). He will do great signs and wonders and will deceive and seduce them that dwell upon the earth ( Rev 13:13 -14, Mk 13:22 ). The world will wonder after the beast (Rev 13:3). There will be great deception. The beast will be the ultimate in rebellious man (666) and those who seek God through the flesh are going to want to hear what he has to say. Many religious will align with the beast. The religious leader will even call fire down from heaven in the sight of men ( Rev 13:13 ). Those who actually keep the Word of God will be persecuted by these religious ones – just like Christ was (Mt 10:21 -22). The religious system will have form; the true believer will have heart – big difference! This chapter will show when the Lord will come back (not the day nor hour, but after what events). One must keep in mind that even so, this day your life may be required of you. Let us be faithful.

 

Beginnings

In order to understand the tribulation and the end of the age, you must first understand the beginning. God created the world in six literal 24 hour days and rested on the seventh. God repeats this pattern throughout His historical dealings with mankind. God created man on the sixth day and six is the number of man. God rested from His labors on the seventh day and seven is the number of completion. Isaiah 46:10, “Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.” Each of the six creation days represent a one thousand year period (for a thousand years is as a day with God) that man will labor upon the earth for six thousand years total. The seventh creation day, Sabbath, represents a thousand year period of rest known as the millennial reign of Christ (instituted upon the return of Christ – Rev 20:4, Zech 14:9, 16-17). Christ will be the focus in the millennial reign just as He should be on the Sabbath. Although no one is exactly sure where we are in God’s time table, we are certainly very close to the end of the six thousand years of man (self rule). The tribulation will soon occur followed by the return of Christ. Romans 9:28 , “For he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth. (Ps 90:4)”

 

Why Tribulation?

This chapter will detail the horrible events of the coming tribulation upon the earth. Many will ask how a loving God could allow such a thing (Dan 4:35 ). The very question itself is a judgment upon God’s character and fairness. The hidden realities belong to God alone (Deut 29:29, also Rm 11:33 ). How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out (Rm 11:33 )? The reason for tribulation parallels Israel ’s and Judah ’s unfaithfulness to God. They forsook the Lord and sought the world like a whores/harlots unfaithfulness to her lover (read Ezekiel Chap 16). Today, many have forsaken Christ for the things of the world (they would never see it this way, but neither did Israel/Judah). Tribulation is the culmination of man’s rebellion against the will of God (Is 24:20, Joel 3:13 ) – pride has blossomed.  Rebellious man has sought to exalt himself from the very beginning. Just as Adam’s disobedience brought sin, death and untold suffering upon the earth it will all come to a pinnacle at the end of the age. Daniel 8:23-24, “And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people.” Death, suffering and confusion will reign as man seeks his ultimate will. Jeremiah 23:20 , “The anger of the LORD shall not return, until he have executed, and till he have performed the thoughts of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly.” Man chose to follow the devil in the Garden of Eden and the devil’s son will be manifested to and accepted as Messiah by a rebellious mankind (Christ was rejected, Jn 5:43). This will be a time of judgment upon man’s wickedness. Man will receive the fruit of his own way (Pv 1:31 , Jer 6:19 , 17:10 , 21:14 , 32:19, Micah 7:13 , Zech 1:6). All creation will see the results of what rebellion against God has produced (Rm 9:22 -23). All creation will see the hell on earth that is manifested when Satan is allowed to rule for a short period of time according to his way (nature). Jesus Christ will put an end to the chaos, confusion, suffering, wickedness and death and will set up His kingdom to show the world how things could have and should have been from the beginning. The wicked will receive judgment. Beware: God’s four sore judgments are coming, the sword (war), famine (lack), noisome beast (opposed to man), and pestilence (plague, contagious disease) – Jer 15:2-3, Ez 5:8-12, 6:10-14, 7:15, 14:21. These judgments were used extensively prior to Judah ’s fall  and exile (Jeremiah and Ezekiel).

We live in a fallen world. Death is just as common as life and it is relentless. Animals kill each other. Animals kill man. Man kills animals. Man kills man (Gen 9:5-6, Eccl 1:4, 3:19 , 4:16 ). This cycle will continue in this fallen world until God’s purposes are complete (Gen 8:22 , Ps 49:15, Eccl 3:19 ). What shall be said of this: Ecclesiastes 12:7, “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” AND Psalms 89:48, “What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death? shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave? Selah.” Jesus came to bring truth and eternal life. Christ paid a debt that we could not and reconciles fallen man back under God’s authority. We are to put aside our hostilities and take up the banner of love (Song of Solomon 2:4). Love is God’s nature and we best comply. We must relish God’s authority with all respect and worship and come out of our rebellion. Your image must be reconciled (through Jesus) with that of God. Your image will be that of God or that of SELF. Those who worship self will have no place with God.

The antichrist spirit is in the world. The generation born just after the second world war known as the “baby boomers” has been referred to as the “ME” generation (see Chapter 7, Rock and Roll). It has been characterized by selfishness and rebellion. This generation paralleled the establishment of the United Nations and the re-establishment of Israel as a recognized nation with sovereign borders. The self-centeredness and rebellion has accelerated since (abortion, sexual revolution, the pill, feminism, rebellious music forms, television, Sodomites, etc.) and has become the norm for modern society and for most of the established religious institutions that claim to follow God (confusion). This is the antichrist generation (paves the way). The rebellion is now so complete in the world that those who truly follow Christ have become exceedingly bright lights (due to the surrounding darkness).

God has pleaded with His people on many prior occasions due to their rebellion, disobedience, lack of faith, sinfulness and worldliness, namely in the wilderness for forty years and in the captivity of Babylon (Ex 17:20). Ezekiel 20:35-36, 38, “And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead with you face to face. Like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt , so will I plead with you, saith the Lord GOD. And I will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against me: I will bring them forth out of the country where they sojourn, and they shall not enter into the land of Israel : and ye shall know that I am the LORD.” Those who identify with God are to be set apart and under His authority. Many desire to be like the world around them and seek such pleasures. Jeremiah 2:35 , “Yet thou sayest, Because I am innocent, surely his anger shall turn from me. Behold, I will plead with thee, because thou sayest, I have not sinned.” For what purpose did God plead? Ezekiel 20:43-44, “And there shall ye remember your ways, and all your doings, wherein ye have been defiled; and ye shall lothe yourselves in your own sight for all your evils that ye have committed. And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have wrought with you for my name’s sake, not according to your wicked ways, nor according to your corrupt doings, O ye house of Israel , saith the Lord GOD.” The great tribulation will be such a time. So many who “profess Christ” live worldly lives far from His will. Most are seeking their own will and not God’s. God is going to purge the rebels and purify the remnant by humbling them and causing them to see their trespasses and great need for Jesus. Once you see your sin and depravity and seek God, then: Ezekiel 36:25-27, “Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.” God’s purpose is to reconcile through Christ, but we must see our need for this to be accomplished. Those who are living as the world do not see such a need, irregardless of their profession. Galatians 1:4-5, “Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” Many do not desire deliverance, they love the darkness.

Much of the religious world does not see their sin and depravity and great need for Jesus: Revelation 3:17-19, “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” These think they are rich, but Jesus says they are poor. However, Jesus told another group ( Smyrna ) who were poor and suffering tribulation that they were actually rich (Rev 2:9). There seems to be a disconnect between many religious and the truth. These religious do not see their need. They are living in the flesh, prospering and believe all is well. Huge religious buildings are going up and membership growth is being realized. They are purpose driven, but unfortunately not Spirit led. Jesus says they have nothing of eternal value (spiritually lacking), are sinful and deceived. Their reliance is on self and human ingenuity. Christ has not given up on them. Jesus says buy of me gold tried in the fire (1 Pt 1:7). What does this mean? The fire is the tribulation that we suffer to refine us for the Master’s use. This is what the church at Smyrna was going through when Jesus told them they were rich. 1 Corinthians 3:11-14, “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.” We must build our lives on a correct foundation of faith in Jesus Christ and serve Him – this is true riches. The trial of our faith is more precious than gold  – it will be tried in fire (1 Pt 1:7, Zech 13:9). Job 23:10 , “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” Christ searcheth the reins and hearts ( Rev 2:23 ). We must have white raiment, which is purity from sin. We purify our souls by obeying the truth through the Spirit (1 Pt 1:22 ). The nakedness represents our sinfulness (Adam and Eve sinned and realized their nakedness, Gen 3:7; Israel made false gods and defiled themselves – the people were naked, Ex 32:25 – also 2 Cor 5:3, Ez 15:8). The blindness is deception and confusion given to those who love not the truth of God’s Word. Does this not describe much of the modern religious world? They build ministry empires and television networks – they are rich and think they need nothing – yet they live as the world. They do not see their sin and filth – they wallow in it. Most of these religious feel they have license (a covering) to live as the world and in sin, namely Jesus Christ, yet they feel the lost (those who do not profess) do not have such freedom – confusion. This notion may not be manifested in rhetoric, but in deeds – lifestyle, thoughts, actions.

 

God’s Four Sore Judgments

When Joshua led the children of Israel into the Promised Land, he was told to utterly destroy the peoples (Deut 7:2, 24, 9:3), their writings (Num 33:52, Deut 18:9, 20:17-18) and their idols (Ex 34:13, Deut 7:5, 12:2-3, Josh 23:7). These people, through their actions, were wicked (accursed) before God and this was His judgment upon them (Gen 15:16 , Deut 9:4-5, 18:12 , 31:3). Israel was not to be as these peoples because they did all the things which were abominable to God (Lev 18:1-30, Deut 18:9-12). Israel went on to become more wicked than the nations whose land they possessed (2 Kg 21:9), because they transgressed God’s will by seeking their “own way” (Jer 32:30). They disregarded God’s commandments and sought after idols, and lived in the manner of the wicked peoples around them (Deut 31:16, 32:16-19, Ps 78:56-58, Josh 2:8-13, Jer 32:33-35). Israel even exceeded the wickedness of the peoples they dispossessed (2 Kg 21:9, 11)! God sent Judges (Jdg 2:18 -19) to deliver the people and later provided kings. Yet the people continually did evil in the sight of God, constantly provoking Him with their vanities (Jdg 10:6). The kings of Israel were a foreshadowing of “The King” that God would later send. The people were to be submitted and obedient to the king’s direction (Jdg 17:6, 21:25 ), and this was an object lesson (an allegory). The kings were suppose to be submitted to God and execute righteous judgment, but this was not always the case. God also sent prophets who spoke His Words. In all cases the messages of the prophets were for the people to turn from (forsake) their wickedness and rebellion (Jer 18:8, 2 Chr 7:14 ), and come back to God, who would have mercy (Is 55:7). Jeremiah 25:4-5, “And the LORD hath sent unto you all his servants the prophets, rising early and sending them; but ye have not hearkened, nor inclined your ear to hear. They said, Turn ye again now every one from his evil way, and from the evil of your doings, and dwell in the land that the LORD hath given unto you and to your fathers for ever and ever.” Turn ye, turn ye from “your” wicked ways – from your path (Ez 33:11). God said: Isaiah 65:2, “I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good; after their own thoughts.” The Lord also said, “Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations. They did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not (Is 66:3-4).” The Lord said they had a revolting and rebellious heart (Jer 5:23 ) and would not walk in the good path (Jer 6:16 ). God has been very consistent in His expectations of man from the beginning: Deuteronomy 10:12-13, “And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, To keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?” – to cleave to Him in obedience (Deut 13:4, Jer 7:23 )! This is the first great commandment (Mk 12:29 -30). The message is to surrender to God’s authority. God’s prophets were “not received” and were mistreated (beaten, cast into prison) and killed (Mt 21:35 ). 2 Chronicles 36:16, “But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till there was no remedy.” God told them over and over that judgment was coming. Jeremiah 29:17, “Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Behold, I will send upon them the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, and will make them like vile figs, that cannot be eaten, they are so evil.” Jeremiah 25:7, “Yet ye have not hearkened unto me, saith the LORD; that ye might provoke me to anger with the works of your hands to your own hurt.” AND Jeremiah 26:13, “Therefore now amend your ways and your doings, and obey the voice of the LORD your God; and the LORD will repent him of the evil that he hath pronounced against you.” All the time they were committing evil against the Lord they maintained a form of godliness worshipping in the temple (Jer 7:1-12, Ez 23:37 -39). They plowed wickedness, reaped iniquity; ate the fruit of lies (the forbidden fruit, the devil’s lie): because they didst trust in their own way (Hos 10:13 ). Drastic measures were taken by God to get Israel ’s attention (Jer 32:23). God said he would destroy His people because they turned not from “their ways” (Jer 15:7, 18:11 -12). Ezekiel 6:10-11, “And they shall know that I am the LORD, and that I have not said in vain that I would do this evil unto them. Thus saith the Lord GOD; Smite with thine hand, and stamp with thy foot, and say, Alas for all the evil abominations of the house of Israel ! for they shall fall by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence.” God sent His four sore judgments of the sword, famine, pestilence and noisome beasts (Jer 15:2-3, 34:17, Ez 5:8-12, 16-17, 6:10-14, 7:15, 14:21). Those who survived were carried off into Babylonian exile (Jer 4:18 , 5:13 , 16:12 -13). Lamentations 3:42 , “We have transgressed and have rebelled: thou hast not pardoned.” This was intended to get Israel ’s full attention. Jeremiah 2:35 , “Yet thou sayest, Because I am innocent, surely his anger shall turn from me. Behold, I will plead with thee, because thou sayest, I have not sinned.” Israel had not been able to see their iniquity or self seeking ways in anything they did (Jer 4:22 ). They were not submitted to God, but thought they were in “their way.” In Babylon , they would have frame of mind to ponder such things (see things as they are). Ezekiel 20:43-44, “And there shall ye remember your ways, and all your doings, wherein ye have been defiled; and ye shall lothe yourselves in your own sight for all your evils that ye have committed. And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have wrought with you for my name’s sake, not according to your wicked ways, nor according to your corrupt doings, O ye house of Israel , saith the Lord GOD (also Ez 36:31).” AND Ezekiel 20:35 -38, “And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead with you face to face. Like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt , so will I plead with you, saith the Lord GOD. And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant: And I will purge out from among you the rebels (those who rebelliously walk in their own way), and them that transgress against me (those who follow the devil’s lie): I will bring them forth out of the country where they sojourn, and they shall not enter into the land of Israel: and ye shall know that I am the LORD.” Jeremiah 24:7, “And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the LORD: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart” (also Ez 11:19 -20). The four sore judgments was God’s mercy in turning, at least a remnant, back to Himself. Otherwise all would be lost.

The way in which God dealt with rebellious Israel and Judah are a foreshadowing of what is on the horizon (Great Tribulation). God is extremely merciful and forgiving to those who will forsake their wickedness and turn to Him with a perfect heart of love. The popular gospel in the modern world has become one of the flesh. This is a gospel that allows men to transgress the will of God supposedly with Christ’s understanding (ye shall not surely die) and to seek their own way (ye shall be as gods). In other words, this is a sugar coated version of the devil’s original and continuing “Lie.” Most who profess Christ now live as the world and have mostly been overcome. Jesus has been reduced to a spiritual covering for all manner of self seeking, and worldliness. God has been longsuffering till there be no remedy. The horsemen are mounting their steeds as the four sore judgments are looming. Revelation 6:2-8, “And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer. And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword (The sword). And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine (The famine). And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger (The Famine), and with death (The pestilence), and with the beasts of the earth (The noisome beasts).” The false prophets are crying peace, peace (rapture, rapture), but Great Tribulation is coming. God will bring judgment – for He is righteous and He delights in truth and judgment (Jer 4: 2, 9:24 , Ps 19:9, 33:4-5, Ps 86:11, 119:42). This is the character of God and He is true to His being. This will get the attention of all as God pleads one last time with a most rebellious people – impudent and stiffnecked (Ez 2:3-4).

 

Purification

To be pure, your inner life (heart) is as pure as the outward (visible) life per God’s expectations. Israel was instructed to make the various implements for the Lord’s Tabernacle, and later for the temple, from pure gold (e.g. Ex 25:11, 17, 24, 29, 31, 36, 38, 39). Gold naturally has some impurities in it. When you put the gold to the flame, the impurities are burnt away (tried in the furnace) leaving a pure substance of value. The impurities represent sin. Pure gold does not stain or corrode. The pure gold represents holiness and righteousness. The flame represents those persecutions and tribulations that one endures to bring about a pureness. Being in the flame is necessary to obtain the purity, but is not appealing to the flesh (Heb 12:11 ). We are to become as pure gold. Proverb 17:3, “The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the LORD trieth the hearts.” The fact that these instruments in the Lord’s earthly dwelling (tabernacle, temple) were pure gold represents God’s absolute holiness and righteousness – free from impurity (iniquity). 1 Peter 1:5, 7, “Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:22, “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently.” We are tried by God for purification (Zech 13:9, Mal 3:2-3). The tribulation and suffering we endure on earth purifies us. We would never choose this, but it is absolutely necessary. Physically dying for Christ (martyrdom) is the ultimate “dying to SELF” and accomplishes God’s will, thus bringing purity (freedom from sin, Dan 11:35 ). This will become evident in this chapter.

 

The Bride and the Harlot

Revelation 17:1-2, “And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.” To be drunk is to lose self-control (opposite of the fruit of the Spirit – temperance); to become less inhibited (reserved, subdued, self conscious); to have less judgment (certainly not righteous judgment); to not have clarity of mind or reaction (dulled senses); and loss of vision (blindness). Fornication represents unfaithfulness to God. Fornication with the whore is forsaking God for the sensuality of another. Sensuality is the preoccupation with the gratification of physical appetites and especially the sexual appetite. This is saying that the leaders and the inhabitants of the earth have lost self control, inhibitions, judgment, clarity of mind and are blinded in their lusts for the pleasures, entertainments, worldliness, fleshly fulfillments, and general materialism of the whore ( Babylon ). These are the things that she offers. She seduces wonderfully! This whore has corrupted the whole earth (Rev 19:2). The flesh dominates in seeking it’s will. This has always been the devil’s ploy. To lure men through their own lusts to seek their own will (thereby transgressing God’s will) to be as gods (Gen 3:5). Many do this with a Christian covering (sheep skin) and believe “ye shall surely not die” (Gen 3:4). This keeps men in the rebellion against God. This is how the devil eternally separates men from God – and always has been. You die in your own rebellion seeking temporal gratifying lusts of the flesh. God pleads for those to come out of this evil (Rev 18:4). You must renounce your rebellion against God and surrender to Him with a whole heart of faith in obedience to His will. Those who do not come out of such unfaithfulness will experience God’s original promise (thou shalt surely die, Gen 2:17 ).

