If Any Preach any Other Gospel

“Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead;)  and all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia: grace to you and peace from God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, 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 glory for ever and ever. Amen.
I marvel that you are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.  But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.  As we said before, so say I now again, ‘If any preach any other gospel unto you than that you have received, let him be accursed.’  For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.
But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.  For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.  For you have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: and profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.  But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.  Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.  But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother.  Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not.  Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia; and was unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ: but they had heard only, ‘That he which persecuted us in times past now preaches the faith which once he destroyed.  And they glorified God in me.” Galations 1:1-24

REFERENCES: Acts 2:24; Titus 1:3; 1 Corinthians 15:1; 16:22; 1 Samuel 24:7; 1 Timothy 1:13; Jeremiah 9:14; Matthew 16:17; Romans 9:1; 16:7

Hearing His Word

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.
For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.
I Jesus have sent Mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the Bright and Morning Star.
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.
For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the Book of Life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. Revelation 22:14-21 (KJV)

Here we have our final of seven Beatitudes of the Revelation. Our final word of solace and encouragement.

Those who “Do His commandments” are those who love Him (John 14:`15, 21). Their garments have been made white by the sacrifice of Jesus precious blood. The greatest motivation to love Him is His love for us (1 John 4:19).

The “Blessed” are given access to the “tree of life”, and may enter into the city. The unregenerate are kept from the city and the tree of life.
Jesus Himself testifies to the truth of the angel’s testimony. The root is the unseen – the Deity, Creator of David. The offspring is the Son of David – Jesus is the root and the offspring of David. Jesus is the bright and morning star.

“The morning star announces dawn’s soon arrival. Jesus Christ will come for His Church as the ‘Morning Star’. But when He returns to judge, it will be as ‘the Sun of righteousness’ in burning fury” (Malachi 4:1-3). Warren Wiersbe BE Commentary Vol. 2 pg. 626.

Here is the last invitation in Scripture. When the last page is fulfilled the invitation closes forever.

The invitation is from the Bride [Church] in which the Spirit abides. It is just as sure as if we were already there. Read Ephesians 1.

The invitation remains opened until God closes the door (Consider Noah and the ark; Gen. 7:16).

The Church today is responsible for inviting the condemned to faith and righteousness – salvation in Christ Jesus.

There is a final warning in these glorious pages of Holy Scripture. This prophecy is not to be trifled with by attempts to explain it away or by adding to it – thus, treating it with contempt and little or no respect, holding the teachings of men over the glorious and the clear doctrines of God.

The saved of God hold God’s Word in reverence and awe. It is taught with a passion for truth and for Jesus Christ as the only Savior, Lord, and King of kings, and Lord of lords. The curse cannot apply to the redeemed of God because of the above statement. We must keep in mind that as we grow in maturity, in Christ, there are some things we believe that we will change because we discover we were wrong. This curse applies to those who set out to deliberately deceive and to purposely hold the Word of God in contempt; by those who are deceiving and being deceived.

A testimony of John and the words of Jesus speak volumes for faith. Testimony and prayer. The testimony belongs to Jesus – “Surely I come quickly. Amen”. John’s prayer – “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”

Twice in this chapter Jesus says, “I come quickly” (vv. 7, and 20). John’s prayer and ours, if we are in Christ is, “Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus”. Come quickly. Come, Lord Jesus. AMEN.

In conclusion, all through this study, I have tried to show how this book, this Revelation of Jesus Christ, is exactly as it is titled; The Revelation of Jesus Christ. And, He in all His glory. The Revelation is of Him from the first to the last.

Some of the things that are soon to happen are not pleasant, but Jesus is glorified forever more. “The Unveiling Of His Glory” has been my title for this study, and His glory is certainly witnessed in His judgment upon the wickedness of the men of earth and in the resurrection of His saints.

What Jesus began back in the garden of Eden, He will bring to completion for His glory. “I COME QUICKLY.” AMEN.

A CLOSING QUOTE:

“Though not stated in detail, the point of these two verses (vv. 18-19) is that a child of God who reveres Him will recognize at once that this is the Word of God”. John F. Walvoord from The Revelation of Jesus Christ pg. 338.

Judgment Coming on the Evil World Government

And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double. How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her. Revelation 18:1-8

In this study, we will see that the judgment of God will be upon the evil political-economic government of the world empire, God’s grace in warning His people to flee from her and that we are to rejoice in the judgment of God upon evil.  NOTE: The woman on the “scarlet colored beast” of chapter 17 is referred to as “the great whore” which implies religious apostasy and spiritual adultery, thus chapter 17 is dealing with religious Babylon shown by the use of symbolism.

Chapter 18 is more literal and seems to be dealing with a literal city, probably Rome since that is what Christians of John’s day would have seen as being Babylon.