The body of Christ is represented as the “bride” in scripture. The false religion mixed with worldliness represents the “harlot” in scripture. This false religion represents all of man’s religious efforts and idolatry through the ages and cultures, but particularly tries to convey a twisted gospel (another Jesus). This idolatry and seeking of other gods is spiritual fornication. The bride is led of the Spirit, seeks Christ’s will and says, “Father, glorify thy name,” and “thy will be done.” The harlot, who lives for self says, “Father, glorify my name,” and “my will be done.” The harlot seeks her own and wants to save her flesh. The bride wears white, which is simple, unpretentious and innocent (Rev 19:7-9) representing cleanliness, purity and outward righteousness (Zech 3:1-7). She is clothed with God’s nature and has a robe of righteousness (Is 61:10). Let us examine how the harlot religious system is arrayed: Revelation 17:3-5, “So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” Babylon had once been a golden cup in the Lord’s hand (Jer 51:7). The harlot (false religious) wears purple and scarlet colors and is decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, (the dainties of the world, Ps 141:4). Babylon desires to deck herself with the glory and things of this world (Hos 2:13 , Nahum 3:4). She seeks self satisfaction, yet assumes she is the image of God. She has lived deliciously and lusted after the good things of the world (Rev 18:7, 14). Babylon is a mystery to many people, because she claims to follow Jesus. Can’t you just hear her say, you can’t out-sin God? Or God accepts you no matter what you do! – such filthiness. We must ask ourselves: Do we reflect Christ or the world in our thoughts, deeds, actions, likes, and dislikes? – Where is the majority of your time spent? This is a true indicator – don’t be self deceived or fooled. Don’t compare yourself to others. What if Noah had compared himself to others (everybody’s doing it)? Compare yourself to God’s Word. 2 Corinthians 13:5, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” Ask God to examine you: Psalm 139:23, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:” We must set our heart to understand and chasten ourselves before God and He will hear us (Dan 10:12 ). The harlot fornicates with the world. The beast that the harlot rides upon is the World’s government/economic system (Is 23:8, merchants Rev 18:23 ). The harlot is great whereas the bride is holy. Babylon may be interested in evangelism, religious ceremony, buildings, social work, popularity and big crowds – she seeks greatness and worldly honor – but she has no interest in righteousness and holiness (denying the flesh). We are told to cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God – this is what it’s all about (2 Cor 7:1). What men esteem highly is an abomination to God (Lk 16:15) – possessions, wealth, education, societal position, big cathedrals, programs, influence, traditions, musical talent, self-righteousness, creeds, religiosity, ceremony, donations, authority, control (Mk 12:38-40, Lk 18:11, Mt 6:1-2, 5-7, 16-18).  We must come out of Babylon (Rev 18:4). Babylon is any system that would come between Christ and us in any way including priests and religiosity. Babylon wants to put us under her control and keep us there by making us fear that she alone is where salvation and right standing before God is found and that we must partake of her fellowship and sacraments. Babylon says we must assemble with her and support her needs, build her palaces and perform her good (?) works. Babylon is destined to make war with the lamb and His chosen ones ( Rev 12:17 ). Babylon does not take correction very well and would rather put out the light than come to it (Ps 37:12, 32, Gal 4:29 ). Proverb 29:27, “…and he that is upright in the way is abomination to the wicked.” AND Galatians 4:29 , “But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.” Babylon is self-centered: Isaiah 47:10, “For thou hast trusted in thy wickedness: thou hast said, None seeth me. Thy wisdom and thy knowledge, it hath perverted thee; and thou hast said in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me (also Zeph 2:15 ).” Notice that she trusts in her wisdom and knowledge (tree of) and was corrupted. This is in keeping with Satan and his rebellion (See Chapter One). This system leads multitudes away from the One True God into eternal damnation and thus corrupts the world with her fornication (seeking of other gods – idolatry, Rev 19:2).

Revelation 17:6, “And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.” Babylon opposes Christ, but seduces wonderfully. This harlot had killed the saints, yet the apostle John wondered (be in awe) and marvelled with great admiration when he saw this whore – but there is hidden truth about this woman (Rev 17:7). Many are fixated upon the eyes of this serpent as it slowly swallows them and chokes their life out. Throughout the centuries, millions of true saints of God have been persecuted and killed by religious organizations of all denominations. Did you know that even John Calvin (revered by many) had a rival named Michael Servetus burned at the stake? His crime was that he disagreed with Calvin’s theology and he was judged a heretic (I’m not defending Servetus’ theology). Martin Luther encouraged civil authorities to take up arms and put down those who disagreed with his theology. Martin Luther also wrote a pamphlet titled, “On the Jews and their Lies” which advocated Christians to set synagogues on fire, to destroy Jewish houses and to put Jews in stables, and it advised rulers to banish Jews from their countries. Nowhere in New Testament scripture can violence against another be justified, especially in the cause of Christ. These men were zealous, but for who? – God or self. Jesus said that some would kill and think they do God a service – how misguided (Jn 16:2). Who knows how many saints that the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church have killed (physically and spiritually)? Even today, many saints are being slain by their “fellow-professed Christians” by their tongues and their writings for preaching the whole counsel of God (that of repentance and righteousness). This is character assassination – misrepresentation (straight from the devil’s toolbox). If one can be demonized (as the religious attempted with Christ – Mt 12:24 ), then their witness becomes less effective. Babylon and her daughters are indeed drunk with the blood of the true witnesses of Jesus. Babylon ’s immorality is seen in the fact that she claims to represent Christ and yet lives by the principles of the world and seeks to be great in the world. That is how her cup becomes full of abominations. Churches that build impressive facilities, emphasize money (tithe/support), or are concerned with church growth – membership/decisions rather than changed lives are surely Babylon . The true church prepares for Christ’s coming through purity (righteousness) and faithfulness to God that is expressed in biblically correct attitudes, motives, thoughts, and actions. These are demonstrated in a daily walk to become like Christ.

Consider this carefully: 1 Corinthians 6:15-17, 19-20, “Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ (bride), and make them the members of an harlot (world)? God forbid. What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” When we follow the world and our desire is for the things of the world, we become one with the world. This makes you an enemy of God (Js 4:4). Your walk will speak much louder than your words. Israel and Judah went whoring after the world and God gave them over to their lovers (the ungodly). Only a small remnant of Judah was saved. Psalm 73:27, “ For, lo, they that are far from thee shall perish: thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring (are unfaithful) from thee.” Please consider the whole account of Israel ’s worldly whoredoms written in Ezekiel Chapter 23 and throughout the prophets. What was the result of Israel ’s whoredoms: Romans 9:27, “Esaias also crieth concerning Israel , Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved.” Seeking after the things of the world? – idolatry is a very serious thing. If this is something you do not think about or actively fight then you are spiritually blinded and most likely idolatrous. God will give those who choose the world over to the world during tribulation. Those who follow the beast for the things of the world or selfish benefit (save your own skin) will be eternally lost. When Jesus returns all the kindreds of the earth shall wail (Loud weeping; violent lamentation, great sorrow) because of Him; most are in rebellion – Even so, Amen (Rev 1:7).

 

Beware of Leaven

In scripture “leaven” is used as a symbol of self-exaltation, hypocrisy (Lk 12:1, Lev 2:11 , 6:17 ) and sin (Ex 34:25). For example, Jesus said: Mark 8:15, “And he charged them, saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod.” His disciples did not understand what He meant so Jesus provided clarification: Matthew 16: 11 -12, “How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.” These religious sought to exalt their will (self) rather than God’s (Lk 12:1). Leaven causes the lump to rise and these “raise” their will above God’s. The leaven of King Herod (ruler) was later visible as he was struck dead for receiving glory that should have went to God. The people called him a god and he accepted their praise (Acts 12:20 -23).

Seven days prior to the Jewish celebration of Passover all leavened bread was required to be removed from one’s home (Ex 12:15 -20). This was symbolic of humbling one’s self and removing all sin. Unleavened bread was to be eaten for the Passover meal (Ex 12:8). This was highly symbolic of Jesus. Christ is the bread sent from heaven (Jn 6:32 -37). Jesus never exalted self and only did the Father’s will and had no sin (Jn 6:38 ). We must beware of exalting ourselves and our purposes rather than God’s. 1 Corinthian 5:6-8, “Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” We are to become humble (die to self) and conform to Christ in authenticity and genuineness. If we do not crucify the old life then nothing has changed.

We are warned throughout the New Testament to beware of deception. Luke 13:20-21, “And again he said, Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God ? It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.” The parable is explained as follows: The leaven is man seeking his will (self-exaltation) and man’s sinfulness and transgressions against God – and gloating in such. The meal represents those who are professing Christ. Leavened dough is equate with spiritual adultery in scriptures (Hos 7:4). The woman is the great harlot described in Revelation Chapter 17 (for clarification read Ezekiel Chapter 16). The woman is composed of those who claim to represent Christ, but actually are exalting self and their real love is the things of the world – hence, a sinful harlot. Notice the woman hid the leaven in the meal. This is descriptive of deception – it is there, but not obvious to the undiscerning. In the course of time (since Pentecost), this seeking of man’s will (self-exaltation) and sinfulness, works its way through the whole body corrupting all. We are told in scripture: Galatians 5:9, “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” Why three measures of meal? There has existed for some time three main visible groups (institutionalized) who claim to exclusively represent Christ (It should be noted that Jesus in actuality represents Himself). These groups are the Orthodox Church, Roman Catholic Church, and the Protest-ant Church . If you honestly look (using the Bible as your reference) at where each of these institutions is headed (or are already there) through all their organizations and associations, it is toward apostasy or “being leavened.” These groups have set themselves between the believer and Christ. These groups are following the doctrines and traditions of men and are calling it God’s will. Most will identify themselves as one of these groups (or their offspring; where do you go to church? I’m a…?), rather than a follower of Christ.

Luke 13:18-19, “Then said he, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I resemble it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it.” Those who profess to follow Christ (Christians) have multiplied across the earth into an exceedingly great multitude. Fowls of the air have always been representative of demons (Lk 8:5, 12). Man has developed vast religious systems in which the demons of the air find shelter. This is representative of the religious who serve through the flesh rather than the Spirit. This also reveals great deception. When we die to SELF (and the world) as we have been instructed to do, we will be like our Lord and the devil and his demons will have no place in us (Jn 14:30 ). Please note that Jesus defined “fowls of the air” in His parable of the seeds: Mark 4:4, “And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up.” Jesus later clarified the meaning in His explanation of the parable: Mark 4:15 , “And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.”

 

The Issue of Sin

Matthew 1:21 , “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” Remember sin results from man’s rebellion and rejection of God’s will and purposes in favor of his own. Many think Jesus came to save them from hell. Hell is a punishment and consequence of man’s sin and rebellion against God. Hell was created for the Satan and his angels, but rebellious man will also join his chosen master there (Mt 25:41). Christ came to deliver you from sin. Many love darkness and do not want to be delivered, and this is the condemnation (Jn 3:19 ). The fleshly man will justify his sin and use God’s Word, forgiveness, and grace as license to continue therein (Rm 6:1-7, Jude 1:4). They are presumptuous (presuming audacious, insolent) in their sin. Jesus absolutely did not come to justify man to sin, the very thing God hates, for this is the very reason Christ had to die. If God concedes to man on the issue of sin, then man’s will prevails over God’s will. If man’s will prevails, then his master (for those who choose their will), the devil’s also prevails. Are you seeing this? When men tell you that you are saved, having no evidence of conversion and worse, tell you cannot lose this salvation due to continued sin, they are deceiving you to an eternity in hell. I saw a banner the other day that read, “God loves you no matter what.” This may sound good to the flesh, but you better read God’s Word on the matter (Ps 5:4-5, 7:11, 9:17, 11:5, 34:16, Is 57:21, Mal 2:17, 4:1). Jesus came to save you from your sins. To be saved from sin is to be saved from the love of sin. To love sin is to practice it and be comfortable in it. Has your desire to sin been taken away? Do you even see sin as a problem? If not, you have never understood your wickedness and certainly never truly repented. You cannot believe in Jesus and really desire his forgiveness and guidance, while at the same time holding onto any sin and doing that which opposes Him.  If you intend to continue in sin, then what are you desiring forgiveness of? Of what profit would forgiveness be? Maybe your just desiring a legal license to sin? You cannot continue to live for self and your desires and expect not to sin. It does not work. True repentance means truly seeking Jesus to free you from all sins.  True repentance is loosing your life and finding a new one in Christ Jesus with His nature. No exceptions.

The devil continues to peddle his original deception (lie) to mankind – you can sin against God and not die (ye shall surely not die). Sin is trivialized (made light of, played down – Pv 14:9) and Christ is made a minister of sin. His sacrifice being some sort of covering or transference of righteousness such that God overlooks continued willful wickedness under the guise of forgiveness and grace (Gal 2:17 ). As in the days of Noah, the world is becoming increasingly wicked. Genesis 6:12, “And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.” Many of the religious institutions have allied with the world and are following suit. To face the issue of sin means that one will have to make hard choices in coming to the light. The condemnation is that many choose the darkness. Ignoring (rejecting) the light is choosing the darkness. Justifying your sinful actions is rejecting the light. Those (I’m talking religious here) who love darkness, hate the light and will condemn those in the light as legalists, extremists, fanatics, and self righteous – maybe even cults. They want to turn off the light. Those in darkness will only become darker – it’s a slippery slope of ever darker shades of gray. Those in darkness will continually stumble and so will their followers – confusion will reign. The devil’s original lie takes on many different forms. Some think all things will just work out for their benefit in the end. Some feel if they are a good person (by their/SELF definition) that they will be in right standing before God. Some think that everyone (even after spending some rehabilitation time in hell) will ultimately be reconciled to God. The list could go on and on, but the point is that most rely/cling on their rebellious pertinacious opinions/sentiment rather than the truth plainly stated in God’s Word. They exalt their opinions as eternal truths. Man just refuses to humble himself and submit to God – and this is to his own condemnation. This has been the issue since the beginning!

Proverb 30:12, “There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness.” That generation is here and now! This is a generation that accepts the fact that they have sin and require forgiveness. They believe that Christ has forgiven them of their sins – and He will. The problem is that they wish to remain in the darkness not forsaking their sins, yet want to be continually forgiven of them. Christ becomes their minister of sin (Gal 2:17 ). They have no victory because they will not release the darkness. They have not been washed from their filthiness and do not necessarily want to be. They will use God’s love to justify the wicked (Ex 34:7, Is 5:23 , Nahum 1:3). They are still serving sin and are thus unregenerate. These are not following Christ’s example or continuing in His Word, yet believe they are in His will (Jn 8:31-32). They do not love the truth. Satan knew the truth, but he did not abide in it (Jn 8:44 ). To love the truth is to live your life within it. One message of the book of Revelation is that during the tribulation, many will be purified. These must come to see their hypocrisy and the need to lay down their will and rebellion and be cleansed from their sin (and desire for). This may come about under increasing pressure as God is truly merciful. Deuteronomy 4:30-31, “When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the LORD thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice; (For the LORD thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them.” The children of the flesh are not the children of God, but the children of promise (faith) are counted for the seed (spiritual Israel – Rm 9:8). Many will continue to serve the flesh and their self interest assuming that Christ will bless them regardless. We read in Chapter One that the very essence of sin is man’s desire to live out his will rather than God’s. To be cleansed from filthiness or sin, Christ must conquer our self-will and rebellion and bring it into subjection to His purposes, and thus we are saved from the power of sin. Psalms 24:3-5, “Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity (Pride in ourselves), nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.” If we do not have a clean heart to do God’s will then salvation will not be ours. Psalm 5:4, “For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee.”

 

Rewards

Many folks think of heaven in terms of what they will get (mansions, crowns, gold, precious stones, privilege, etc.). God shows that what man thinks as important are merely road paving and building materials in heaven. Man still wants God to serve him – even in heaven! The book of Revelation reveals heaven to be a place where God is greatly praised and exalted, and His perfect will is flawlessly accomplished. If you do not perform God’s will now on earth (putting yours aside), don’t think God doesn’t realize that you will have no interest in doing so in heaven (Mt 6:10 ). God is not gathering more rebellious ones. When some religious organizations teach of obedience and holiness, it is usually in the context of receiving rewards (or not losing any) and this is fleshly and flawed – without love or sacrifice. Do not assume that one will have the same fleshly lusts and desires in heaven. Dwelling in God’s presence will be paradise, but our outlook will be different than on earth. We will be in glorified bodies, purified and bearing the image of the heavenly (1 Cor 15:40 -44, 49). Recall what happened to Lucifer when his desires rose within him. 1 Corinthians 15:53, “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” When Christ shall appear, we shall be like Him (1 Jn 3:2). There will be much to enjoy, but the covetous will not be there. We will dwell with God and that is paradise.

Many people want to go to heaven – an eternal life of bliss! Do these want to love and obey God such that His will is performed even if it requires immediate (and sustained) suffering, tribulation, reproach or self denial on their part (Job 13:15)? Are these willing to justify God to their own detriment (loss, disadvantage, injury)? I dare say that many just want to seize upon the inheritance (Mt 21:38 ). We must live in the Spirit (deny flesh) to gain the inheritance. We must have a heart of love for God and delight in His Will if we want to dwell with Him (Is 66:2). We must desire to be endeared (to make beloved) to our creator, Lord and Savior and not seek selfish benefit.

 

The End of the Age

Prophecy concerning the end of the age is located throughout the books of the Bible. The bulk is located in Matthew (Chap. 24), Mark (Chap. 13), Luke (Chap. 21), Daniel (particularly Chap 12), Ezekiel, Joel, and the book of Revelation. In Daniel we are told, Daniel 12:9, “And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.” In Revelation we are told, Revelation 22:10 , “And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.” We are also told, Revelation 22:7, “Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.” When the prophecies were given to Daniel (who was very wise), he was greatly perplexed and deeply troubled, but was not given the meaning. These things have now been unsealed and we can understand them and are blessed in it. The Coming of Christ is preceded by a period of time known as the Great Tribulation. This will be a time of affliction and great trial. God’s wrath will fall upon the wicked. The righteous will be tried and purified. This will be such a time of trouble that if it were not cut short, no one would survive. That which is holding back Satan will be removed and the devil will be given much more leverage to afflict the world (as he was granted with Job) as God’s protective hedge is lessoned. He will bring forth his son the antichrist, together with a false religious system and will rule the earth for a short period of time. God is still in control! Even so, the saints will suffer and be purified. Hebrews 12:26-27, “Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.” The things which can be shaken are those things which you (man) have produced. The things which cannot be shaken are those things which God has wrought in you. The saints will triumph over the world in their sacrifice of self for God’s purposes. Christ will then return and destroy the devil’s works and take dominion of the earth.

The book of Revelation opens with Christ’s message to the seven churches (types of called out ones, assemblies). Ephesus is has religious works, but is without love, having lost her first love, Jesus Christ. They labor in Christ’s name, but do not KNOW Him (Rev 2:3-4). They are rebuked and told to repent (Rev 2:5) and overcome (Rev 2:7). Smyrna is suffering persecution (trial, testing) and is poor (humble) and is not rebuked. Jesus equates their suffering and poverty to being rich (Rev 2:9, in eternal merit) – such a paradox to the flesh. They are told to be faithful unto death ( Rev 2:10 ) and overcome ( Rev 2:11 ). Pergamos is worldly and holds to the doctrines of Balaam and the Nicolaitanes (those who want to rule/lord-over the people). They are rebuked and told to repent ( Rev 2:16 ) and overcome ( Rev 2:17 ). Thyatira is adulterous (loves the things of the world) and has received false teaching. They are rebuked and told to repent ( Rev 2:21 ) and overcome (holdfast, Rev 2:25 ). Sardis is hypocritical, but a few have been faithful and are worthy. This group believes they are “alive” and doing great things. God sees them as otherwise (Rev 3:1-2). They are rebuked and told to repent (holdfast, Rev 3:3) and overcome (Rev 3:5). Philadelphia is faithful and is not rebuked. They are told, Revelation 3:10 , “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” This refers to the great tribulation. Notice that the whole world will be tried. They are also told to overcome (can’t let up, Rev 3:7). The Laodicean church is proud and self-sufficient and thinks she needs nothing. They are rebuked and told they are wretched, miserable, naked, poor, and blind. Christ tells the lukewarm that He will vomit them out of His mouth. They are further instructed to repent ( Rev 3:19 ) and overcome ( Rev 3:21 ). The overwhelming message to the churches is to repent and overcome (sin and the world). To be an overcomer (conqueror) you must be faithful to Jesus and enduring (2 Tim 2:3). Matthew 10:22 , “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.” Hebrews 3:14 , “For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end.” Although these churches are mostly rebuked, Christ does acknowledge any good and gives encouragement for those who will repent and overcome. It’s not too late, but time is running out. Romans 12:21, “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Revelation 3:21, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” Christ overcame and we are expected to do the same (through Him). Overcoming is victory. If you continue to sin, and you live for self and the world, then you have no victory. If the battle were won at Calvary for those who “just believe” yet continue to sin, then the messages to the churches would be unnecessary. Remember that Christ overcame by dying to self and absolutely performing the will of the Father in all things. Christ humbled (submission) Himself to accomplish this, and now the Father has greatly exalted Him to the throne. Jesus is our example (Jn 16:33 ). When we die to self (man’s will) and become humbled, then God’s will can be manifested in our lives and He will exalt in due time. Revelation 21:6-7, “And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.” This fountain is the Holy Ghost and we must have Him dwelling within us (Jn 7:38 -39, 1 Jn 4:13 ). If we do not then we are not Christ’s (Rm 8:9). Are you athirst?

Notice that the churches of Smyrna and Philadelphia are the only ones Christ finds no fault with. Smyrna is persecuted, and persecution brings purity – they are tried ( Rev 2:10 ). Dying (martyrdom) for Christ is equated to overcoming sin and the world, and these are given white robes that represent purity (see Revelation 6:9-11, Zech 3:1-7). Philadelphia has kept Jesus’ Word (doers, Js 1:22 ) and not denied His name, so Christ promises to keep them from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon the whole world (the great tribulation). This does not mean that Christ will take Philadelphia out of the world, but will sustain them within it (like Noah). John 17:15 , “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.” If you want to be taken out of the world prior to Christ’s Second Coming in some supposed pre-tribulation rapture then there is only one way – death by way of the beast (Dan 7:21, 25, 8:10, 24-25, 11:33, 12:7, Rev 6:9-11, 7:13-14, 12:17, 13:7, 14:13, 15:2, 20:4).

Christ says of the church at Ephesus: Revelation 2:2-3, “I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. They did some good things making converts and lots of good works, but were so caught up in the effort that they lost sight of why and for whom. They left their first love (v. 4) and were endanger of totally being removed. Jesus notes that Pergamos follows the doctrines of Balaam: Revelation 2:14 , “But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols (partake of idolatry such as television), and to commit fornication (love the things of the world).” These sins at Peor (Num 31:6, Josh 22:17 ) were grievous because those who called themselves God’s became one with the things of the world (those things that oppose Him). Woe to those who profess Christ and do the same. This is also what Thyatira is doing: Revelation 2:20, “Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication (worldliness), and to eat things sacrificed unto idols (partake of idolatry, benefit, become corrupted).” Christ says of the church at Thyatira which is worldly (doctrines of Balaam) that if they do not repent they will be cast into the great tribulation ( Rev 2:22 ). Those who are worldly and adulteress (eyes off of Christ and onto the dainties of the world) must be purged or separated – and so it shall be. The tribulation forces a choice – the world (flesh) or God (spirit) – and a choice will be made –  fence sitters.

Christ says to Sardis: Revelation 3:1-3, “And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.” Sardis is deceived. This group believes they are living for God and all is well. Jesus thinks they are mostly dead and dying. This is quite a disconnect with eternal implications. Those who are deceived are blinded to the truth and rarely receive correction well. Jesus gives them a serious warning when He says he will (future tense) come as a thief (see paragraphs on “vials” and Armageddon” this chapter). Christ will come soon and take their last chance at eternal life. Jesus tells them to be watchful (Mt 24:42-43, Lk 12:38 , 21:36 ). This is an indication that they are living for self and the world with their hearts and minds on other things. Luke 12:45-47, “But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.” The Lord goes on to say that they are in danger of having their name blotted out of His book of life (Rev 3:5).

 

Great Tribulation

Jesus was asked, what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? Mark 13:19-20, “For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be. And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect’s sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days.” There will be great uncertainty, war, famine, plagues, death, and persecution. Affliction is continued pain of body or mind, as sickness, losses, calamity, adversity, persecution, distress, or grief. The “elect” are the only body of Christ (not those “Left Behind”). They are chosen or set apart; designated by God to salvation through the act of God’s grace (through Jesus Christ) by which the affections of men are purified or alienated from sin and the world, and exalted to a supreme love to God. This will be a difficult time: Luke 21:26 , “Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.” The world through all it’s wars, famines, holocausts, and suffering has yet to see anything to compare. Matthew 24:21-22, “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” Jesus said, John 16:33 , “…In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” We must also be overcomers through Christ ( Rev 2:26 ). Jesus is our example! Only through faith in Christ will one be saved.

It is important to note that all men have breaking points. There is only so much anyone can take mentally or physically. Our strength and power must not come from within (human effort), but rather through Christ. The Lord can give us the supernatural ability to face whatever comes our way. Often this ability will only manifest itself “just in time” as we are required to have faith and trust in Christ and not look at circumstances (consider Peter’s walking on water experience, Mt 14:26 -32). Throughout the ages believers have faced death for Christ. In many cases these believers have given signs (hand gestures) to others that Christ did in fact give the needed strength in the midst of their surrendering their lives (those burned at the stake, etc.). God leads – we must obediently and lovingly follow.

Jeremiah 30:7-9, “Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it. For it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him: But they shall serve the LORD their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them.” The yoke and bonds come from Satan. The whole world will be in turmoil. Daniel 12:1, “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.” Come out of her!

The Devil wants to be worshipped as God. Man has accepted him as such. Revelation 12:12 , “…Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.” We live in a time of much deception and temptation. 1 Peter 5:8, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” God will remove some restraints, 2 Thessalonians 2:6-8, “And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.” For a short period of time the Devil will control the world through the beast. Revelation 13:2, 4, “And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?” You think Job had it bad! During this time, God’s true church will emerge and become victorious – this is God’s purpose. One purpose of the Great Tribulation is for dealing with the rebellious Bride who continues to sin and chase the world. The true bride will come forth – emerge.

 

Foreshadowing

The Book of Daniel has many accounts that are a foreshadowing of things to come. In one account, King Darius places Daniel as chief over two presidents and one hundred and twenty princes. These were to report to Daniel so that the King would suffer no damage throughout his kingdom. They were jealous of Daniel and wanted him out of the way. Daniel 6:4-5, “Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him. Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God.” So these men tricked the King into signing an irreversible decree. Daniel 6:7, “All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes, the counsellors, and the captains, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions.” This would mean Daniel could not pray legally. How did he respond? Daniel 6:10, “Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.” Daniel feared God not man! In the Tribulation, the Antichrist and False Prophet will seek to trap God’s people through their mark and image. During the persecution of Christians by Rome , believers were identified by being asked to burn incense to Caesar (looked upon as a god) or one of the Roman gods. This was equated to worship. A true believer could never violate their Lord in doing such a thing. They were entrapped by their own honest and sincere devotion. This may not seem like a big thing to today’s compromising religious man. They sort of burn incense to the world all the time. They would say, what’s wrong with a little incense burning if we could live another day – to uhmm win somebody to Christ, of course?”

Israel ’s bondage to Egypt has many similarities to the description of the coming Great tribulation. Egypt ’s Pharaoh was a type of antichrist. He held God’s people in bondage and mistreated them. Exodus 1:11, 14, “Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses. And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in morter, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigour.” In a similar manner God’s people today are held in bondage to the world and its many systems that are man-centered (financial, education, labor, entertainment, information, etc.). A true follower will grieve over much of this and separate from it. In both cases, the cultures have had very negative impacts on the people. The world persecutes those who truly stand for God. God’s message to the Pharaoh was, “Let My people go” (Ex 5:1). God sent two witnesses to Pharaoh (Moses and Aaron) and will send two witnesses during tribulation ( Rev 11:13 ). God was doing two things in Egypt . The first was to deliver His people out of bondage and bring them to the Promised Land as per the covenant with Abraham. The second was to judge the wickedness of Egypt by destroying confidence in their false Gods one by one. Exodus 12:12, “For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD.” Every affliction (wrath) God put on Egypt judged a specific Egyptian God (Num 33:4). God’s wrath will be poured out on the wickedness of the world during the great tribulation. The plagues have some similarities (water/blood, hail, darkness, etc.). The plagues God put on Egypt did not affect God’s people. God’s people were sealed during the last and most deadly plague. Similarly, during the tribulation God will be sealing and separating His people from the world and it’s systems for the purpose of preparing them for the Promised Land, that being the millennial reign of Christ on earth. God’s people will be sealed from the wrath He sends upon the wicked world.  God destroyed Egypt as He will destroy the kingdom of the antichrist.

When God’s people were delivered from the Pharaoh, it soon became apparent that even though they had been mistreated and abused, many looked back at their leaving with regret (Lk 9:62, Gen 19:26 ). They were very rebellious toward God (Deut 9:7, 24, Ez 20:8) and never satisfied. They called themselves Hebrews (Israelis), but their hearts were Egyptian (Acts 7:39 ). Even though they grieved at what went on around them, they had become comfortable in it. Many today will cry out concerning all the sin around them, but they themselves have become quite accustom to it and often reject God’s deliverance. The children of Israel even made a false Egyptian God (Calf, Lev 18:3, 19:4) and worshipped it and continually reminisced about the food or safety back in Egypt (Num 11:5-6, 18). They constantly whined and complained and provoked God (Num 11:1, 10, 33, 14:37 ). They wanted to return to Egypt and their bondage (Num 14:4, Neh 9:17 ). For this reason many did not enter into the Promised Land (symbolic of the rebellious not entering into eternal life). For this reason many died in plagues and judgments from God. Similarly today, many confess Christ with their mouth, but their hearts are very much aligned with the world. These are suppose to have forsaken their old sinful lives, yet continually look back with thoughts (or actions) of returning to many aspects of sin and self (they are comfortable in it). The tribulation period will be a time of trial and sorting. The true Church will emerge in the midst of great affliction and become totally dependant upon God, having been wrenched from the world. This wrenching is God’s mercy on those who will yield (Gen 19:16 ). This one body will be led and gifted of the Spirit and will support one another as described in First Corinthians Chapter Twelve. When the Hebrews left Egypt , they were totally dependant upon God for their every need. God provided their food and water (Neh 9:15, 19, water – Ex 17:6, manna – Ex 16:15, Num 11:7-9, quails – Num 11:18, 31, etc). God even told them when, where and how long to camp (Num 9:15 -23, this required obedience). Even their clothes and shoes did not wax old after forty years (Deut 29:5, Num 11:23 , Neh 9:21 ). In the tribulation, those who confess Christ will be totally separated from this world’s system and will depend upon God for their every need. Psalm 119:71, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.” God may again provide manna from heaven and water from rocks ( Rev 2:17 )! But then again He has…in Jesus! We must learn to “follow” Jesus. The rebellious ones want to do the leading and have God follow them to serve their selfish wants (constantly asking for blessings – no sacrifice). The greatest blessing any of us could have is for God to break our prideful rebellious spirit and humble us to obedience in Him. This is greatly needful, but not what the flesh desires in any form. Is it any wonder those seeking God through the flesh will never find Him? – they are blind!

God took the Hebrews out of Egypt by His strong hand, but how did God take Egypt out of the Hebrew’s hearts? Deuteronomy 8:2-8, “And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live. Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, neither did thy foot swell, these forty years. Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the LORD thy God chasteneth thee. Therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to fear him. For the LORD thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills; A land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey.” The issues are faith, trust and reliance upon God!  Man was to learn to live by every Word that proceedeth from the mouth of God. Jesus is the Word (Jn 1:1)! We are to esteem the Word more than our necessary meat (Job 23:12 ). God said he would rain bread from heaven (bread symbolic of Christ), but the children of Israel called it manna, which means, “What is it?” (Ex 16:4, 15). What God provided was different than what they expected (unbelief) – to prove them (Ex 16:4). They rebelled and constantly wanted other (dainties of Egypt ). Numbers 11:5-6, “We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick: But now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes.” Can you see their rebellious nature in those verses? Manna was for leanness of Spirit, yet they wanted fatness of flesh (Ps 106:14-15). We will either deny the flesh to seek the Spirit or deny the Spirit to seek the flesh. They looked at the provision, but should have been looking to the provider. Many who profess Christ have become comfortable in the world and rebellious toward God. They profess, but do not follow. The tribulation will be a great trial to prove the heart and will determine who fears God – its coming! We are to learn first hand that man does not live by bread alone, but by total trust (faith) in God and His Eternal Word – for God’s Words are better than our necessary food (Job 23:12). Many do not consider such things now and thus not much will change for them. Some have knowledge, but do not “follow.” Consider the parable of the seeds: Mark 4:16-17, “And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended.” There will be much persecution and deception at the end of the age. Matthew 24:9-11, “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.” The false prophets will tell us Egypt is not such a bad place; and those seeking fatness of flesh will find agreement.

The Promised Land is symbolic of eternal life. The wilderness is symbolic of the path leading to eternal life – many obstacles. We must be led of God (Holy Spirit) through the wilderness (life) to reach our inheritance (eternal life) – Deut 8:15 -16. Numbers 32:11-12, “Surely none of the men that came up out of Egypt, from twenty years old and upward, shall see the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob; because they have not wholly followed me: Save Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite, and Joshua the son of Nun: for they have wholly followed the LORD.” Notice the separation was determined by “wholly following” God or not. The majority did not follow (those twenty years old and upward) and the minority (Caleb and Joshua, Deut 1:35 -38) did. The majority does not enter into the promised land, but the minority does. God tries our hearts in the wilderness (trials, persecution, suffering, circumstances, etc.) to test our faithfulness to Him. What we put in our hearts will be manifested under pressure. There will be two types of people. The first group is in the flesh and are rebellious and self-seeking – they vex His Holy Spirit (Is 63:10). They want to return to their bondages (Egypt, from which they had been delivered – Num 14:4, Neh 9:17), are idolatrous (golden calf, Neh 9:18, Ps 106:19-20), stiff-necked (constantly whining, no faith – bad reports, Neh 9:16-17, Ps 78:8, 40-41), insincere (want to return to the old life, Num 14:4) and hard-hearted (no real love for God, just needs and wants). These consider that it is better to serve Egypt (known, familiar) than venture into the wilderness with God (Ex 14:12 ). They are much discouraged by the way (Num 21:4). This group is also the majority and never actually enters into the Promised Land (Num 14:22 -23, 1 Cor 10:5, Heb 3:11 , 18, 4:1,  Jude 1:5). However, their children do enter into the Promised Land (Num 14:31, Deut 1:39, Jesus said you must receive Him as a child to enter into eternal life – Mt 18:3, 19:14, Lk 9:48, 18:17). They are consumed by wars, plagues, poisonous snake bites (sin, Num 21:6), and misdirection through life (wandering forty years until they drop dead, Deut 2:15-16, Num 32:13) due to their own actions of unbelief. We must learn from their lesson (1 Cor 10:6-12). The second group is in the Spirit (represented by Caleb and Joshua). They have a great love for God and put their trust in Him. These will put their lives on the line – they live their faith. These will also suffer due to the actions of the first group (Num 14:33 ). The second group is in the minority – a remnant! God desires all to enter into the Promised Land, but most will not due to their unbelief. This minority does enter into God’s rest (Heb 4:3, 9-11). The wilderness is not a path for the flesh, but it accomplishes God’s purposes. The wilderness is full of hardship and much leanness – by intent (Ps 106:14-15). Those seeking the flesh will always be looking back to Egypt (world) and most likely will be following a god (of their own making, Ex 32:4) that will take them there. These are interested in what God can do for SELF (Heaven, blessings, rewards, possessions, health, prosperity, ministries, needful things, abundance, security, etc.). Those who love God are interested in what they can do for Him (perform His will, at the expense of ME). Those who love God seek Him first. This is what God said to those who would enter the promised land: Deuteronomy 4:4, “But ye that did cleave (follow in obedience) unto the LORD your God are alive every one of you this day.”

Just before the children of Israel entered into the Promised Land, there was one last great trial/test. They were entering their inheritance through the land of the Moabites. Balak (the king) called for/hired Balaam (soothsayer, Josh 13:22 ) to curse them. God would not allow this because He had blessed Israel (Num 22:12 , Josh 24:9-10). Therefore, Balaam advised Balak that the children of Israel could not be overcome through strength because God was on their side. The way to overcome would be to corrupt the object of God’s blessings (Num 31:16) such that God Himself would fight against them (doctrine of Balaam, Rev 2:14 ). The Moabites corrupted Israel through their idolatry and fornication. This was chasing after the things of the world (participating in the evil cultures around them) rather than obeying God. Many of the children of Israel died in the ensuing plagues (1 Cor 10:8). In these last days, just prior to Christ’s return (entering into the Promised Land), many of those who profess Christ are now seeking (fornicating with) the world (and through forms of religiosity) rather than living obedient abiding faith in Jesus. Many are idolatrous (see Chapter Three – A Tremendous Idol and Chapter Seven – Christ (Mass) A Worldly Celebration for examples). For this reason, many will not enter into the Promised Land.