Please note the differences in the two. In chapter 17 the kings rejoice in her death by causing it. In chapter 18 the kings and merchants mourn the destruction of the city.

Religious Babylon is established, by the world ruler, of all the world religions, only to be thrown down by him to establish himself as god (2 Thes. 2:4; Daniel 11:37), thus, making it illegal for the people to worship any god but him.

Chapter 18 is political-economic Babylon, described by the trading in verses 11-13.

“Another angel”, a different angel from 17:1 is identified as “having great power” and being very brilliant in appearance.

Great power in which to exact punishment upon the wicked city.

“Glory” which exposes all that is hid in the darkness.

This angel declares the same cry of another angel (or is it?) in 14:8. It seems as though there are Old Testament prophecies which would forbid the idea of the rebuilding of literal Babylon (Isaiah 13:19-22; Jeremiah 50), so we must, to a certain extent, believe this to be Rome. Rome is probably what the Christians of John’s day would have understood Babylon to be. Babylon is symbolic of apostasy, evil powers, and greed.

Since the Babylonian system will fall it becomes the habitation of every kind of unclean and evil thing (v. 2). See Daniel 4:4-27 and compare Matthew 13:31-33…

“Another parable put He forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof. Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened. (KJV).

The city has been a source of great wealth, because of her commerce. Others around the world flock to her to become wealthy as well. Selling their souls to obtain wealth that the moth and rust can corrupt.

There is “another voice from heaven” crying out in mercy, “Come out…” The invitation is to those who are God’s to flee from the great city.

The call to flee has a twofold purpose:

  1. By separation from her they will not partake of her sin;
  2. They, also, will not be inflicted with the plagues of judgment.

There is an allusion to the Genesis 11 account of Babylon. Her sins are stacking up like brick and mortar; building a tower of self-righteousness. In the piling up of her righteousness, which is “filthy rags”, she only heaps up judgment on herself.

For every stone of self-righteousness, they are exalting themselves over God’s righteousness and He remembers every such sin.

The reward of the city of Babylon will be double what she did unto the saints of God. The same cup she used to seduce the nations to commit fornication with her, is the cup from which she herself will drink damnation.

She is seen as self-satisfied. She says she has no need. She is so full of pride she takes no thought of God or His judgment.

She is rich. Notice the similarities between the church of Laodicea and the city of Babylon (see 3:17). How can she repent when she has no need.
Therefore, her judgment comes quickly, “in one day”. The day before she is prosperous and proud. The day after she is dead and despairing.

“When it is time for God’s judgment it descends with unwavering directness”. JOHN WALVOORD from the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

Look at some other times of God’s quick and direct judgment upon the frivolous and self-righteous:

  1. Daniel 5:24-30 — Belshazzar is judged the same night that he defiled the cups of God’s temple;
  2. Luke 12:16-20 — The foolish man’s soul is required “that same night” that he decided he was in charge of his life.

We can be sure when God’s judgment comes it comes quickly. The Lord God He is strong and mighty. No one; no government, religious institution, or power can stand against Him or avert His wrath. He will bring to pass what He has proclaimed. The word of God stands true for all time and eternity.

Remember Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and He rose again.  He forever lives.

Because GOD Has Judged

And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth. And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image. And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea. And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood. And I heard the angel of the waters say,
Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because Thou hast judged thus. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and Thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy. And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are Thy judgments.  Revelation 16:1-7 (KJV)

One of the four Living ones of chapter four gives each angel a golden vial [bowl] according to the plague for which they are assigned.

In 5:8 is mentioned “golden vials full of odors, which are the prayers of saints”. It would appear that there is no more prayer – “no man was able to enter the temple”. The time for prayer will cease, and the time of God’s vengeance against those who mocked His name, His law, His holiness and righteousness, and His people has come.

The vials are the last judgment before the appearance of Jesus in all His glory.

The voice from out of the temple must be that of God the Most High. The prayers of the saints from 5:8 are being carried out to the fullest. Do we pray for vengeance upon evil today? Should we? I believe that we do and should; of course, for the cause of God’s glory. We must remember evil even in our own lives. In the “Lord’s Prayer” (Matthew 6:9-13) is the phrase “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil”; and that is what Jesus is speaking of. The fire of His Spirit falling on us burns away the dross and filth of evil. If you are “in Christ” ( a phrase used by the apostle Paul) you stand in the fire and come out purer and stronger before God.

Let us commit ourselves as followers/disciples of Jesus Christ to praying for God’s vengeance upon evil (starting with our own), and one day we will see it brought to pass. Let us pray also that friends, family, all our loved ones, and neighbors will be convicted of sin, and in that, lead them to repentance and faith in Christ Jesus. Every time a soul is saved evil is judged.

It seems that where the seven seals, and seven trumpets speak of man’s choice to live without God, their sin brings judgment and finally in the bowl judgments God’s own hand is stretched out to judge.

  1. For God to pull away and let mankind have his way is a terrible judgment;
  2. Man’s selfishness, pride, lust, greed causes pollution, and environmental harm bringing their own judgment;
  3. Finally, when wicked men see God’s wrath and yet reject His mercy and grace, God steps in in full force to put an end to evil.

These vials [bowls] seem to coincide with the seven trumpet judgments. Remember the seventh trumpet brings in the seven vials of wrath. Where the seals and trumpets only seemed to touch a part of the earth – one fourth part in the opening of the “seals” (6:8), one third part in the “trumpets” (8:7-9) – these judgments seem to touch the whole earth and the heavens.

What the seven vials of judgment deal with and their correlation to the trumpets:

  1. 8:1-7 “The earth” 16:1-2;
  2. 8:8-9 “The sea” 16:3;
  3. 8:10-11 “The rivers” 16:4-7;
  4. 8:12-13 “The heavens” 16:8-9;
  5. 9:1-2 “Mankind – torment” 16:10-11;
  6. 9:13-21 “An army” 16:12-16;
  7. 11:15-19 “Angry nations” 16:17-21

These seem very similar, but the scope of their devastation is much different. The vial judgments are said to be “the last”.

With the vials:

  1. (V. 2) The objects of this wrath are clearly the ones who worshiped the beast;
  2. (V. 3) The whole sea turns to blood compared to only one third with the second trumpet (8:8-9);
  3. (VV. 4-7) Every stream and fountain of fresh water becomes “blood”; with the third trumpet one third of the waters became bitter (8:10-11)….

Verses 5-7 are a doxology of praise to God. It is a righteous and just thing to praise the Lord when He judges evil.  Let us also rejoice because one day all evil will be eternally dealt with.

Judgment is not a pleasant to talk about, however it would not be appropriate, neither would it be right to ignore these horrible events.  It would be improper for a doctor to find cancer in a patient and not inform the patient. God has made a way for humankind to miss judgment, and that is by way of believing and receiving the gift of eternal life purchased for you on Calvary’s cross – Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and on the third day he rose again.  He is alive forever more.

 

Two Witnesses of God in the Chaos

“And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.
And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.”  Revelation 11:1-6 (KJV)

God who is rich in mercy provides man with every opportunity to repent and believe on Christ by sending His empowered witnesses to tell of His atoning love, and warn of His coming wrath to deal with sin unrepented of. In the day in which we now live we are witnesses to a people ever increasing in darkness, and away from God and His light.

This beginning in the chapter continues the interlude between the end of the sixth trumpet and the sounding of the seventh.

Previously in chapter 10, John is told, “Thou must prophesy…”. In verse one of our present chapter that seems to be exactly what John does. There is no reason to spiritualize the text here. To do so would only add confusion, and confusion breeds doubt.

“Measure the temple of God” does imply God’s ownership.

The “Reed” was used as a measuring rod. It measured about ten feet in length. This as we note is God’s standard of measure. Since the earthly temple was designed in Heaven it still must meet God’s expectations. All things must be measured by God’s standard, lest we get a false measurement. The temple, the altar, and the worshipper are measured as God’s evaluation of what is His.

As previously mentioned in chapter ten the “Little book” is possibly the Bible, the Word of God. The Scriptures when taught by God’s Spirit measure earthly things and people. The ten-foot rod when stood against any man shows by man’s stature how short he falls from God’s standard (Romans 3:23). We cannot attain God’s standard by fleshly works.

God practically ignores what is called “The court of the Gentiles”. The simple reason being that this “Court which is without [outside] the temple…” was not in the heavenly plan. What was the court of the Gentiles, had become a place for all kinds of idol worship.

This temple is not Solomon’s temple or Herod’s temple. It is the temple of the “Seventieth week” of which Daniel writes, or what is called the seven years of tribulation (Daniel 9:24-27).

These measurements are certain to affirm that we fall “short of the glory of God” – we fail to meet His required standard for holiness. The only way to meet that standard is by trusting Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Savior. Then, His holiness and righteousness are put to our account, because our filth of sin was put to His account upon the cross.

There is some disagreement to the time of these “Two witnesses” ministry. Some relate it to the first 1260 days (42 months, or 3 1/2 years), and others to the latter.

It would appear – at least to me – that the two prophets ministry is in the latter. I draw that conclusion by looking at the close of verse 2. Because the “Antichrist” leader allows the Hebrews to worship and then breaks his covenant with them in the midst of the week (Daniel 9:27); this happening the prophets would have been free to speak during the first half.