One group of the children of Israel did not enter into the promised land because of their unbelief (Deut 1:26 -28). The second group (remnant and the children) did enter in because of their faith and trust in God. This second group did not enter in because of merit. They did not earn it nor deserve it (Deut 9:6). God kept His promises and honored their faith (Deut 9:5). These were required to be obedient and not to do as the evil nations around them (Deut 7:2-5, 25, 12:2-3, 30, 18:9-13, 30:17-18). God told them if they did evil that He would destroy them (Deut 8:19 -20). We are also required to have faith (trust, obedience) and not partake of the evils around us. We will never be justified soley on our own actions.

The devil is opposite of God through his rebellious nature. Israel ’s bondage to Egypt (Pharoah) is similar (yet opposite) to the antichrist’s end time reign during the great tribulation. God sent Moses (as a god) and Aaron (as a prophet) to represent Himself in delivering His people out of bondage (Ex 7:1, 9:16 ). The devil will send the beast (as a god) and the false prophet (as a prophet) to represent himself in bringing the world (people) into bondage ( Rev 13:12 , 15-17). God performed miracles through Moses to bring Israel out of bondage (Exodus Chapters 7–12). The devil will perform miracles through the false prophet to bring (deceive) people into bondage ( Rev 13:13 -14). God (via Moses) caused Pharoah and the Egyptians to suffer and die (many) in order to deliver Israel out of bondage (Ex 7:21, 8:8, 14, 17, 24, 9:3, 6, 8-11, 23-25, 10:12-15, 22-23, 12:29-30, 14:26-30, Deut 11:4). The devil (via antichrist) will cause followers of Christ to suffer and die (many) during the tribulation in an attempt to bring them into bondage (Rev 13:7, 12:17 , Dan 7:21 , 25). Egypt (world) suffered at the hands of God’s two prophets (Book of Exodus). In the tribulation, God’s two prophets will suffer at the hands of the world (Rev 11:7-10). In both cases God says, “let my people go” and judges righteously (condemning the wicked, Ex 6:1, 11, 7:16 , 10:3) – God always prevails! In all of this God is in total control and the devil can do only what he is allowed to do – Revelation 14:12 , “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus (also Rev 3:10 ).” The trying of your faith worketh patience (Js 1:3-4, Heb 10:36 -37). Luke 21:19, “In your patience possess ye your souls.” God desires to set free, and the devil desires to enslave. A time of choosing and separation is coming (with much deception). Those who reject God will be separated eternally (Rev 14:9-11). We must endure temptations and trials such that we may receive a crown of life (Js 1:12 , Rev 2:10 ).

 

What are the Signs?

Matthew 24:37-39, “But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” We must look at the condition of the world during Noah’s time, prior to the flood (Gen 6:12 ). Genesis 6:5, “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” A close comparison with this would be Sodom and Gomorrah . Genesis 13:13 , “But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly.” What caused such wickedness? Ezekiel 16:49-50, “Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.” Does this not sound like today in this country ( USA ) and the world?

There will be false prophets, famines, wars and rumors of war, kingdom will rise against kingdom, Nation against nation, pestilence, earthquakes in diverse places, sorrows, iniquity (sin) shall abound, and the love of many will wax cold (Mt 24, Mk 13, Lk 21). Never has such existed to such a degree as today. America must surely be Mystery Babylon and now pursues war all over the globe. Only America fulfills all the prophecies regarding this physical manifestation of Mystery Babylon. Mystery Babylon ( America ) has had her eye on ancient Babylon ( Iraq ) and has taken it (occupies) for herself. There was a prize in so doing – the oil; and thus control over the world. A leader shall soon arise, the son of perdition. Physical Babylon will most certainly have the same characteristics (nature) as the god of this world. Babylon will be rebellious; proud; arrogant; violent; lustful and covetous; greedy; given to pleasures; controlling; enthralled with her own beauty; manipulative; self-centered and seeking; independent, freedom loving and desiring liberty (sexual freedom, its my body, Me, Me, Me); deceptive; unrepentant; seeking to unite the world for her own purposes; taking captive at will; dominant and exceedingly fierce; culturally seductive; and the leader of the world (Lk 4:6). Her nature will be masked by a seemingly outward righteous appearance – she will be hated, yet loved by the world. She ( America ) corrupts the earth (Rev 19:2).

 

Consider Lot

Lot dwelt in Sodom , but grieved over the sin. 2 Peter 2:7-8, “And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation (lifestyle) of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;).” When we cease to grieve over the sin, we have strayed far and have surely become a part of it. We just read how Sodom was exceedingly wicked (Gen 13:13 ). God sent angels to assess the wickedness and deliver Lot and whosoever would leave (representing repentance and forsaking the world for God). Even Lot had trouble leaving: Genesis 19:16 , “And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city.” God mercifully dragged him out of the doomed circumstance. Many will linger and delay parting with the things of this world. God will force a decision. Jesus once told a gathering of believers in an end time discussion: Luke 17:32-33, “Remember Lot ‘s wife. Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.” Jesus was referring to what Lot’s wife did just after they left Sodom as God was raining fire and brimstone down upon it (Gen 19:24). They were told: Genesis 19:17, “And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed.” Lot ’s wife ignored the warning: Genesis 19:26 , “But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.” Lot ’s wife still had an attachment to the wicked place and she looked back with regret in having to leave. She was bemoaning her loss of the wickedness she had taken some pleasure in. Thus she was judged with all the other wicked. We must grieve over all the wickedness that vexes us day by day. Many today will “profess Christ” but then look back at aspects of they’re old sinful life with envy and regret of no longer being able to participate. They want to hold on to wickedness. Not perfect just forgiven – right? Nobody’s perfect – We all sin. God will understand, won’t He? These will enjoy facets of the sinfulness around them (Job 24:13). This is why Jesus said he who shall save his life (those who want to retain their will) shall lose it (damnation), but whosoever shall lose his life (die to self and seek God’s will only) shall preserve it (be with God eternally). This is a warning for us for this coming tribulation. To choose to retain the things of this world will certainly result in damnation.

 

A New World System

Genesis 11:1,4-9,  “And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel ; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.” God had just flooded the earth because all men had become wicked. Now (just after) the world was coming together with another wicked intent to exalt their will even to reach God (man’s way – by force of will). They were also trying to rise above (tower) the ability for God to flood them again in judgment – such rebellion. God had made a covenant with man never to flood the world again (Gen 9:8-16), yet man did not trust God to honor His Word. God scattered them and created nations with checks and balances. This is how God has dealt with man. God intended to bless all nations through the nation He established – Israel .

Babel is again rising. The devil, through manipulation of mankind, has now brought the world together again with one primary language (English). Everything is now merging into a worldwide system. Communication systems have vastly accelerated this possibility (internet, phone, television, financial systems, etc). The Bible says there will be a type of world government and a type of world religion with Satan in control (for a very short time). It will not take long for Satan to devastate the earth through wickedness and evil and the fruit thereof. Man thinks he is in control, but is no more than a willing pawn (sap). One day all will see this devil, Isaiah 14:16-17, “They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?” Most will join him in the lake of fire and consider for eternity what they lost by following their selfish lusts, as enticed by him (Is 14:15 ).

 

Deception

The Lord said that those who put their faith and confidence in idols (money, careers, possessions, worldly things, doctrines) would become like them: Psalms 115:4-8, “Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not: They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not: They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat. They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them.” The same is true for those who are rebellious toward God (seeking their own way). Ezekiel 12:2, “Son of man, thou dwellest in the midst of a rebellious house, which have eyes to see, and see not; they have ears to hear, and hear not: for they are a rebellious house.” Jesus said the same when he ministered on the earth, Matthew 13:14-15, “And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.” This is what happens when one is full of darkness. Jesus came to a people that had built a great religious system which demanded the letter of the law, but whose hearts were far from God in that they were totally indifferent to the human suffering around them (no love or compassion). This religious system did not even recognize their anticipated Savior when He came and worse; they despised him and eventually killed him (as they did the prophets). They did not hear the smooth sayings that they were after. Jesus exposed their hypocrisy and they hated him.

When we seek after the things of the world to fulfill our fleshly wills or even fleshly religious doctrines, then our minds become clouded with all manner of deception and confusion (Jer 3:25). Let the reader beware! 2 Corinthians 4:4, “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” Those that believe the truth live within it and they build their lives around it. The truth of God’s Word becomes their foundation. Those that do not are deceived of their own beliefs regardless of confession. The only way to gain sight and hearing is to intently seek God and perform His will (actions). When one seeks to perform God’s purposes then the spiritual blindness and dumbness will lift, but not until then. Isaiah 66:4,“I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not.” We must seek after our God. Isaiah 45:22, “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: For I am God and there is none else.” Everything else man makes into a god is phony, temporal and will have no power to deliver them when needed (read 1 Kg 18:17 -40). The gods of money will not deliver the wicked on the Day of the Lord.

Jesus said there would be great deception regarding this time – Take heed! (He that hath an ear to hear). When asked about the end of the age, Jesus said an unprecedented three times within the context of the end time discussion to beware of deception and false prophets. Mark 13:23 , “But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things.” You will have no excuse. Matthew 24:4-5, “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” They’ll come saying they believe in Jesus. They’ll quote scripture just as the Devil did and it will seem correct. Those that do not read and study God’s Word and be led of His Spirit will be led astray. Matthew 24:11, “And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.” This will be supernatural deception for those who fear self-sacrifice and denial, seeking self-preservation. Matthew 24:24, “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” Many who “profess” will be deceived (as they are now, 2 Thess 2:9-12). Those who “follow” will have to look to Christ for wisdom. God allows these false prophets to test you. Deuteronomy 13:3, “Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.”

How will we know these false prophets if they are deceiving us? By definition to be deceived is to think you are right even when you’re wrong. The Lord said we will know them by their fruits (Mt 7:16 -20). Anytime anyone comes by way of the flesh or things of the flesh (worldliness), they should be considered an immediate suspect. If they come wanting money/offerings (for the Lord’s work of course), glory/fame (for themselves or their ministry), seek followers or want to start big religious works (buildings, television networks, Christian universities, taking care of the world’s hungry, etc.), and have teachings that comfort or sooth the flesh. Some ministers even name their ministries after themselves and this should be a red flag. Not all is bad and there are some good works, but be discerning. Much of what is out there (however good the intentions) is fraud and self serving. We minister to people, not to/through institutions.

They’ll have big churches, ministries, and television networks. They’ll use Jesus’ name often, but you will know them by their fruits (Mt 15:16 -20). All things examined in the light of God’s Word as we seek to do His will and not our own. 2 Corinthians 11:13-15, “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” Does it surprise you that the devil himself hangs out in religious organizations? The lost he already has. To catch the big trophy fish, you’ve got to go to the places where they hang out and keep them deceived there. Matthew 7:15-16, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits.” They wear sheep’s clothing to blend in with the sheep and become as them. They will talk like the sheep. Their intentions are evil. 2 Peter 2:21, “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.” They will attempt to conquer from within. They’ll be smooth talking and likeable. False prophets always have doctrines that appeal to the flesh. There will be no self denial or death to the things of this world. They won’t be leading toward holiness and righteousness. They will be self serving, but fun to be around if your eyes and hearts are on things temporal. God is against the false prophets: Jeremiah 23:31-32, “Behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that use their tongues, and say, He saith. Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the LORD, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the LORD.”

 

Fables

Christendom in the Western World has been without persecution and hardship for so long that this is considered by them to be the Christian norm. However, this is far from what the scriptures say and actually is the sign of an ineffective church (2 Thess 1:4-5). To many who “profess Christ,” the thought of dying for Christ is so distressful & distasteful and causes so much anxiety, that they cling to totally un-scriptural fables of pre-tribulation escapes (raptures) which is tantamount to dereliction of duty. They see those who are less worthy than themselves as “Left Behind” to take up Christ’s banner and persevere & endure during the church’s greatest hour in the coming Great Tribulation. It is during this time period that Satan will be defeated. Those that come out of great tribulation, have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb ( Rev 7:14 ). They have cumulatively become a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but holy and without blemish (Eph 5:27 ). The bride has been purified through the fires of tribulation. The religious folks will have patriotic services/ banners/flags in their religious institutions to greatly honor those who fight in their country’s military forces (Mt 26:52). Somehow dying for one’s country is deemed a noble worthy deed, even though they are killing men – those very enemies that Jesus said we are to love (Mt 5:43-45)! They’ll die for a King, but not for the King of Kings! Revelation 15:2, “And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them (Who were “Left Behind”) that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. Revelation 12:11 , “And they overcame him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” This is the point in history when God’s greatest spiritual army is needed. This generation is being called upon to stand! Those whom God calls, God will equip. Will you heed the call? Those who cannot lay down their lives for God do not truly know Him – they are holding onto (trusting in) something else (i.e. self, world).

God did not equip His earthly body with wings to fly away from the evil. God did equip us with armor and weapons to stand and spiritually fight. Ephesians 6:11-13, “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” This is the nature of the fight and we must endure and overcome. These are our weapons: Ephesians 6:14-17, “Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.” We are to love the truth, live righteousness and holy, conform to Christ’s image, be strong (rooted) in our faith, and recognizing that our salvation is in Jesus and none other ( Col 3:10 ). We are to be led of the Spirit and must be doers of the Word (Lk 6:47 -48). The Spirit and the water (Word) give us access to the kingdom (Jn 3:5). The sword is our offensive weapon. Jesus responded to the devil’s temptations with the Word of God. Our victory is found in God’s knowledge and not ours (tree of). We are to seek God in prayer (communication – relationship). 2 Corinthians 6:7, “By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left.” The only way to be strong in faith is to live it daily. As with anything, one learns through experience and builds such through practice. You use your faith or lose your faith. To him who has, more will be given (Mt 13:12 ).

Woe to the false prophets who speak of their own ideas (contrary to scriptures – See “When Will Christ Return” – below) and say “thus saith the Lord!” God says they have seen nothing and follow their own spirit – God is against them (Ez 13:2-3, 8). Many write books and sell videos and make a substantial living (gain) off such notions as “a great escape” (Pre-trib rapture). The leisure walk they seek is on the broad path and in no way resembles the trials and struggles associated with the narrow path that every true pilgrim must endure. Their visions are vain (Ez 13:6-7) – Ezekiel 13:6, “They have seen vanity and lying divination, saying, The LORD saith: and the LORD hath not sent them: and they have made others to hope that they would confirm the word.” This may appeal to the flesh (as evidenced by the popularity), but brings glory only to self rather than Christ. These have made no provision to stand in the battle in the day of the Lord (Ez 13:5). Do we stand and endure or desire to flee away pre-maturely to avoid any personal suffering (Rm 8:17 )? Escape? – there is no escape (Ez 13:10 ). If your concern is for self, then your desire is for the flesh – your glory.

Jesus told the church at Smyrna : Revelation 2:11, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.” Notice that Christ said “second death.” The church at Smyrna had been suffering tribulation and death. They were standing for Christ in the midst of significant trials. The predominant message of the religious of today is that God is here to bless. These believe they have God’s guarantee not to suffer or die for His name sake. This is the foundation of the pre-tribulation rapture doctrine. One thing is certain, our faith will be tested. Those that equate God’s love with continual blessings are in for a shock. Those who are not walking the narrow path in the way of the cross will be overcome.

The Devil is setting folks up to destroy their faith and have them spiritually unprepared to face the tribulation when he takes control (God allows) for a short period of time. This time is going to be spiritually intense and one cannot carry along the resentment or feeling of betrayal that a never having materialized pre-tribulation rapture will bring. We do not need any spiritual spoiled cry babies. Let us all grow up in spiritual maturity (discernment of right and wrong). Many adherents to this notion are living worldly under a cloak of religiousness (blindness) and would not be prepared even if there were a pre-tribulation rapture. God in His mercy will allow circumstances (working within your will) to prevail that will hopefully separate the lukewarm from the world and preserve their eternal lives. The goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance (Rm 2:4). The choice will be yours as God graciously allows. 2 Timothy 4:3-4, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” These folks want to hear what appeals to the flesh (SELF) – this is what they buy books and videos to hear and be placated (pacified, soothed, mollified) by. These need clothing, need eye salve – need rebuke! The pre-tribulation rapture appeals to those who live in the flesh for their (man’s) purposes and not God’s. The harlot wants to save her flesh, whereas the Bride says, “Father, glorify thy name.” The harlot wants; the bride gives. The harlot brings religious works and glories; the bride brings a heart toward God as evidenced through a walk of faith in humbleness and reliance upon God.

Those that are concerned about the flesh do not understand that there is no virtue in escaping persecution or tribulation because God’s purposes are not accomplished (Mk 8:31 -33). The truth may seem morose, sullen or melancholy compared to a fanciful pre-tribulation escape, but this is because most just do not understand God’s purposes or yield to them. Let us look to Christ our example. John 12:23, “And Jesus answered them (disciples), saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.” Christ was about to receive all that rebellious man could throw at Him. Jesus was talking about His death. Jesus also said, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him (Jn 13:31 ). He was going to be mocked, ridiculed, belittled, humiliated, beaten, whipped, tortured and hung on a cross to die, yet Christ said He was going to be glorified. How can this be? There was glory in this because He was accomplishing the will of the Father – even to His own demise – total surrender. Christ’s death brought victory! Christ stood for God’s truth in the midst of everything to His own decease. Jesus further stated: John 12:27, “Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.” Jesus humbly submitted to the will of the Father and endured until the end. Jesus was made perfect through suffering (Heb 2:10 , 5:8-9, 1 Pt 2:23 ). We must be of the same heart as Christ. We are following Christ and must overcome (Jn 12:24 -26) and endure until the end (Mt 24:13). Many saints will be killed in tribulation by rebellious man (Rev 13:7) – just as Christ was. These saints will follow the path of the cross. Job 13:15 , “Though he slay me, yet I will trust in him…(also 1 Pt 4:19 ).” These are not the dregs/laggards that were “left behind.” Consider what happens as revealed in scripture: Revelation 15:2, “And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.” These were killed – martyred, but received victory over the beast and his rebellious system (Rev 20:4). Wow! The victory comes by seemingly being defeated – in death. Revelation 12:11 , “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” These triumphant “followers” loved not their lives unto death and glorified the Father – to their own demise just as Christ had done. Their walk on the narrow path conformed them to Christ’s image right up to complete death to self (literally). Wow! They had to die, what a difficult thing for the flesh to face. To live is Christ, and to die is gain (Php 1:21 ). These shined in their finest hour during the conclusion of mankind’s ultimate realized rebellion upon the earth. They did not submit to the beast under sentence of death and maintained faith (obedience) in Christ ( Rev 14:12 ). God was glorified in this. In doing this they washed their robes and made them white in Christ’s blood ( Rev 7:14 ). How did they feel about God allowing it to happen (their deaths)? Revelation 15:3-4, “And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.” Notice that they proclaimed God’s ways to be just and true and His judgments to be righteous. How many religious ones will shake their fist at God when this begins to happen (and it will come upon the whole earth – none raptured out)? How many will bow the knee to the beast? Many simply will not be prepared for what is coming during the tribulation: Jeremiah 12:5, “If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses? and if in the land of peace, wherein thou trustedst, they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan ?” Laying down your life and/or losing everything you have will not be an easy thing. We must be rooted and grounded in Christ with an established relationship (mature) and on-going walk of obedience (Eph 3:17 -21, Heb 5:14 ). Many have turned God into “an unconditional love god” that would never allow them to suffer, deny self, have tribulation, or see a bad day. These will be in utter shock at what is transpiring and will lash out at God as they turn to the beast to maintain their security (money, homes, possessions, status/place, lives, etc.). The result of Christ totally yielding to God is that He is exalted far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and hath put all things under his feet (Eph 1:21:22). Praise Him!

 

Will You be Prepared?

When Jesus was apprehended in the garden, those who were with Him forsook Him (Mk 14:50 ). Mark 14:51-52, “And there followed him a certain young man, having a linen cloth cast about his naked body; and the young men laid hold on him: And he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked.” The linen cloth represented the justification from sin (covering) that only Christ provides as we abide in Him (Rev 3:5, 18, 4:4, 6:11, 7:9, 7:13, 19:8, 14). 2 Corinthians 5:3, “If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.” The nakedness is the sin (Gen 3:7, Ex 32:25, Lk 8:27 , 2 Cor 5:3, Rev 3:17 ). Jesus desires that we put on white linen as we hunger and thirst after righteousness in faith through Him. This young man denied Jesus in his moment of testing and cast aside Christ’s covering and fled in sin and shame (Lk 9:26, 12:9, 2 Tim 2:12, 1 Jn 2:23). He should have held on to his linen cloth, even to his own demise. We are to keep our garments, but this man allowed his to be cast away. Jesus said: Revelation 16:15, “Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.” Jesus had described this type of follower in His parable of the seeds (Mt 13:3-9, 18-23, Mk 4:3-8, 14-20, Lk 8:5-8, 11-15). Matthew 13:20-21, “But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.” This young man had no root in himself and quickly fell away during this tribulation/persecution. We must root ourselves in Christ through a loving obedient walk of faith. Having defined clothed/nakedness, consider the meaning of clothes in Luke 8:27-35.

 

Professed Believers Deceived?

Matthew 7:22, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity (sin).” A mere profession will not save. Religious works of man will not save (e.g. perfect church attendance, building donations, being a Sunday school teacher, etc.). A religious exterior or outward appearance will not save. Being good and moral will not save. An enduring and demonstrated life of loving faith of abiding in Jesus Christ as led by His Spirit will save you. A whole heart toward God will save you – a clean inside. You must look solely to God and not to man or all his religious trappings.

 

Well, I’m not Appointed unto God’s Wrath

You are not appointed unto God’s wrath if you are living (abiding) in and “following” Christ Jesus (1 Thess 5:9, Rev 7:3). Are you so sure you are? What is God’s wrath? 1 Samuel 2:10 , “The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall he thunder upon them: the LORD shall judge the ends of the earth; and he shall give strength unto his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed.” Zephaniah 1:15, “That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, A day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers.” This is a time of great indignation (Dan 8:19 ). Indignation is anger or extreme anger, mingled with contempt, disgust or abhorrence – the wrath of God against sinful men for their ingratitude and rebellion. Revelation 6:15-17, “And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand (also Lk 23:30)?” At His wrath the earth shall tremble (Jer 10:10 ) – the earth shall wail because of Him (Rev 1:7). This is what should scare one, not giving up your life for Jesus (Zeph 3:8). Isaiah 13:6, 9, 11, 13, “Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty. Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the LORD of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger.” Who shall abide the day of Christ’s coming (Mal 3:2)? That day shall burn the wicked up (Mal 4:1)! Nahum 1:6, “Who can stand before his indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? his fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by him.” Jeremiah 23:19-20, “Behold, a whirlwind of the LORD is gone forth in fury, even a grievous whirlwind: it shall fall grievously upon the head of the wicked. The anger of the LORD shall not return, until he have executed, and till he have performed the thoughts of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly.” This, my friend, is what true believers will be spared from. Those that spent their time on this earth seeking self and rebuking (discouraging) the righteous will regret: Isaiah 26:21, “For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.” Jesus was very upfront in saying that followers would generally suffer and have persecution and tribulation all their lives (refining fires). We have all heard of God’s love; the rebellious world will now taste His anger. Who will God’s wrath be poured out upon? 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9, “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;” Notice that Christ’s wrath is reserved for those who do not know Him nor obey. Knowing and obeying is called faith and this is the relationship we must have with Christ. This will keep us in that day. Many religious people (prideful) will be subject to God’s wrath. The proud and arrogant are those who would not humble themselves, repent and turn to the Lord with their full heart. The proud and arrogant serve themselves in this world with disregard for Christ and the world to come. They just do not see. The lofty looks of man will be utterly cast down – humbled (Is 2:11 ). Remember this above all: Nahum 1:7, “The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.” AND Zephaniah 2:3, “Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD’S anger.” AND 1 John 2:28 , “And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.”

Rebellious man will attempt war with Christ (Zech 14:3): Revelation 17:14 , “These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.” Notice that the ones (came out of tribulation, Rev 7:14 , 20:4  or are caught up, 1 Thess 4:17 ) with Jesus are “faithful.” To be faithful is to be obedient to Christ’s gospel and to be led of His Spirit in conforming to His image. These are “called” for when Christ said, “come follow me” they responded and were thus chosen. Those who live for self and the things of the world are definitely NOT faithful – these are the rebellious ones, religious or not. These rejected Jesus’ calling to seek their own path. To seek your own authority is to reject Christ’s authority and Lordship over you.

 

I’m Really Scared!

There is no fear in Christ Jesus. 1 John 4:18 , “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” Consider: 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” Consider: Luke 12:4-5, “And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.” This is not doom and gloom – examine your life. What has a hold on you that you would not want to go to the King if called? Unbelief? Things of this world? Would you not trust yourself totally to God who careth for you (1 Pt 5:7)?

Consider this true account: Corrie Ten Boom (Christian who survived Nazi concentration camps – her family was murdered): When I was a little girl, I went to my father and said, Daddy, I am afraid that I will never be strong enough to be a martyr for Jesus Christ. Tell me, said Father, When you take a train trip to Amsterdam , when do I give you the money for the ticket? Three weeks before?  No, Daddy, you give me the money for the ticket just before we get on the train. That is right, my father said, and so it is with God’s strength. Our Father in Heaven knows when you will need the strength to be a martyr for Jesus Christ.  He will supply all you need – just in time. In Chapter Three we learned how Stephen, full of the Holy Ghost, was able to boldly face his persecutors. Isaiah 41:10, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

This will be a really exciting time. The “real” church (body) will emerge. These are those individuals who love the Lord more than self and are ready to suffer, sacrifice and die for their Lord (Rm 8:17 ). Philippians 1:29, “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake.” This will not be the phony institutionalized religious system of very worldly fair-weather professed believers that we now see so openly manifested. These will not be crying over a never-having-materialized pre-tribulation rapture. This body of Christ will not be orchestrated by man and his religious denominations or devices. Man will receive no glory. No, No, No! This will be the patient fruit of the Holy Spirit’s work in the lives of countless individuals that will be openly discernible for all to see – to God be the glory! This will be the beginning of the great separation! If you suffer, then you will be in good company (that of the prophets and Christ Himself). Rather to suffer, be persecuted and die with the righteous than to live a short time longer with the self seeking and very worldly cowards who seek to save their own skin and are following man’s rebellion against God. True believers will put it all on the line due to their love and devotion for the King! – the King of Kings! Oh, to be in that number! Take your eyes off of self and put them squarely on Jesus – what more can I say? Time to be for real. Sunday morning pretension is over. Consider the great tribulation. Rebellious man will have reached his peak and the devil will lead. Much of Christianity wants to run away (pre-tribulation rapture). Where is the glory in that? God receives glory when we stand against the evil and refuse to bend the knee to rebellious man’s system. Consider Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They demonstrated their faith and refused to bow the knee in the face of death (firey furnaces and lion’s dens) and God received glory (Heb 11:33 -34). Jesus said: John 17:15 , “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.” How did God receive glory from Satan’s dealings with Job? Job stood for God even in his own demise. Job lost all his possessions and health but did not curse God. Job didn’t seek self as Satan had done. If he had then Satan would have held it up as a victory before God and claimed that he (devil) was justified in what he did. God would have been dishonored (debased). We are not going to break camp and run.

 

Persecution

Persecution is not easy no matter what form it comes in. This author understands the separation, loneliness, loss, anguish and rejection it brings. You must be strong in the Lord, by putting His Word in your heart, establishing a relationship and following daily. Without preparation there is no way you will endure when faced with great loss, imprisonment or death. Talk is cheap! Peter walked with Jesus during His entire earthly ministry and loved Him. Peter told Jesus he would die for him (Mk 14:22 ). When the time of testing came, Peter was not ready and forsook Christ (Mk 14:50 ). Peter did worse than just running away. He later denied Christ on three separate occasions and on the last he cursed and swore for emphasis (Mt 26:73-75). We must be prepared and strong in the Lord. Jesus said the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak, we must pray for strength (Mt 26:41). As we are led by the Spirit to conform to Christ’s image we are made perfect in suffering (Heb 2:10 ).

Job faced tremendous persecution: Job 1:21 , “And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” Job recognized that all he had (including himself) belonged to God and that God had the right to give or take back, for God is sovereign (Eccl 5:15-16, 1 Tim 6:7)! This displays an attitude of dying to self (2 Cor 5:15 ). We must totally abandoning our will and control of things and submitting to God and walk in His spirit (Eph 4:22 -24). John 12:24-26, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.” Our focus must be on Christ.

When you boldly profess Christ as you are told to do in scripture, then you will be persecuted (Mt 10:32 ). Jesus was killed, as were eleven of the twelve apostles. Paul, Stephen and Antipas were killed. Countless others have followed in persecutions throughout the last two thousand years. Followers of Christ have also been despised, hated, imprisoned, and mistreated. They bear the light in a world of darkness. If you are a true follower of Christ, persecution will be the norm for you. Jesus said the world hated him because he testified that the works thereof are evil (Jn 7:7). If we are lifting up God’s truth and professing Christ boldly, then the world is equally convicted by us. Jesus said, John 15:18, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.” We are not to give thought, 1 John 3:13, “Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.” Light shines bright in darkness and darkness hates the light. 2 Timothy 3:12, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” When you truly live for God it exposes the hypocrisy and sinfulness in others. You must never be self-righteous, but often you will be viewed that way. Less than whole-hearted believers will look at you as extreme or fanatical. Rest assured heaven is filled with such fanatics. Those who were less than zealous will bear their shame. Many talk about religious things, but when the flesh is denied (or under conviction) the true character comes out. The religious hated Jesus and ultimately killed him. He exposed their hypocrisy and traditions of men and this was a great affront to them.  Matthew 15:9, “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” Jesus even referred to their esteemed religious scholars as vipers, serpents and children of the devil (Mt 23:33 , Jn 8:44 ).

Jesus said, Luke 12:51-53, “Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.” Following Christ brings separation (light/darkness). Those that know you best are usually the quickest to criticize you (Lk 4:24 ) – Some may even profess Christ, but not really know him! The lukewarm will be offended by one that is hot. The lukewarm want to dissipate and equalize the temperature of the hot (make lukewarm). The natural tendency is for the lukewarm to become colder rather than hotter. What did Jesus say about His family: Luke 8:21, “And he answered and said unto them, My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it.” Ultimately and eternally the same will be a true follower’s family. All others will perish.

During the tribulation, lost loved ones or those who are not truly following Christ may disappoint you: Luke 21:16-17, “And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake.” Mark 13:11-13, “But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost. Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” These scriptures are referring to betrayal to a physical death (Mt 24:9-10, Lk 21:12 -13). They are also referring to character assassination. The essence of who you are as a believer in Christ will be defamed, ridiculed, misrepresented, slandered, mocked, belittled and this is akin to murder.  This is something true followers will experience often from strangers, supposed friends, and family relations. When you walk in the light and others walk in darkness there will be conviction and rebuttal. Always remember that Christ suffered the same and we can expect no different. Religious men accused Jesus, the very Son of God, of having a demon (Mt 9:34 , 10:25 , 12:24 ). Jesus was mocked and belittled by the religious throughout His life and right up to His death. We must apply Christ’s Words to these situations, “Father, forgive them, for they no not what they do” (Lk 23:34 ). We must always forgive and not allow bitterness to take hold in our lives. Matthew 5:44-45, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”

We are kept in the midst of tribulation. John 17:14-15, “I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.” In the midst of all this, we are to remain as God’s witnesses on this earth. The only way you will leave prior to the tribulation is through death (no pre-tribulation rapture). John 17:14, “I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” We are to endure with full faith and confidence in God. Mark 13: 13 , “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” (Repeated in Mt 10:22). We endure until the end and not until a premature supposed rapture. God keeps His own Word, the sentence of death is established at the mouth of two witnesses (Deut 17:6, 19:15 , Mt 18:16 ). We are the witnesses.

Do you suffer persecution regarding your walk with Christ? Does your religious institution? If you are not experiencing this then perhaps you are either ineffective or deceived about your condition. Does your religious institution encourage you to walk righteously before God (dying to self and sin) conforming to Christ’s image? Do men speak well of your religious organization or pastor? Luke 6:26 , “Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.” Are the messages emotionally good or do they make you feel uncomfortable in your flesh (convict)? Do you or your religious affiliation fit in a little to well with the world? Colossians 2:8, “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” Being spoken well of and following the rudiments of the world is compromise. Philosophy, vain deceit, and traditions of men refer to smooth messages of fleshly deception.

We will suffer if we are standing for Christ and following Him, but will triumph in Him (Ps 34:19). 2 Corinthians 1:5-7, “For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.” We endure as our Lord endured with all humbleness and meekness.

Jesus was judged as unworthy by the religious. Man always presumes to judge God and His Word. Matthew 10:25, “It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?” Jesus came speaking only the Father’s Words. The religious accused Him of having a demon. This is a serious disconnect between God and those who claimed to represent Him! By accusing Jesus of having a demon, they were blaspheming the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit dwelt within Christ’s body (temple) as He does with all true believers. This is such a serious offense that it cannot be forgiven. Matthew 12:31 , “Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.” The religious of today will say the same about a true follower. They’ll call you a heretic, cultist, legalist, etc. They will say you must fit into their majority message, yet the majority is on the broad path to destruction. The religious may be seeking unity at the expense of the truth – after all, God is love, right? We must fit in with the Word of God and only this eternal Word. Psalm 12:6, “The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.” Seven is the number of completion. God’s Word has been completely tried and is pure (Is 40:8)!

We are Blessed in Persecution

Everything that a follower of Christ endures will be worth it. Matthew 5:10-12, “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” True men of God are mostly ridiculed, criticized, and their messages are rejected. A false teacher will come with flattering and popular speech. They will defend the darkness and lead you opposite from God (worldliness). They always bring good news to the flesh. Isaiah 30:9-10, “That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD: Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits.” 1 Peter 3:14 , “But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled.” Most will seek comfort in the flesh. The flesh must die to gain that which is eternal. There is only one way to approach the Lord and that is taking up the cross, crucifying the flesh and everything that comes between you and God. Your every desire must be crucified is not the typical “smooth message.”

There is joy in suffering for our Master. Luke 6:22, “Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake.” When there is light, the darkness will flee. Do not be surprised if friends abandon you and demean you. Sometimes you will feel all alone. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.” You must seek God during these times, ask Him to fill you with His joy. 1 Peter 4:14 , “If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.” We bring glory to God by standing and enduring as His witnesses. One day men will be judged on how they responded to the witness that we are to portray (1 Pt 3:12 -13).

 

A Great Falling Away

There is a great falling away that has been going on for some time and is accelerating. Matthew 24:12, “And because iniquity (sin) shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” God defines “love” in a few ways that are most applicable here: obedience; sacrifice for God and others; and holding to the truth of His Word. John 14:21 , “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” Our love grows cold when we obey our own will, lusts and selfish wants. 2 Thessalonians 2:10 , “And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” Compromise is a great enemy of truth and a victory for the flesh (and Satan). John 3:19 , “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” Many have already fallen from the truth. Sin is trivialized and Christ’s great sacrifice and God’s forgiveness is used as a covering for continued sinfulness and wicked behavior. Many who profess Christ are not following and worse, they more closely resemble the world. Christ’s commandments are not heeded or obeyed. There are many hearers of the Word, but few doers. 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” Many of those who teach doctrines of pre-tribulation rapture (left behind) reveal their error and deceit by falsely prophesying that Christians will be taken out of the world prior to the son of perdition being revealed and thus invoking the “let no man deceive you” clause in this verse. Notice what the antichrist does, he exalts himself above all that is called God and sits in the temple of God . We are the temple of God (1 Cor 3:16 ). When we chase after the flesh and things of the world, then we (man) places himself in God’s throne within our temple and exalts his will above God’s. Instead of looking for the antichrist, you may want to look inward and decide if you have exalted yourself above God in the spirit of the antichrist (1 Cor 3:17 ).

Those who have no use for the truth will be answered by the multitude of their idols – with the lies they want to hear. 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12, “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” Most can sit in front of the television or go to the movies and take great pleasure in iniquity and never give it a second thought.  The falling away will not be from the organized religious institutions and not necessarily the denying of Christ. The religious are quickly becoming much more representative of the world than the Jesus described in the Bible. They are pursuing church growth and do not want to lose any “broad path” members. Many religious organizations will be going strong during tribulation and will most likely be involved in persecuting the true believers as part of some One World Religion. Many churches now accept all sorts of Biblical error such as homosexuality, abortion, divorce, open sinfulness, worldliness, hirelings (including women), psychology, fleshly entertainment, etc. Some who have been lukewarm will repent and turn to Christ, but these will probably be the exception rather than the rule.