The message these men are given is preached near the end of the “second woe” (v. 14). While the vile and rebellious men of earth are enjoying their sin and having their way, God chooses not to destroy them without opportunity for repentance. God owes; lost, unredeemed, unrepentant humankind, nothing, except to fulfill His every word. These two witnesses are tormentors to evil hearts. It is still that way in the present. People do not want to be confronted with their evil ways.

The length of their ministry is 1260 days. Their days being listed last seems to imply the latter half of the “Seventieth week”. The seventh trumpet would bring in the “Day of the LORD”.

The power of God is the unction of their preaching. They are “Clothed in sackcloth”. This implies that their message is one of repentance and salvation. God’s mercy is astounding.

John the apostle is given the message that these are the “Two olive trees” and the “Two candlesticks”. The olive tree was the source of oil for the lamps – a symbol of the Holy Spirit, and candlesticks were instruments of light. Certainly, the two witnesses are Spirit-empowered and giving light in the darkness. This takes us back to Zechariah 4:2-3, 6, and 14.

Since they are standing before “The God of the earth…” they stand fearlessly. Verse five even tells us that if anyone could harm them, or even try, they have power to devour their enemies.

The powers they are given are from God. Elijah was one who prayed and shut up the heavens – it did not rain for three and one-half years. Moses is the one who turned the Egyptian waters to blood with the rod of God in his hand, and Egypt was smitten with plagues by his hand. Some have said these are Moses and Elijah. It would do us much good to remember that it was Moses and Elijah who appeared with Jesus on the Mount we call “Transfiguration” (Matthew 17:1-8).  Others have said Enoch (Genesis 5:21-24), and Elijah because these two never died, but were translated and would be in keeping with Hebrews 9:27. Jesus likened John the Baptist to Elijah (Matthew 17:11-13), but John Baptist said he was not Elijah (John 1:21). What did Jesus mean and what did John the Baptist mean? The same Spirit and fire of Elijah was on John, but he was not a physical “reincarnation” of Elijah. The same is true of these latter-day “Witnesses”. Our concern should not be on who they are, but upon the message, they preach. I see Hebrews 9:27 only stating the fact that death is a certain thing, except in rare circumstances. With the exception of a “Snatching away,” we will all certainly die.

The Sweet-Bitter

“And the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again, and said, Go and take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth. And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey. And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter. And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.”  Revelation 10:8-11 (KJV)

Now we get back to the “Little book” mentioned in verse 2. Its importance is noted in that it is mentioned in two different segments of this chapter. More attention is given it in the latter part of the chapter.

What the “Little book” is we cannot be certain. However, there are some very likely possibilities.

It is not the same book as mentioned in chapter 5. Notice this “Little book” is open; the book of chapter 5 is sealed and only the Lamb could open the seals. There is also no mention of the size of the first book. This one is clearly identified as a “Little book”.

John is commanded to “Take the little book”. No man could take the book of chapter 5.

There is, however, much room for disagreement on this “Little book”, and who this is who is holding it.

John takes the book from the angel. He is then commanded to eat the book. This is a similar experience to what Jeremiah and Ezekiel had.

“Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and Thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by Thy name, O LORD God of hosts.” Jeremiah 15:16 (KJV).

“But thou, son of man, hear what I say unto thee; Be not thou rebellious like that rebellious house: open thy mouth, and eat that I give thee. And when I looked, behold, an hand was sent unto me; and, lo, a roll of a book was therein; and He spread it before me; and it was written within and without: and there was written therein lamentations, and mourning, and woe.” Ezekiel 2:8-10 (KJV).

“Moreover He said unto me, Son of man, eat that thou findest; eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel. So I opened my mouth, and He caused me to eat that roll. And He said unto me, Son of man, cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee. Then did I eat it; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness. And He said unto me, Son of man, go, get thee unto the house of Israel, and speak with My words unto them.” Ezekiel 3:1-4 (KJV).

This book must be the written Word the Lord has given to us which we call the Bible. It is the message we are to take to those who know about God but are separated from Him, and to those who have never heard of Him.

Christian, the Word of God was given to us for spiritual food. We savor it, long for it like a woman in love with a man and the one she loves is away for a period of time, but he sends her letters. She cannot wait to read them. She reads them over and over to get every word and let those words penetrate her soul and feel him near her heart. The Bible is God’s love letter to His people. If you do not love His Word and “Eat it” you are not His lover.

John was warned that if he ate the book it would be bitter in his belly, but sweet as honey in his mouth. That is how the Word of God is to His people. To “Chew on it” is sweet, but when the Spirit of God begins to brood over us, the Word is swallowed, and is digesting our own sin is revealed to us, the tragedy of sin in others is seen, and just like Ezekiel we are sometimes angered by the bitterness but, “The hand of the LORD is strong upon me [us].” The effect the Word has on us is often bitter, but the outcome is for God’s glory.

John is then told to prophesy [preach] again to many people.

Some people have a problem with this revelation being prophetic and say it is history. “If it is prophetic..” they say, “what good is it for the Church?” It is prophetic for John. We see John as an apostle of the Church and representing the Church throughout the entire Revelation. So what John is told to do the Church is being told to do. That is until these things are fulfilled, the Church [you and I] are to preach the Word of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ. You and I are the messengers of the glory of Jesus Christ. This includes the message of warning of coming judgment upon the earth, and for people to prepare to meet God.

Prayers of the Saints Heard by the Great High Priest

“And when He had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets. And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand. And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake. And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.”  Revelation 8:1-6 (KJV)

The One who created all things, also still holds these things in His hand, to show forth wrath upon the “Inhabiters of the earth”; and the Priest who judges sin.

In the national life of Israel trumpets played an important role and had three important uses: 1) For calling the people together (Numbers 10:1-8); 2) For announcing war (Numbers 10:9); and 3) For announcing special times (Numbers 10:10).

And when He had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. Revelation 8:1 (KJV).

The final seal is opened. Notice the response of Heaven. Silence. This could be caused by awe because now the book is opened and the glories and power of God are revealed. All that was concealed is now revealed to all of Heaven for the first time.

Not a whisper, nary a sigh, but only silence. Sometimes the greatest reverence is given God by our silence. The Psalmist even wrote, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10a).

It is not told us why there is silence for one-half hour, but it does have to do with the seventh seal and the book [scroll]. There could be more than one reason, but I do believe the above reason is a biblical one. Other than that we just do not know.

It seems that the seven seals and the seven trumpets are interrelated. The seventh seal introduces the seven trumpets, and the seventh trumpet introduces the seven vials of wrath. These cannot be separated, then, because they all fit together. Each series of judgments seem to lead to a more severe wrath.

The seven angels are not named and it is not necessary to do so. They are given one trumpet each.

There is “another angel”, an eighth mentioned who seems to be a priestly angel. Some have equated this angel to being like the appearance of the pre-incarnate Christ – referred to in the Old Testament as the “Angel of the LORD”. It is not clear who this angel is. Jesus is the High Priest who atoned for our sin, and He is the One who will judge the world. Whoever he is he is fulfilling the work and ministry of a priest – unlike the work of any angel.  Since the Lamb is Christ Jesus and the One who opens the seals, I will believe this is just a completely different angel.

He stands at the brazen altar of judgment and sacrifice, with a golden censer [cup or bowl] for the incense which was given him. The incense is offered with the prayers of the saints [your prayers and mine, as well as the saints of the tribulation]. The incense is a symbol of prayer and worship.

In the Old Testament the high priest would kill the sacrifice at the brazen altar, collect the blood, and God received the offering by fire. The priest would take the golden bowl and take fire from the altar [which was never to go out Leviticus 6:12-13, and it was lit by God Leviticus 9:23-24], and enter the holy place with the blood, and with the fire, take the incense from the golden altar which was located outside the Holy of Holies [the presence of God], and he would enter the presence of God veiled in the smoke of the incense, pouring out the blood of the sacrifice at the throne of God – the presence of God. This made atonement for the people’s sins for one year.

Notice after the prayers and incense is offered to God the eighth angel takes fire in the golden censer, from the brazen altar of judgment, and casts it upon the earth.

Our prayers for deliverance; the prayers of the tribulation saints for deliverance and retribution, and for the glory of God to come will be done in God’s time. The “Imprecatory Psalms” (Psalms 7; 26; 35; 52; 55; and 58 are examples); these are not cries from selfish people, but cries for God to vindicate them according to His Word and grace.

It is amazing that God seems to store our prayers as a sweet fragrance to Him and will carry out their request in His time and according to His divine will. Have you grown weary and tired of prayer? Keep praying from a yielded and repentant, and broken heart. He hears you.

After the fire is taken from the altar and cast to the earth it causes great upheaval. Voices, thunderings, lightnings and an earthquake. It seems clear that the censer used for offering up worship and prayer is now used to hurl judgment and vengeance upon the earth.

Nothing is said about how the seven angels “Prepared themselves”. It could be a simple thing as raising the trumpets.

Let us as the saints of God raise our hearts and voices in prayer to God.  The time which we live is urgent.  Let us begin by repentance, seeking forgiveness of sin, and seeking revival of the Church.  The world is in grave need.  Let us be the Church; the Body of Christ. The Great High Priest who forgives our sin; also judges sin.

…With the Sword of My Mouth

“And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith He which hath the sharp sword with two edges; I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast My name, and hast not denied My faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth. 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, and to commit fornication. So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.”  Revelation 2:12-17 (KJV)

In this, we unveil Jesus Christ as One who hates compromise in His people, especially of doctrine and morality, and how He deals with it.