Those who do not seek God and His truth will be given over to a delusion to believe a lie. Many want to hear and believe what is right in their eyes (concerning the scriptures). If you have no use for the truth then even that which you have will be given to another (Lk 8:18 , Mt 25:29, Mk 4:25 ). The religious community of Jesus’ time did not even recognize the Son of God in their midst – and worse they killed him! Their religious teachers had studied the scriptures concerning His coming. They wanted a fleshly King and deliverer, not spiritual. Man never understands God’s purposes when he seeks his own. How can a man’s heart be for God when it is for himself? Do not be so arrogant to suppose the same is not true now! Jesus Words are rarely preached now much less followed – deny self, forsake all, take up your cross, repent, love not the world, die to self, obey Christ’s commandments, confess Him, overcome, and sin no more.

 

A Separation

In previous chapters, the issue of worldliness was addressed. Many people’s lives are firmly entrenched in the things of this world. Examples might be the desire for constant distractions such as television, music, entertainments, activities, careers, etc. God, in His mercy, is going to separate the true church from the world during the great tribulation. Many may initially go reluctantly (as Lot from Sodom and Gomorrah ), but a separation will be forced. God’s chastening is for our profit that we might be partakers of His holiness (Heb 12:10 -11). The Bride (church) will become glorious and holy – spotless without wrinkle or blemish during this period. Daniel 11:35 , “And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed.” Those of understanding have knowledge of Christ.

How should followers of Christ approach this separation? 1 Peter 4:12-13, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” We continue to follow the path of the cross as Jesus did.

 

How Will the Separation Occur?

Revelation 13:11 ,16-17, “And I beheld another beast (False Prophet – religious leader) coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” He comes as a lamb – Matthew 7:15, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” Revelation 13:12 , “And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast (world leader) before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.” To accept the mark is to give total allegiance to the world leader and/or religious system and reject the One True God. Those that accept this mark are damned for eternity! This is to choose the things of the world over Christ. The money, homes, cars, possessions, entertainments, comforts, etc. This is an

exaltation of self over God. This is judging God as unworthy in the face of personal sacrifice. Has anything changed with man since Eden ?

Revelation 13:18, “Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.” Solomon was the wisest man that ever lived. There are only two other places in the bible that has the number six hundred threescore and six and both (different books) describe the same account of Solomon. 1 Kings 10:14 , “Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred threescore and six talents of gold (and 2 Chr 9:13 ).” What is the message? Solomon represents man’s wisdom. Solomon determined that after doing all that was in his heart that everything (man’s way) is vanity and only a heart toward God matters (book of Ecclesiastes, Ecc 12:14). We also know from scriptures that Solomon did not heed his own advice. 1 Kings 11:4, “For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father.” The gold that came to Solomon is money or things of the world for the purpose of satisfying self. This then is the message: At the end of the age, man will seek after worldly things (money) and be self centered. Man will follow after his idolatry rather than seek God. The mark of the beast will be the separation between those who will choose the world and all its idolatry to satisfy self (Satan’s nature – rebellion) or those who will choose to follow God and loose all the things of the world and its idolatries. Six is the number of man. Thrice six is the ultimate in man exalting himself through his knowledge and self seeking idolatries (things of the world) against the purposes of the one true God. The mark may be literal or the essence of whom you are. Either way you choose it by your own actions, “self and the things of the world” or “God.”

If you do not obey man’s law, you will be totally separated from the world’s system. God in His mercy does for you what you may never do for yourself. He separates you from the things of the world. To reject the mark is to give up all your savings, home, 401K accounts, cars, friends, career, entertainments, medical care, popularity, and quite possibly your physical life. You will now have to rely totally upon God for your very life. In other words you must die to your will and control of things and absolutely perform and depend upon God’s will – you must trust in God! Followers of Christ will finally understand what Jesus meant when he said, Luke 9:23, “And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” The way of the cross has always been death to self. John 3:30, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” Live to self and die, die to self and live (Mt 10:39 , 16:25 , Mk 8:35 , Lk 9:24 , 17:33 , Jn 12:25 ). There is such a biblical emphasis on this that the wise must take note. When we are weak, then God can show Himself strong (2 Cor 12:9). When you think you can do it all (self-sufficient), God lets you – to your own demise. We must die daily to self (1 Cor 15:31 , 2 Cor 4:9-11).

The flesh will rise up in contention. You’ve worked to hard for the things of the world. Much of the religious world will say it is OK. Many a false prophet will be on television (which most will be watching) trying to convince you that it’s OK to take this particular mark. After all, the rapture hasn’t occurred. They don’t want to lose their love (money) either. You will not be hard to convince given all you stand to lose. They’ll justify it somehow. It’s all about deception. God will send a strong delusion and they will believe a lie (1 Thess 2:11 ). So, what will prevail in your life? The worldly things or love and devotion for God – the path of the cross. A true follower is a dead man anyway. He has been crucified with Christ and the choice is easy. God will provide whatever strength one requires, even unto death. Most lukewarm will fold, because their flesh has ruled to long. How can one suddenly die for that which he could never live? After all, God loves us so much it will all work out anyway – Right (Zeph 1:12 )? Recall from Chapter One (The Condemnation) that when man chose the flesh over God, he became servant to the flesh. The flesh will rise up in what many term “self-preservation” and will seek its will over God’s. The spirit may be willing, but the flesh is weak. Peter found this to be all too real in a time of testing (Chapter Three, A Bold Statement). Our authorities must be changed. God must change our nature to come out from under the authority of the flesh and be willfully and lovingly subject to His authority. The Spirit leads us to overcome the flesh. Just remember this warning: when pressure comes to bear this flesh is capable of all manner of atrocities (Jer 17:9 – desperately wicked). Women in Israel ate their own children when their flesh was denied food for a period of time (Deut 28:53-57, 2 Kg 6:28 -30).

Revelation 14:9, “And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.” This is what you will be trading eternity with God for in getting a few very miserable years extension on your mortal life. Chances are that what time is left will be a living hell anyway. The punishment will be just for those who deny such a great King of Kings, choosing self just as Adam did.

Many are expecting the mark of the beast to be some physical mark, and it probably is literal, but it seems that our hearts are already marked. Where is your devotion? What are the things you think about? Enjoy? Have you every voluntarily given up anything because you did not think it would be pleasing to God (maybe something you really liked)? Is your very life structured upon the foundation of His Word? Do you seek Him? Our bodies are the temple of God (1 Cor 3:16 , 6:19 ). What if the antichrist is purely a spirit, which rises up within you such that you exalt self over God (2 Cor 6:16 , 2 Thess 2:4)? In other words, when you seek the pollutions of the world, you drive the Holy Spirit out and seat yourself as God over your life (1 Cor 3:17 ). Hmmm.

My son asked me one night: “What if I am forced to receive the mark of the beast against my will?” Scripture says that this cannot be the case. The mark will signify willful disobedience and rebellion against God and His authority. If the mark were just a physical tattoo or implanted chip, why wouldn’t an evil antichrist system force this upon those who profess Christ? What better way to lash out against God’s elect – give them the very thing they dread most. Perhaps the answer is that the mark is something we give ourselves through our own actions. Thus it could not be forced upon us, we would have willingly chose it. Marks are not necessarily physical, but the essence of one’s nature. This could manifest in many ways. Our agreement with the world and all it stands for; our tolerance and acceptance of iniquity (sin); selfish actions whereby we seat ourselves in the Holy Spirit’s place in the temple of our bodies; denial of Christ by mere profession and association rather than following and living for; seeking God through religious efforts of man rather than true faith from a heart of love toward God (as revealed through our daily actions); mixing our opinions with God’s Word to form belief, etc. Do you have the antichrist spirit? One simple way to find out is to honestly examine your heart. What do you find pleasure in – the things you enjoy doing most? How does your life reflect a daily following of Christ – is there any evidence? Sincerely make a list arranged in priority of the things you do most, think about, enjoy, strive for and see where Christ rates in your life. Personally examine your life now or wait and have it examined for you in front of all creation when the outcome will be unchangeable.

Satan will attempt to enslave the world with the things of the world. The Bible says, 1 Timothy 6:10 , “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” The Bible has nothing good to say about money. It is an idol that men lust after, yet is eternally worthless. Money will become a snare to many – they just won’t be able to part with it. The devil’s system is that no one may buy or sell without going through him. Jesus said for us not to be deceived. Those that chase after idols (such as money) become like them. They have eyes, but cannot see. They have ears, but cannot hear. They have no discernment (knowing right from wrong) – they do not grieve over sin. They will be given over to a strong delusion to believe a lie (most are deluded now). A false prophet will arise showing great signs and wonders (miracles) and the world will wonder after him. The mark of the beast may not be as obvious as most suppose. Those that do not want to part with their worldly comforts for sure persecution, imprisonment and death will certainly be looking for those to tell them everything is OK – the key is DECEPTION. Government and religious leaders (many that are now trusted) will lead them astray. People will follow because of their own lusts. This is how the devil overcomes man. Even now, most people are asking their false prophets to prophesy lies (pre-tribulation raptures, once saved always saved), they are saying, tell us smooth things. Tell us everything will be all right – of peace and goodwill. The false prophets never say the hard truths of scripture – that would be unpopular. That would not sell books or fill huge Church buildings. Tithing would decrease to the institution, and rather, giving would go to the poor and needy. You see, running a big religious work is like a business. The customer is always right or the ears begin to itch (2 Tim 4:3). If not, they go to a different religious organization. Come out of her lest ye share in her plagues!

 

Who is the Antichrist?

Revelation 9:2, 3, 11, “And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.” Abaddon is the destroyer, and has been confined to the bottomless pit for just such a reason. This is the first “Woe.” God’s two witnesses will testify and then the antichrist (spirit from the pit) destroys: Revelation 11:7, “And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.” This spirit will possess a man, but no one knows who at this time. It is a mystery for now: Revelation 17:8, “The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.” The beast is the antichrist (eighth king) and his fate is already sealed: Revelation 17:11 , “And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.” Revelation 19:20 , “And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone” (also Rev 20:10 ).

 

Revised Roman Empire ?

Many are looking for a revised Roman empire to be re-born geographically (in Europe ). In doing so they have totally missed the fact that they are actually living the ideals of Rome . The United States of America is all that the Roman Empire was – the modern seat of Rome . Consider: Ancient Rome was known for its system of roads; the US is known for its interstate road system. The pillar of roman law was the right to face your accusers and answer for yourself concerning the accused crime (Acts 25:16); the same is true in US law. Rome was obsessed with a love of violence; the US is also obsessed (fixated/gripped) with a love of violence. Rome was obsessed with sensuality through their art, erotic dances and orgies; the US is obsessed with sensuality through their art, risqué television/movies, pornography, and prostitution. Rome was preoccupied with sports and entertainment; the US is preoccupied with sports and entertainment. Americans must be constantly entertained – televisions are now being installed in most restaurants and public places. Televisions (DVD) are even being installed in new cars. Rome dominated the world militarily; the US absolutely dominates the world militarily. Rome dominated the world economically; the US absolutely dominates the world economically – and makes the world’s merchants rich ( Rev 18:15 , 19, 23). Roman citizenship was highly sought after in its day; US citizenship is also highly sought after in this era. The US Congress is an evolution of the Roman Senate. Rome made slaves of the poor through debt; the US makes slaves of the poor through very sophisticated debt. One may be able to somewhat choose one’s servitude (i.e. career), but the benefits still go to another (cost deferred/debt incurred). Rome also made slaves of the citizens of defeated countries; the US makes slaves of the third world through debt and the resulting slave labor (sweat shops, etc.). Rome extensively employed taxation; the US taxes everything. No doubt this list could continue at length. Now consider the following prophecy given to Daniel concerning this last great empire: Daniel 2:43 , “And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.” The US is a melting pot for the world’s peoples and ideals. People differ culturally and thus do not cleave. People also differ idealistically. Consider all the movements or special interests: environmental, save the whatever, religious, peace, racial, political, sexual, gender, economic, etc. These movements polarize (divide, separate) and thus people do not cleave. Therefore, the US is an exceedingly strong country, yet partly broken (Dan 2:42 ) – iron and clay. The iron represents the country’s might/strength and the clay represents its people (man came from clay/dust). The US has the military capability to dominate the world through devastation (devour, brake in pieces, stamp the residue, subdueth all things, breaks into pieces – Dan 2:40 , 7:19 , 23), yet its people have thus far lacked the resolve. This is changing before our eyes….

Many do not realize this but the whole world is ruled from a city. The seat of government for the United States of America is in a city known as Washington . It is not located in a State as all other US cities are, but rather a district – it is unique. This city is the seat of authority for the US (the most powerful nation) and thus the world (Rev 14:8, 17:18 , 18:10 , 18, 21).

 

A Religious Leader will Arise

Revelation 13:13-14, “And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.” This “professing Christian” religious leader will imitate the prophet Elijah. All of this is directed at those who have some sort of profession or identification with Jesus. This end time event is the separating of the true wheat from the tares of those who profess belief in Christ (Mt 24:24). All other religions are inconsequential. He will attempt to legitimize himself and the antichrist through these miracles and wonders.  There are many in the religious world chasing after signs and wonders now. They ask God to show them a sign. Matthew 16:4, “A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.” The City of Nineveh is an example of repentance. The prophet Jonah was told to go and preach to Nineveh , Jonah 1:2, “Arise, go to Nineveh , that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.” Jonah’s message to the city was to repent or perish. The people of Nineveh believed God! Everyone from the greatest to the least fasted (neither eating nor drinking), they cried mightily unto God, and everyone turned from their evil way and violence. Jonah 3:10, “And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.” They humbled themselves, confessed their sin, and forsook their evil. Jesus said: Luke 11:30 , “For as Jonas was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of man be to this generation.” Jesus came to call sinners to repentance (Lk 5:32). Jesus has called for repentance – to turn, forsake, let go of all our wicked ways. The issue of repentance will be prevalent in the tribulation. The true gospel will finally be preached in all the world. Revelation 14:6-7, “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” This will not be the “unconditional love god” message that is being taught in religious institutions today. The true message of God in no way will justify the wicked as so many now do (and call it God). The religious institutions of the world have been teaching “another gospel” of the flesh. Jesus said the end times would be characterized by false prophets and deception (See Chapter Ten, Deception, paragraph three). God will send His true gospel across the globe. God is merciful now, but He will next come in judgment.” The question – Will you follow the gospel?

How does the proud nation of America respond to God’s call to repentance? There are American flags everywhere and stickers that say, “Proud to be an American.” Everywhere one looks there are billboards, signs, bumper stickers, and banners that read, “God bless America .” Americans surely want God’s blessings, they feel they deserve them (Pv 30:13). Does this prideful country want to repent before God and become truly humble? Is there any evidence that Americans have humbled themselves, fasted, put on sack cloth and ashes, repented and turned from their evil ways? Oh Mystery Babylon, your sins have reached to heaven and God hath surely noted your iniquities (Rev 18:5). Do the religious institutions or their members’ pause from their patriotic celebrations long enough to note that guns, bombs and flag waving are not a sign of repentance nor does such show love or sacrifice (Jer 18:7-8, 10)? Do America ’s warplanes deliver the “Good News?” Do the soldiers love their enemies (Mt 5:44 -48)? Have the religious noted in their prayers that he who lives by the sword will die by the sword (Gen 9:6, Rev 13:10 )? God said it from the beginning: Genesis 9:6, “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.” What did Christ say? Matthew 26:52, “Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.” The only exceptions in scripture are when God specifically directs warfare as with Israel and the wicked peoples in the promised land (God’s judgment on the wicked). Of course, nations always assume divine purpose as did even Adolf Hitler (War time phrase: Gott Mit Uns – God with us). Recall that Jesus’ name, Emmanuel means “God with us” (Mt 1:23 ). Prayers of grief and fear are not demonstrated repentance. Warfare is so uncharacteristic of the message and life of Christ; one must wonder how it has found its way into the religious institutions. It should also be noted that followers of Christ are pilgrims on this earth, just passing through. Pride or patriotism in one’s country can easily become an attachment to things of this world and traditions of man can have a tremendous hold. Is your love and reverence of America an idol before God? We must become the image of God (who sends rain on the good and the evil) and love our enemies. Those who reject God’s Word will say, BUT….

Please consider carefully what is about to be said. Jesus said, John, 14:15 , “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” 1 John 5:3, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” These commandments are worth repeating once again: Mark 12:30 -31, “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.” Jesus took the Ten Commandments and condensed them into two. Upon these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets (Mt 22:40 ) and these are more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices (Mk 12:33 -34). This means that every thing God has ever required of man, as conveyed to man, through commandments, prophets and Son, is to be found in these two commandments. The first one says we totally surrender to God in love, humbleness and obedience. The second says that we love our neighbors as ourselves. One man asked Jesus who his neighbor was and Christ answered with the story of the Good Samaritan (Lk 10:29 -37). The Jews hated and despised Samaritans and it turns out that they represented the neighbors (fellow man) he should love. Now mankind, and Americans in particular, will always justify hatred for their enemies (Lk 6:35 ). Therefore, Jesus emphasized the point: Matthew 5:43-45, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” Notice how some tried to bypass (find loophole) in the second commandment through the use of the term “enemy.” Jesus said you are to “love” enemies if you want to be a child of God; and couldn’t have been more specific and clear. Luke 6:31-33, “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise (the second commandment). For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same.” Consider the case of the American Civil War. Brother hated brother in a brutal war. The religious men on both sides were sure that their side’s cause was right and God was on their side. They held religious services and prayed for their troops, yet their very endorsement of such things (the war), violated Christ’s commandment (which they knew) – did that matter? Christians “voluntarily” send their sons and daughters off to war today to fight for America . Jesus said, if you love me (first commandment), then keep the second commandment – does this matter? What do your actions say? Many will say: “But we are defending our nation?” Go back and ponder the verses you just read – you’re seeking your way. My “sentiment (opinions mixed with strong feelings)” will be like the most High. God’s way is not nullified with what seems reasonable and justifiable to the flesh. No one goes off to war without having hatred and unforgiveness in their heart. How could you kill otherwise? 1 John 3:10 , 15, “In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother (we are all brothers going back to Noah, family of man, brotherly love). Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.” Jesus said we cannot seek revenge either (Mt 5:38 -42).

 

What is the Image of the Beast?