Pergamum was a city of compromise. There were many temples of worship there. From emperor worship, there was also Dionysus, Esculapius (the healing serpent god), and Zeus. These were worshipped as well as others. It was legal to worship anything you please as long as you bowed first to worship the Roman emperor. If you did not bow to the emperor, then, you most likely would die.

Writing of Esculapius, J. Vernon McGee wrote…

“Then the other outstanding temple was of the god Asklepios. Down from that great ancient world. It was the Mayo Clinic of that day. It was, first of all, a temple to Asklepios. If you are looking at the Greek god Asklepios, it is a man, but when you see the Anatolian or Oriental Asklepios, it is a serpent. There in Pergamum it was a serpent. I have pictures which I took of that great marble pillar which stands like an obelisk now but apparently was a pillar in the temple of Asklepios. The construction of the temple was unusual in that it was round. There they used every means of healing imaginable. They used both medicine and psychology – and about everything else.
Put yourself in this situation: you go down long tunnels, and above are holes that look like air holes for ventilation but are not. As you walk along these tunnels, sexy voices come down through the holes, saying to you, ‘You are going to get well. You are going to feel better. You are going to be healed.’ (Does that have a modern ring?) You go down to the hot baths where you are given a massage. There is a little theater there where they give plays of healing. If they haven’t healed you by now, as a last resort they put you in that temple at night and turn loose the nonpoisonous snakes which crawl over you. (That is known as the shock treatment in our day!) If they don’t heal you, they will drive you crazy, that’s for sure. They have a back door where they take out the dead. They don’t mention the ones they don’t heal; they speak only ot those who recover.” (From Thru The Bible pg. 908 by J. Vernon McGee).

Warren Wiersbe wrote of this also…

“The city aslso had a temple dedicated to Aesculapius, the god of healing, whose insignia was the entwined serpent on the staff.” (BE Commentary vol. 2, pg. 573).

In the church at Pergamus, some Christians died because they refused to pay homage to the emperor. Some people came in dressed in “Sheep’s clothing” saying it was the patriotic and dutiful thing to do. According to this teaching, it was okay to bow to another god as long as you continued to worship “god the emperor”. “It is okay to compromise to say your life. After all, how can you be a witness for Jesus when you are dead”.

This is the religious atmosphere the church was in. How tempting it must have been for them to compromise their faith. We will see Jesus hates the sin of compromise.

Jesus once again addresses this letter to the messenger of the local congregation at Pergamos (v. 12).

Jesus is identified here as in verse sixteen of chapter one, as “He which hath the sharp sword with two edges.”

The sword held a special place in Rome of which Pergamos was an active emperor worshipping city. The sword was a symbol of power and authority. Thus, by Jesus being identified this way says to the Christians in this city, “I am mightier than Rome”. Rome will fall. It did. He never will.

Once again we have Jesus’s “I know” statement in verse 13. He knows our works, our location, and our tribulations. He also knows our compromises.

Pergamos was a very pluralistic society, especially when it came to religion. Roman emperor worship being number one, the worship Esculapius, which was the serpent god of healing, Zeus, and Dionysus and others were all worshipped there.

The probable reference to “Satan’s seat” as “Satan’s throne” is to the worship of the Roman emperor. This city was probably one of the strongest advocates of emperor worship. All those other gods could be worshiped freely as long as they would bow and give allegiance to the emperor.

Jesus’s words of commendation are strong. Even though they lived in such a place they were holding fast to the name of Jesus. They were not denying the faith. Jesus then recognizes one martyr who was slain for his faithful testimony of Christ. There is not much said or known about Antipas. Tradition says he was broiled alive inside the carcass of a bull.

When there is such a multiplicity of religion with all bowing to the government: that is certainly the dwelling place of Satan.

There is a strong rebuke for them in verse fourteen. Jesus can use the “Sharp two-edged sword” to comfort and encourage. Now He is wielding it in order to warn.

The rebuke is against those who were teaching and following “The doctrine of Balaam”. Balaam was a prophet for profit – a prophet of compromise. He betrayed his calling for a price. In Numbers 22-25 we find the narrative of Balaam.

Balaam was asked by Balak, who was the king of Moab and he greatly feared Israel, to curse this nation of many people. He must have known of Balaam’s tendency. However, God would not let him do it. Remember God’s promise to Abraham, “Whosoever curseth you shall be cursed”.

The “Doctrine of Balaam” is a doctrine of compromise. Just blend into your environment. Go ahead and bow to the Roman emperor, save your life, and still worship Jesus. After all, is the worship of Jesus worth your life, your possessions, your reputation?

THE WAY OF BALAAM = Ministry for pay.
THE ERROR OF BALAAM = To think God would do the opposite of what He promised.
THE DOCTRINE OF BALAAM = Counseling others on how to curse God’s people.

Jesus knows that to compromise thus, is to kill the witness, to stop the work of the gospel. Compromise is one of Satan’s greatest threats to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Balaam could not curse Israel, but he found them capable of compromise. Numbers 31:16 says, “Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague (Numbers 25) among the congregation of the LORD”.

It seems Balaam played “Peacemaker” and Israel compromised the Word of God. Peace at any price is not the right way. It is the way of disobedience and death. The “Stumbling block” was intermarriage with the Midianites and Moabites. The “Stumbling block” for Pergamos was the same teaching; just go along, marry the lost, worship the emperor, even if it is not sincere, do it for the sake of preserving your life.

If you would note Numbers 25 you will see the devastation that came upon Israel because of their treachery of faith. Twenty four thousand Israelites died because of the sin of compromising the Law of God.

Those who have God’s law and keep it will always be at enmity with those who do not (John 14:21). If there is no friction, it is because there is no motion.

Once again we learn of a teaching which was growing and leaching in the early church (v. 15). The teaching of the Nicolaitans fits with the “Doctrine of Balaam”. They fit like a hand in a glove. Jesus says, in verse 6 and 15, this is that “Which I hate”. “Conquer the people” teaches the people to compromise their place as priests. The man appointed priests will pray for them. When they sin come to the priests, confess to them, and they will pray for your forgiveness. You go on and live, do not worry about your sin. Just confess on confession day.

This is the thing Jesus hates. A compromising church who leaves all the work of the ministry in the pastor’s hands. We the people of Jesus Christ are the priests of God. We are individually and daily responsible for confessing our own sins to God, not to a man, unless that man/woman is someone we have offended or sinned against, and it would be proper to do so. We are all responsible for obedience to the Word of God.

If Jesus hates these doctrines we should as well. This was a problem in this church. It was hated by the church of Ephesus, for which Jesus commended them. It is something every church and Christian individual must deal with, and if we come to any conclusion other than that of Jesus, we oppose Him and choose our own way.

Jesus calls for this church’s repentance (v. 16). Remember repentance is a change of mind, change of direction, a 180 degree turn.

Jesus wants His Church to view compromise and all sin as He does. To repent is to come to full agreement with Him concerning compromise and all that He has declared to be sin.
Repentance and faith are the ingredients of salvation. Repentance is also the need of Pergamos’ church and of the Church today. If there is no repentance, He says, “I will come quickly”. This has nothing to do with His second coming. If the church refuses His word as the means of detecting evil, false doctrines, and compromise; His own Word will be used to “Fight against them”. The Word of Christ not only convicts and comforts it also condemns when He is not obeyed. “The sword of My mouth” can only have reference to the Word of God. Hebrews 4:12, “The word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword…”. Ephesians 6:17, “And take… the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God”.

Our Lord seems to make a distinction between a remnant of faithful, and those who are the compromisers. His words, “Will fight against them” indicates that if this problem of compromise is not dealt with in a quick and decisive manner, then those, the “Them(s)” will be cut by the cutting edges of the “Two-edged sword”. He will take this sword of His Word and cut away all that is unseemly, sinful and compromising, and He will come surely and quickly and do it. A-MEN.

The final verse of this letter is once again addressed to the individual.

We have to remember everyone who has their names on the role of the local church is not an “Overcomer”. The “Overcomer”, Jesus promises they will eat of the “Hidden manna”. There was a bowl of manna hidden within the “Ark of the Covenant”. This manna is revealed in the person of Jesus who is the true manna from Heaven (John 6:31-33). The “Hidden manna” can only be eaten by those for whom the “Holy Ark” is opened through the shed blood, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The only way into the presence of God (which the Ark of the Covenant represents) is through the blood of Jesus.

It is not certain what the “White stone” represents. It is possible it was one of the twelve stones worn by the Levitical priests on their robes. It is also possible it represents a symbol of security.
Your name written in God’s stone is certainly surer than written on a local church’s membership role. The question could be asked, “Is your name written on the Rock, or is it written on a roll?” God’s Ten Commandments were written in stone. They abide forever. Maybe, that is true of the ones who receive a “New name written in stone”. Jesus the One cutting the edges.

In conclusion,

Pergamos had one thing going for it. It had some who had been faithful to Christ, even in the face of death. They dared not to compromise.

Fear has a way of causing compromise, and when a smooth talking, charismatic personality comes along saying, “A compromise is alright. You do not have to give up your beliefs. Just go along. It will keep you alive.” That, when coupled with the fear, makes it all sound pretty good.

However, Jesus says He hates it. Compromise destroys our fellowship with God and Jesus. It ruins our witness, and it robs us of our peace with God.