We have discussed throughout this book how man was created in the image of God. Man disobeyed God and took on the image of the devil. Satan’s image is rebellion to God. The image of the beast will be rebellion to God. The beast’s nature is blasphemy (Rev 13:1) – speaking evil against God (Lev 19:12 ). This has always been a serious transgression to God (Lev 24:15-16). Revelation 13:5-6, “And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven (also Dan 7:8, 11, 20, 25, 11:36 -37).” This is total rebellion against all that God is. Men will be required to reverence (worship) this image (nature/characteristic/trait) of the beast. They will live in opposition to God. Blasphemy is an injury offered to God by denying Him that which is due and belonging to Him – not submitting to His authority. Consider this manifested nature as detailed in scripture when God sends judgment: Revelation 16:8-11, “And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory. And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.” Notice that rather than repenting and acknowledging their wrongs and giving God due glory, they blasphemed God in arrogance, total rebellion and defiance (also Rev 16:21 ). Blasphemy is also attributing to God that which is not agreeable to His nature (perhaps being religious, yet teaching/practicing doctrines opposed to God’s truth). The antichrist will be as his father (devil) – he shall exalt himself and magnify himself above every god and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods (Dan 11:36 -37). This will be the mark of those who follow the beast. Jesus said that blasphemies proceed out of the heart of a man and this defiles the man (Mt 15:19 -20). This is a heart far from God!  Revelation 13:17, “And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” So what is the name of the beast? Revelation 13:1, “…and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.” This is also revealed in Revelation 17:3, “So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.” The number of his name was discussed earlier in this chapter (How will the Separation Occur?). These cannot be saved because they are in total rebellion to God – they will not even seek God’s mercy through repentance ( Rev 14:11 ). No one can be saved unless they repent! Jesus came to call sinners to repentance (Mt 9:13 ). These will drink of God’s wrath – full strength (Rev 14:9-10). In the old covenant, blasphemy was punishable by death: Leviticus 24:16, “And he that blasphemeth the name of the LORD, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him: as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name of the LORD, shall be put to death (also Deut 5:11).” In the new covenant (testament, Mt 26:28, Mk 14:24 , Lk 22:20 , Heb 9:15 ) there is provision for mercy and forgiveness for some types of blasphemy (Mt 12:23 , Mk 3:28 , Lk 12:10 ). However: Matthew 12:31 , “Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men (also Mk 3:29 ).” In order to obtain forgiveness for certain types of blasphemy (those not directed toward the Holy Spirit), one must repent. Those who follow the beast will be like him and refuse God’s mercy in their own rebellion and self seeking. Not only have they rejected God’s authority and will, but have also rejected God’s great sacrifice – Jesus’ death to reconcile all men to the Father. Those who are saved are the ones who conform to the image of Christ. These first repent and renounce all rebellion against God and then walk in faith and obedience to God – as Christ walked (Col 2:6, 1 Jn 2:6, 2 Jn 1:4, 6, Ps 119:3, Pv 8:36). These live such that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven (Mt 6:10 ) and that God’s is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever (Mt 6:13 ). These will not accept such a mark of rebellion (Rev 20:4). They have victory over the beast’s image (Rev 15:2), because they have conformed to the image of Christ. The life you now live has a mark or nature to it – defined by decisions you make – living for God or for SELF (rebellion to God). The evidences are fruit that you bear – good or bad. Good fruit results from following the Spirit. Bad fruit results from following self. Jesus said those that are good hear the Word, receive it (yield) and bring forth fruit (Mk 4:20 ).

Revelation 13:15, “And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.” This one-mindedness (solidarity, unity, team player, cohesion, unified diversity) of the image seems to be propagated (assisted, taught, instilled, nurtured) through something akin to television or computers that most are instructed through now. This image will portray the beast’s nature which is opposite of God’s – that being rebellion, pride, blasphemy, self-seeking, power, control, greed, etc. Consider that television is an inanimate object (image) that reveals/portrays the nature of mankind. The television is certainly worshipped and held in high regard. The programming reflects what is important to man (humanism) – his ideals, entertainments, learning, fallen nature, etc. Most freely watch TV because they identify with man’s principles, rather than God’s will – the two are opposed. The requirement for worship of the beast’s image will be a very similar situation to the one Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego faced with King Nebuchadnezzar’s image (Dan, Chap 3). Most will comply (and see no problem), but very few will resist. The punishment for not worshipping this particular image was death in the fiery furnace. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego would not submit. Everyone else was bowing their knee (majorities always favor evil). How did these men respond to the King? Daniel 3:17-18, “If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” We also must have such faith. One must face death with full faith and confidence in God, being spiritually prepared. What if you were rounded up and sent to some hellish concentration camp or sent for an immediate extermination – it happened in Germany ? Would you be prepared to go? If we are not cleaving to God now, our flesh will rise up later for self-preservation. The flesh will always justify its actions. We must be able to spiritually over-rule the flesh to the point of death due to our love of God and for that reason only. Peter thought he was strong – Christ told him to pray, but he slept just before his hour of need – Peter’s spirit was willing, but his flesh was weak (Mt 26:41-75). We must be prepared to say, not my will but thy will be done. Unfortunately death camps have had their place in human history – most recently in Nazi Germany, Russia , and China . The great tribulation will only be different in that it will be much worse and global. Man will not save you in the tribulation – only God.

Some see the signs of tribulation approaching and out of fear have started stocking up on food, supplies, guns and survival literature. Some may have even bought land out in the wilderness to flee to. This is mostly depending on self for purposes of self and not upon God. Our preparation must be spiritual. If God specifically directs us to prepare physically in some way, then we may be obedient in that regard – be very careful that you are not hearing from your flesh. Psalm 20:7, “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.” AND Jeremiah 17:5, “Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.”We must ask ourselves where our trust is? Will our reliance be in self and the things of man or God (Ps 44:3, 5-6, 147:10-11)? For in God do we boast all the day long (Ps 44:8). 2 Chronicles 16:9, “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him…” AND Jeremiah 17:7, “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.” Most likely, God will supernaturally provide for those who have been faithfully living for Him. These are those mentioned as the church of Philadelphia and possibly some from Smyrna . God’s provision may be similar to the way He provided for the children of Israel in the wilderness. The point is that throughout the bible, God has consistently and frequently said that man must depend upon Him (life, being, sustenance, health, salvation, deliverance, protection, provision, victory, understanding, etc.). Only through God do we prevail in our battles (Num 10:9, 35, Deut 1:30, 9:3, 20:4, Josh 23:3, 10, Ps 44:3, 6-8, 60:12, 2 Cor 1:9, 3:5). Isaiah 31:1 , “Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the LORD!” Depending upon self is choosing man’s will and is the opposite of being “poor in spirit.” If God allows the circumstances to prevail (mark of the beast) that prohibit you from buying food, then He will provide for your needs. This is not tempting God, but realizing that He knows what you have need of (Mt 6:8, 25-34). Consider: Jeremiah 17:7-8, “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.” Consider these two verses: Luke 11:21-22, “When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace: But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils.” When you trust in God, no strongman can possibly overcome you (Unless it is God’s will) – as long as you are trusting in God. This is why the devil always attempts to make you an enemy of God (through your own lusts) such that you can be overcome. Anything else you trust in (Self, provisions, money, friends, etc.) is subject to the implications of these two verses. You will be overcome. No Christian should even consider the use of guns. We are specifically told to love and pray for our enemies (Mt 5:44 ). We are not just to love those who love us (Lk 6:32 -35, Mt 5:46 ). Whenever you get into a disagreement with folks concerning this and start defining who are enemies (and justification for hating them), you find that they come down to just loving those who love them. These still want an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth (Mt 5:38 -39, Pv 24:29). The religious will insert their own “self-defense” clause as a means of usurping God’s Word about loving our enemies. So if we cannot be out shooting people (obviously), then we must be looking to the Lord for His defense and protection. Which do you suppose is nobler: dying with a gun in your hand and three or four you killed laying about –OR- silently and non-resistantly going as a lamb to the slaughter for Christ’s namesake – putting all faith in God to determine justice at a later time (Rm 12:19)? The meek shall inherit the earth.

Consider how Christ reacted when they (those opposed to God – religious or not) came for Him: John 18:11 , “Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?” Peter was ready to fight (survive), but Jesus committed Himself fully to God’s will. Should not we, who “follow” Christ, also drink from whatever cup that God gives us? Is not judgement totally in God’s hands? Will the flesh or the Spirit prevail in your life?

 

Will all the Saints Perish?

Absolutely not! Many will be alive and remain when Christ returns (1 Thess 4:17 ). Jesus tells the church at Philadelphia : Revelation 3:10 , “Because thou hast kept the

word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” Notice that the tribulation is a temptation to try (trial) all who dwell on the earth – Choose whom you will serve. “…Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life ( Rev 2:10 ).” This is laying it all on the line; choose God or Satan – actions not lip service. This is one last huge trial before Christ returns. Sheep to the right and goats to the left – no one will be stuck in the middle. Notice that keeping God’s commands (obeying) is the key indicator that God will keep you (although there will certainly be exceptions). Those who now live openly for God can expect persecutions and tribulations because they are the threat to Satan’s devices. Luke 21:36, “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.” We are to pray that God will keep us. We become worthy when we die to self and live a life of faith in Jesus pleasing to God.

There are two groups of believers acknowledged in Revelation Chapter 7. Those who are sealed and those who lose their lives in the great tribulation. The implication is that the ones who are sealed are Philadelphia . We must all be prepared to stand regardless. There is good news for those who perish: Revelation 7:14 , “And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”

If I don’t accept the mark I’ll starve! The Bible is full of examples of God keeping His servants during extreme trials. Consider Noah and the ark. Noah was kept by God as the whole world perished in his midst. Noah was righteous; the whole world was wicked. It’s really not a numbers thing, more quality than quantity. Daniel was kept safe after being thrown in a lion’s den. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were kept safe in the midst of a fiery furnace. God was in there with them and their clothes did not even so much as smell of smoke. God sustained Israel in the desert for 40 years providing for all their needs, their food, water, even their clothes did not wax old (we are taking over a million people). God provided for Elijah when there was no rain for 3.5 years by sending ravens to bring him food. God also provided food for Elijah and the widow woman (i.e. The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail). It would be nothing for God to provide during the tribulation for those who have faith in Him and obey when the world’s system denies those without the mark, basic necessities. God provides for those who trust in Him and not themselves! God may direct you to make some provision, but you should be sure you are hearing from Him and not the flesh. If you try and prepare for yourself, God will most likely leave you to your own devises until you recognize your need for Him. You may find that depending on yourself is a frustrating process and that it is impossible to prepare for everything especially since you have no idea what will happen. The message of the Bible is to forsake your control of things and totally yield to God. There is no scripture that says God helps those who help themselves: Jeremiah 17:5, “Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.” Matthew 6:31-33, “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God , and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” This verse will take on new meaning during the tribulation.

 

God’s Seal

God will seal His servants at the beginning of tribulation. Revelation 7:2-4, “And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel . This number may be literal or figurative. Many suppose that the hundred and forty and four thousand are Jews, but this cannot be the case (Jn 10:16 , Rm 2:28 -30, 9:6-8, 10:12 -13, Col 3:11 ). First of all: Galatians 3:27-29, “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” All true believers are the seed of Abraham and heirs to the promise. Galatians 3:7, “Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham (also see Gal 3:9, 14).” Jesus (the Shepherd) only has one fold (Jn 10:16 ). Secondly, they are referred to as firstfruits (Rm 8:23 ). That would be those that ripen first on the vine. Matthew 20:16 , “So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.” In this case, those who are alive at the start of tribulation that have lived for God and kept His commandments – they are without fault! If these were Jews, they would have a major fault – not having accepted Christ as Lord nor lived for Him. Followers of Christ are referred to as firstfruits (Js 1:18 ). Revelation 14:1, 4-5, “And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads. These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.” Virginity is symbolic of purity. These initially represent a small number. Think about it – how many pure people do you know? James 1:18 , Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.” The religious institutions by and large do not presently see the need to be pure (holy) before God and obey Him and the love of many has grown cold. There is another place in scripture where God sealed His people in their foreheads.  Ezekiel 9:4, “And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.” Noticed that these grieved over the sin and were not part of it. Everyone in the city (starting with God’s sanctuary) was to be slain except those with God’s mark (Ez 9:5-6).

This 144,000 surely must be the Church at Philadelphia – “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” AND “hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.” There may also be some from the other churches such as the church at Sardis , “Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.” Recall, Luke 21:26, “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.” Many others will wake up during tribulation, but must be purified through fire. We must overcome, Revelation 2:26 , “And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:”

 

Will I Die if I do not Accept the Beast’s Mark?

When we follow Christ, we are following the path of the cross. This is a path of self denial and sacrifice to God. Mark 10:38 -39, “But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? And they said unto him, We can. And Jesus said unto them, Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized.” Let us consider what this cup and baptism represented: This is total commitment to God – death to self. Jesus died literally for you, and many followers have and will die literally for Christ. The saints of God begin dying right after the giving of the mark of the beast noted in Revelation Chapter 14. Revelation 14:13, “And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.” Christ’s angel is assuring us that we are eternally secure and this is very comforting.

Will I die for Christ in this end of the age? Possibly, a follower must always be spiritually prepared to give all for Christ. Revelation 6:9, 11, “And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.” You should never fear laying it all down for Jesus. Luke 12:4, “And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.” Some will die and some will be preserved. John 21:22 , “Jesus saith unto him (Peter), If I will that he (John)  tarry (is not killed) till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.” We are to follow Jesus and be confident that whatever He determines for us will be for His glory. Romans 8:36, “As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” At the time of the end, the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits (Dan 11:32 ). Daniel 11:33 , “And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days.”

 

The Sea of Glass

At the beginning of the book of Revelation, we are given a glimpse into the Throne Room of God. Revelation 4:6, “And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind.” This sea of glass is initially empty before the events of the Seals, Trumpets, and Vials. Just after the mark of the beast is revealed, we are told a third angel flying in the midst of heaven proclaims (in a loud voice) a warning to those on earth not to accept the mark and then the following proclamation: Revelation 14:13, “And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.” This is the Lord assuring those about to die. God will guide – even unto death (Ps 48:14). They are blessed and their sacrifice will be rewarded. Later, toward the end of the book of Revelation, we are given another glimpse of this sea of glass which reveals: Revelation 15:2, “And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.” The sea of glass is now filling up for the glory of God. This is an honored group. What are they singing? Revelation 15:3, “…Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.” To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (2 Cor 5:8).

 

The Beast is Given Power

God allows it! God is in control – He has a purpose in all this. Revelation 13:1,4-5, “And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.” The beast will seize power in the earth and has been foreordained for three and one half years. The beast is strong and dominates militarily ( USA , Dan 7:7, 19, 23). This event occurs at mid-tribulation. Revelation 13:7, “And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.” The saints are the followers of Christ. No one has been raptured away (Jn 17:15 ). Daniel 7:20, “And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows. I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them;” The beast overcomes the saints. Daniel 8:24 , “And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people.” Most will not be prepared or willing for all this. This will be a great time of testing, to try, purge and make white (Dan 11:35 ). Revelation 12:17 , “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Yes, we are talking about followers of Christ. There is victory in death; Jesus proved it. We need to wake up, forsake the world and cleave to our Lord in faith. Revelation 20:4, “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” They refused the beast’s mark and his intimidation. They loved not their lives unto death. Our Lord is able to deliver us from your hand, but if not, we will not take your mark (Dan 3:17 -18). Revelation 13:10 , “He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.”

 

Why?

Romans 11:33, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!” The overwhelming scripture in Daniel and Revelation reveal that many followers of Christ will lose their lives to the beast system. God has a higher purpose that we do not fully understand, although tribulation does serve the purpose of purifying His church. God’s plan transcends death, our mortal lives and our will. Job (book of Job) found out how unqualified he was to question God’s purposes (Job 42:1-6).

When Jesus was born, King Herod sought to take his life. Herod did not know who Jesus was so: Matthew 2:16, “Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men.” Jeremiah 31:15, “Thus saith the LORD; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rachel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not.” We could ponder why such a blessed event as the Lord Jesus’ early childhood would also produce a vast slaughter of innocent children. Why would God allow it? Similar questions could be posed about the slaughter of early Christians at the hands of the Romans (they were thrown to lions and burned on stakes) and throughout history. We must be very careful not to pass judgment on God. God’s ways and thoughts are higher than ours (Is 55:9). God is righteous and will judge appropriately. This requires our patience and our faith (Lk 21:19 , Rm 5:13 , Js 1:3-4, 5:10 ).

 

Patience

You must have patience. God is building a final case against the devil, his fallen angels and rebellious man for all creation to see God’s righteous judgment. Those that lead the saints into imprisonment will be put into captivity. Those that kill the saints will be killed. God will re-pay in His timing! Luke 21:19, “In your patience possess ye your souls.” Do not question the Lord’s motives.  James 5:10-11, “Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.” Many have suffered before us and we are not alone in this respect. Hebrews 11:35-38, “Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.” Hebrews 10:36 , “For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.” The Lord will accomplish all things in His timing and we must wait upon Him in trust and faith.” Notice that God’s will must be done.

Those that take the beast’s mark will suffer immeasurably (Rev 14:9-11). Revelation 14:12 , “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” Those who are patient and endure through their faith prevail, but they may loose their life (v. 13). Romans 12:12, “Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer.” We are told to be patient in our tribulations, they will have a glorious end (Lk 21:19 ). Tribulation refines us as through fire to produce a good work. James 1:3-4, “Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” Romans 5:3-5, “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. (Also 2 Thess 1:4, Acts 14:22 , Heb 6:12 )”

When will Christ Return?

Matthew 24:29-31, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. He that has an ear to hear, Christ returns after the tribulation. Luke 21:26-28, “Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” These verses say that we (believers) will see these things come to pass and then our redemption draws nigh with the coming of the Son of man. Those that survive the tribulation will see it. These weren’t just “Left Behind” because they were disobedient; they are followers waiting for reconciliation. The truth of God’s Word does not appeal to the flesh. False teachers have come up with doctrines of man that do. They will comfort you with false teachings of a pre-tribulation rapture –saying, don’t be concerned you won’t be here! These are Satan’s messengers. They’ll sell you books and tapes and make merchandise of you (2 Pt 2:3).

When considering the events of the end times, the author sought the Lord for wisdom. The Lord directly revealed to the author the following understanding of the final events before His return as detailed in the sections on trumpets, seals, vials and Armageddon. I didn’t have it in me, and the Lord miraculously put this on my heart. I can recall writing it all down on a napkin in the car. Seek the Lord and see if these things be not so.

 

Trumpets

There are seven last trumpet blasts detail in the Book of Revelation. 1 Corinthians 15:51-52, “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” This verse is linked to another verse: Revelation 10:7, “But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.” The seventh trumpet is the last trumpet. Notice that both verses refer to a mystery that shall be finished at the last trumpet. This mystery is that the dead will be raised and we who are alive shall be changed at Christ’s coming. Now examine what actually happens after the seventh trumpet is sounded. Revelation 11:15 , “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever (linked to 1 Cor 15:24 ).” Christ takes possession of the earth at His second coming. The seventh trumpet does not sound until after the tribulation. What does it matter? Because we must be spiritually prepared to face the horrible things the tribulation will bring. Many Saints will suffer or die unjust deaths at the hands of the world’s system (but will be purified) – a great separation. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” We may now conclude that Christ will return after the seventh trumpet. Seven is God’s number of completion in scripture.

The body (church) of Christ goes up to meet Him in the air and escort Him back to earth. 1 Thessalonians 4:17 , “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” We come back to a new heavens and earth of righteousness since the former are burned up (2 Pt 3:10 -14). The Lord is coming to earth to rule and reign for one thousand years (Rev 20:4). Revelation 20:6, “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.” This is akin to a wedding. The groom is met and escorted to the wedding. Revelation 19:9, “And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.” The rapture (word not in scriptures) is not a “great escape.” The catching up is to welcome the King!

 

Seals

Acts 2:20, “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come.” Recall (above) that immediately after the tribulation the sun is darkened and the moon shall not give her light (Mt 24:29). The sun turning to darkness and the moon changes are another indicator and this happens after the 6th seal: Revelation 6:12 , “And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood.” Isaiah prophesied that just before the Lord cometh (Is 24:23): Isaiah 13:10 , “For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.” After the sixth seal an angel proclaims “there should be time no longer” (Rev 10:6). This sets the stage for the seventh seal, which is the last seal. Joel 2:31, “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.” All eyes will be upon the heavens. Jesus returns triumphantly after the opening of seventh seal. Once again, seven is God’s number for completion.

 

Vials

Jesus will return unexpectedly. 1 Thessalonians 5:2, “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.” The phrase “thief in the night” does not mean secretly – it means suddenly, when not expected – as a snare (Lk 21:35 ). Many who have put off getting their life right before God will realize it is too late and their chance at eternal life is stolen from them. Luke 21:34 , “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. Many are caught up in life’s pleasures instead of living totally for God, even those waiting for rapture. Notice the verse says “cometh” as a thief in the night. This is a future expectation. Examine this very similar verse: 2 Peter 3:10, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” Here the verse also uses future tense, “will come.” Notice that as this happens it is the end of all things we know on this earth, “shall melt with fervent heat.” Now please follow along for this next verse. When does Christ come as a thief? Revelation 16:15, “Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.” Jesus makes the pronouncement, “I come,” and this is present tense. Jesus says this right after the pouring of the sixth vial. He is preparing everyone for the seventh and last vial. What happens after the pouring of the seventh vial? Revelation 16:17 , “And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done.” God the Father says, “It is done.” This means finished – over! Jesus comes after the seventh vial! Remember, seven is God’s number for completion. Christ comes as a thief for what purpose? To steal His bride (church) from the house of Satan – Let my people go.

In the verse above ( Rev 16:15 ), Jesus said, blessed is he that, “keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. Clearly soiled garments and nakedness is the sin (iniquity, transgressions, rebellion, self-centeredness) in one’s life. Jesus said, Matthew 24:42-44, “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.” Will we be watching (Lk 21:34 -35)? Will our garments be soiled and filthy or cleansed and ready?

 

Trumpets, Seals, Vials

Putting it all together we find that Jesus returns at the conclusion of the seventh trumpet (last), seventh seal, and seventh vial. Jesus returns at thrice seven (777). Seven is completion and thrice seven is ultimate completion, set in stone (corner), it is done, finished, Amen. The exact timing no man knows. Matthew 24:36, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” We will know when it is close to the end due to the signs (Mt 24, Mk 13, Lk 17, 21, Revelation). Does this description not also agree with Matthew 24:29-31 and Mark 13:24-27 (consider the sun and moon changes that precede Christ’s coming)? The Word is in agreement – how about you? There are also three other sets of sevens in the book of Revelation. There are seven Spirits (Rev 5:6), seven thunders (Rev 10:3-4) and seven angels (Rev 15:6). Seven is completion!

Compare this with the number of the beast, thrice six (666). Six is the number of man (created on the sixth day). Thrice is the ultimate in man attempting to exalt himself above God. This plays out when the military forces of man attempt war with Christ when He returns. Revelation 19:19 , “And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.”

God’s first judgment of the earth (flood) was also preceded by three sevens. Genesis 7:1-4, “And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation. Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female. Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth. For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth.” Seven of the clean beast, seven of the clean fowls and seven days (777). The forty days and forty nights represented the bearing of iniquity. It is also interesting to note that Noah’s father died just before the flood: Genesis 5:31 , “And all the days of Lamech were seven hundred seventy and seven years: and he died.”

 

Armageddon

Another indicator for when the Lord returns is the Battle of Armageddon. The beast starts gathering his armies for the battle just after the sixth – Seal, Trumpet, and Vial. Revelation 9:13 -16, “And the sixth angel sounded…Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates . And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men. And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them. This event takes place after the blowing of the sixth trumpet. Please take note of the word, “ Euphrates .”

Revelation 16:12-15, And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared. And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.” This event takes place at the “ Euphrates ” after the pouring of the sixth vial. Jesus makes His proclamation that He is coming ( Rev 16:15 ).

Revelation 6:12-17, “And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” After the opening of the sixth seal there is a tremendous earthquake, the sun darkens and the moon becomes as blood. The armies of men seek to hide. Jesus returns in great wrath!

Compare the preceding with this verse: Isaiah 13:9-10, 13, “Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the LORD of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger.” Woe, Woe, Woe!

Therefore, After the three sixes (666 – Seal, Trumpet, Vial), The Euphrates river dries up and the Beast and False Prophet begin assembling the armies of the world at Armageddon. Suddenly, there are great signs in the heavens (Sun, Moon, Stars), there is a great earthquake (after the sixes, Rev 6:12 , 13). Everyone tries to hide themselves. Jesus proclaims, “I come as a thief.” Jesus comes in conjunction with the three sevens (777 – Seal, Trumpet, Vial) in great wrath! Victory is the Lord’s. Amen.

They’ll want the rocks to fall on them and hide them. 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10, “And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.” Their gold and silver (money) will not be able to save them (Ez 7:19 ). Proverb 11:4, “Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivereth from death.” The wrath is for those who do not obey Christ’s gospel! Obedience to God is not a work (Legalism). No one will be saved lacking obedience! Hebrews 5:9, “And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” Woe to them who lead the sheep astray.

 

Jesus is Coming for His Bride

Ephesians 5:27 , “That he might present it to himself a glorious church (Bride), not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” Spots, wrinkles, and blemishes are the sin, worldliness and rebellion in our lives. These are the undesirable effects of man’s will. Overcomers will conquer the sin in their lives (through Jesus) by their faith in God and shall be clothed in white signifying their purity. The bride says: “I will love, honor and obey!” – For there is no other way – until death or His coming when we be united. The tribulation will purify many. Revelation 3:5, “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.” For those who hold to eternal security doctrines, your name can be blotted out of the book of life. Christ’s audience here is His body (church). Jesus is not coming back for a pretend church with out spot, wrinkle, or blemish. He’s coming back for the real thing! Many suppose that little white spots on a soiled garment are good enough – Woe to you! For there will be much weeping and gnashing of teeth for those who see no need to overcome. Jesus is certainly not coming for an adulterous harlot soiled with sin, filth and worldliness. He’s coming in victory, not defeat. The tribulation will serve to prepare the bride and make her ready to receive her King. Revelation 3:4, “Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.” Most have defiled their garments and they are not ready. A few have walked in purity (faith, love devotion) and they are worthy. Examine your Heart!

 

The Bride of Christ Emerges

Why would God allow his saints to endure the suffering and death of tribulation? 1 Peter 4:1-2, “Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.” We become like Jesus – conformed to His image. It’s a time of sorting and a time of purifying. Revelation 7:9, 13-14, “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands. And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” Do you see the result of tribulation? Their robes were washed and they are now free from sin and worldliness!!! Daniel 12:9-10, “And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.” Do you see? Many will be made white (Purity) and tried during tribulation. This is definitely not the false pre-tribulation message that so many have bought into seeking the comfort of the flesh (self). 1 John 3:3, “And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” Those who follow Christ, follow His example. Notice “they washed their robes and made them white” and “purifieth himself.” This is done through Christ’s strength but requires effort on our part. Those who obey through their sacrifices and suffering will be vindicated!

Notice the indictment, the wicked will continue to be wicked. Most reading this book will not change one little bit. They cease not from their own doings, nor from their stubborn way (Judges 2:19 )! They will continue to seek the flesh and there are many false teachers out there that will tell them what they want to hear. This is a sad fact. They will consider this book extreme because it does not sooth the flesh. What does Jesus say in the very last chapter of the Bible? Revelation 22:11-12, “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” Most after being warned over and over will continue to pursue their own will over God’s as slaves to this flesh and its lusts and desires. Acts 13:41 , “Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you.” It comes down to this: you sought your will or you sought God’s will (faith). These may even be very religious. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him (Ez 18:20 ). He that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong ( Col 3:10 ). Jesus will definitely give to each as his work deserves. What will your life’s story reveal? Even the secret things will be known (Lk 8:17 ). God’s grace will not cover your rebellion or continued wickedness. There are only two types, those who rebel and those who submit, and they are known through their actions (fruit). So the implication is that if you don’t get it by now, you never will (blind, unconverted) – even if one came back from the dead (Lk 16:27 -30).

 

 

The Bride is Victorious

Those that profess Christ will be tested (trial) in a most meaningful way, choose light or darkness. A choice for God will bring a separation from the darkness and will require suffering on your part (and death for many). Revelation 15:2, “And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.” Those that died received victory just as our Lord Jesus. This is the way of the cross. Look, here comes the Bride! Revelation 19:7-8, “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.” By the end of tribulation the church has made herself ready and is purified from the things of the world. The bride is loyal and dedicated to God alone (through Christ Jesus). Persecution and tribulation will separate those who are false and will strengthen and mature the remnant that are true. Recall, the Lord had to exile a remnant of Judah to Babylon to get their attention due to their idolatry. God will not violate your free will; your choice will determine your eternal destination. God in His mercy will arrange circumstances (persecution/tribulation) to separate you from the sin and worldliness that you are comfortable in. In other words God will give you one last chance prior to Christ’s return to choose to follow Him – however it will require much of you! Revelation 19:9, “And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.”

 

All Things Point to the End

The great tribulation and the return of Christ mark the climax of man’s rebellion and the beginning of Jesus’ earthly reign. All the great accounts in the bible point to this great event. The following are examples: The creation days reveal the six thousand years of man and one thousand year millennial reign (Sabbath). The tower of Babel represents the coming one world government/religion and man exalting himself. Noah’s ark and the flood judgment show that God will destroy the wicked from the earth and the righteous will be preserved. Moses and Pharaoh reveal God will afflict the beast with judgments while preserving His people. Saying: “Let My People Go” from the bondage of sin. Nebuchadnezzar’s image represents worshipping the beast’s image or dying – we stand for God to our own demise. We are to be faithful unto death while boldly professing God for all men and authorities to see. The Holy Spirit will teach us what to say. Israel in the wilderness reveals God protects, provides and purifies His people in tribulation. We must learn to trust in God. The Promised Land is also symbolic of Christ’s millennial reign. David and Goliath represent the weak overcoming, through God’s strength, the strong. We must stand up for God and give God the glory for the victory. The story of Gideon shows we are to depend upon God’s strength, not ours. God gets glory, not man. Jeroboam, Son of Nebat and the two idolatrous golden calves he set up and priests and feasts he appointed represents man inventing a religion to suit self (1 Kg 12:26-33).  The Babylonian captivity represents God reasoning with you (getting your attention) concerning your relationship with Him. Daniel in the lion’s den reveals that one day worship of the true God will be illegal and warrant death, yet we must openly stand for God (no compromise). Jonah and the great fish reveals that God will severely inconvenience you to get your attention in the tribulation and that repentance will bring mercy – we must have a heart to do God’s will and preach (speak) what He commands. Nineveh is an example of corporate repentance whereby everyone sorrows with godly sorrow and everyone turns from their wicked way (forsakes) in great humbleness – God then shows mercy. Jezebel reveals that evil will rule the land and they have slain God’s servants and seek your life. However, God still has many who have not bowed the knee. Samson shows that the greatest victories are achieved in death. Abraham shows a willingness to forsake all for God regardless of the circumstances. The account of the battle of Jericho has seven priests with seven trumpets marching around Jericho on the seventh day (seven times around the city). Thrice seven (777) is ultimate completion (with a great shout of victory) and them walls came a tumbling down! To God be the victory and glory! All these accounts are foreshadows of the future. Take heed Oh man!

 

 

Beware

Revelation 21:8, “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” The fearful are people who are afraid of the opinions of man. They choose man’s will over God’s will. The unbelieving are those who do not trust God and those that are unfaithful in their lives. Unbelief is rebellion in the heart whereby one refuses to submit to Christ. The abominable are those with sexual perversions and filthy things. These have been given over to their impure affections. The murderers are everyone who hates his brother. The whoremongers are those who seek the dainties of the world rather be faithful to God. They are those who do not eliminate sinful lusts from their lives. The sorcerers are those who practice witchcraft such as rebellion against God’s will, and seeking to control and manipulate others for selfish reasons. This also includes those who practice magic, astrology, fortune telling, occult, witchcraft, drugs, tarot card, automatic writing, and ouija boards. The idolaters are those who allow anything other than God priority in your heart such as money, television, possessions, etc. All liars have their place, those considered innocent, bad and stretching of the truth.

Isaiah 65:12-14, “Therefore will I number you to the sword, and ye shall all bow down to the slaughter: because when I called, ye did not answer; when I spake, ye did not hear; but did evil before mine eyes, and did choose that wherein I delighted not. Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, my servants shall eat, but ye shall be hungry: behold, my servants shall drink, but ye shall be thirsty: behold, my servants shall rejoice, but ye shall be ashamed: Behold, my servants shall sing for joy of heart, but ye shall cry for sorrow of heart, and shall howl for vexation of spirit.”

 

The Second Coming

John 14:3, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” Any delay in Christ’s coming is certainly for your benefit. The Father is longsuffering not wanting any to perish, but desiring all to repent (2 Pt 3:9). We are to serve God and be watchful.

Jesus had a phrase he used often for unprofitable servants who would not be prepared for His coming: “Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Mt 8:12, 22:13, 24:51, 25:30). Some religious groups say there will be no hell and that God will somehow reconcile everyone back to Himself. To say this, you have to make God a liar and that’s what the devil attempts to do. Such is the fruit of this doctrine. Luke 12:42-48, “And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath. But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.”

Revelation 19:11-16, “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” Christ smites the armies of the world with His spoken Word. The sword is His Word. The world has had two thousand years of God’s grace and mercy. Now the world will know His full wrath and judgment. Psalm 75:8, “For in the hand of the LORD there is a cup, and the wine is red; it is full of mixture; and he poureth out of the same: but the dregs thereof, all the wicked of the earth shall wring them out, and drink them.”

The prideful shall be abased: Isaiah 2:12 , 17-18, 20-21, “For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low. And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day. And the idols he shall utterly abolish.  In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats; To go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth.” Their money will not save (Ez 7:19 ).

Throughout all the plagues that are sent upon a rebellious mankind in tribulation, he still will not repent. Revelation 9:20, “And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk” (Also Rev 9:21). Self seeking man will continue to lash out at God: Revelation 16:9, “And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory.” AND Revelation 16:11 , “And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.” Some wonder why there is eternal damnation (Hell – lake of fire – punishment). A magnificent righteous wonderful Holy God will not surround Himself with such rebellious ones throughout eternity ( Rev 21:27 , 22:15 ). Those faithful from the earth who have suffered much from these rebellious ones do not want to be in their company for eternity either. Those destined for damnation will be there by choice – their actions!

 

Restoration and Reconciliation

Jesus came to restore all things to the Father. Acts 3:20 -21, “And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution (restoration) of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” God has labored on this earth and awaits the fruit of His crop. Does not He who digs, sows, fertilizes, waters, weeds, prunes and harvests have an expectation of the reward of His labors? The Father patiently waits for the harvest. Revelation 14:14-16, “And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.”

Revelation 22:7, 14, “Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” Those who kept God’s commands and had faith through Jesus Christ will be restored to the tree of life. Man regains what Adam lost through our conquering Lord, Christ Jesus, who alone is worthy of all things. To Him be glory, honor, praises, dominion, and power forever. Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty. Man has restoration through his humbleness and submission before God. Jesus Christ is the righteous conquering King who came and led by example. Through Christ we are more than conquerors (Rm 8:37 ).

For those who were rebellious to God and sought their own way: Revelation 14:17-20, “And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.”

 

 

Oh, What a Day!

Revelation 20:11, “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.” What a truly awesome God we serve (Ps 9:7-8). We cannot conceive of His true Magnificence. Revelation 20:12 , “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” Its all recorded and will be reviewed (Ps 96:13). All the great kings of the earth and mighty corporate VIPs (the merchants of the earth) will be greatly humbled before the throne just like the poor that they often persecuted and took advantage of (Is 24:21, 49:23, Rev 6:15, 18:3). There will be nothing more important in the universe than to have your name in the book of life on that day. Have you no fear? Revelation 20:13-15, “And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” I plead with you: Cry out to God in true repentance (Ps 20:9). Forsake your sinfulness – hold onto nothing. Die completely to yourself. Sin no more. Ask God to change your very heart (give you His nature) and create you anew. Serve Him from the love of your heart, obeying His perfect will. There is no formula – just total commitment. Your chances are fast running out. God will not be mocked and you will reap what you sow even if after death. Deuteronomy 7:10 , “And repayeth them that hate him to their face, to destroy them: he will not be slack to him that hateth him, he will repay him to his face.” – Woe, woe, woe! Daniel 7:9-10, “I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened (also Rev 5:11 , Is 11:3-4).” We cannot comprehend such Majesty. You cannot imagine how fearful you will be if your name is not in the book of life. We are talking about your fate for all eternity, based upon your actions of less than one hundred years in this temporal fallen world. This life is not about you! This life is about humbling and subjecting yourself to the will of God and bringing Him worship and glory – honoring Him. God’s glory will not be diminished one bit based upon your decision to continue in your will – you are the one who will lose all, oh rebellious one. You need God, but God will certainly be highly exalted and exceedingly glorified without you. God will have your praise in the end, but you will then be separated forever (Php 2:10 -11). Fall on your knees and cry out for mercy. God’s kingdom is an everlasting kingdom (Ps 145:13). Christ’s dominion endureth forever.

Revelation 22:17 , “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Jesus says, “Come, follow me!”

 

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