There is great blessing for the “Overcomer”. He gets to “Partake of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4) of Jesus and live eternally. They also have a “New name” written in stone. One thing is for sure Jesus, the One who is the cutting edges of that two-edged sword will do what is necessary to make His people holy.

Praying For Others

“Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him. And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison. And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands. And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me. And he went out, and followed him; and wist not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision.” Acts 12:5-9 (KJV)

Prayer, in the early Church was not a means for changing the will of God, but the means of getting into the will of God, and doing it.  God works and moves when His people pray.

Puritan Preacher Thomas Watson is quoted

“The angel fetched Peter out of prison, but it was prayer that fetched the angel.”

Peter’s life lay in the balance; yet he lay peacefully in prison, lying in chains, and bound to a prison guard.  He had confidence in the Lord God, and peacefully slept while God was at work delivering him from a cold dark, damp and dank prison. Yet, he slept so soundly the angel needed to smite him on the side to awaken him, and it seems “Raised him up”.

There is no place the child of God can get where God is not there.  God was in prison with Peter that day.  Why was Peter in prison? For preaching Jesus and Him crucified, buried and resurrected fulfilling the will of God for His life.

Peter was being an obedient servant of the Spirit of God.  We must learn to be praying for all those who do the will of God; and pray that we be doing the will of God, and glorifying His name.

Warren Wiersbe has written

“God works when churches pray, and Satan still trembles when he sees the weakest saint upon his knees.”

Peter was delivered from prison.  When the Church prays, when we who love the Lord Jesus Christ prays, heaven pays attention, people’s lives change, things change, and God is glorified.

 

Jesus in Genesis (5)

“…For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Revelation 19:10c)

We are going to look at a picture of Jesus in Genesis 22 in this study. It is surely one of the clearest pictures of Jesus, the crucifixion, and resurrection that you will ever find in all of the Old Testament.

First of all I want you to put from your mind the old Sunday School picture of Isaac being a small child as he and his father, Abraham went on this journey of sacrifice. It is highly, more probable, that he is a man in his thirties. I will explain that a little later. Now, how do we see the Lord Jesus in the text of Genesis 22.

The command from God to Abraham is,

“Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering up one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” (v.2).

God the Father offered up His only Son for the sacrifice for sin upon the cross of Calvary. Which is said to be the very place where Abraham came to offer Isaac. It was a planned place, “which I will tell thee of”. Abraham rose without question, “early in the morning” maybe to avoid the questions of Sarah, but he went in faith. If you will notice how many times it is stated rather emphatically that it was a “certain place” (vv. 2,3,4,&9).

After Abraham had gathered all the necessary items, his son, a couple of servants, the wood, and the fire they journeyed for three days (v. 4) and “saw the place afar off.” In the heart and mind of Abraham, Isaac had been three days dead. He had been committed to obey God believing according to the eleventh chapter of Hebrews that God was able to raise Isaac from death (Hebrews 11:17-19). From this point on Abraham and Isaac proceed up to the mountain top alone. What is about to transpire can only happen between the father and the son. What happened on Calvary between the Father and Son was such a transaction that no one will ever be able to describe. Three hours of darkness. Matthew, Mark, and Luke tell us about the event.SEE Matthew 27:45-46; Mark15:33-34; and Luke 23:44-45.

If you will, now, notice the wood that Abraham, “…laid it upon Isaac his son…” Notice also who took “the fire” and “a knife”. By whose hand was this judgment to fall? The father. See Isaiah 53:4-5ff.

Now, back to something I mentioned earlier. Isaac would have been a grown man, not a child as is often pictured in many Sunday School quarterlies. He could have been 37 years of age. I base that on Sarah’s age at the time of her death (Genesis 23:1) 127, and age of Isaac at the time of his marriage to Rebekkah – 40 (Genesis 25:20; also see 24:67). The reason I mention this is because as a grown man he would have been able to overthrow his father, and not be the sacrifice, but Isaac went as a willing participant in the offering. He was submissive to his father’s will. 1) He took the wood (v. 6); 2) He walked up the hill carrying the wood (v.9); 3) He allowed his hands and feet to be bound (v. 9). Does that sound familiar?

Isaac’s typology of Christ ends here at the altar. He was an unworthy sacrifice for sin. Isaac himself needed a substitute, and that would be the ram. At the point where the “angel of the LORD” stops the hand of Abraham from slaying Isaac, in the heart and mind of Abraham Isaac is alive again. He has been resurrected and lives. Three days dead, now living. On the way, alone with his father, Isaac had asked, “…Where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”, and Abraham responded, “My son, God will provide Himself a lamb for a burnt offering… (vv. 7-8). God has provided HIMSELF as a sacrifice for sin in the person of His own only Son.

I do not think it to be an accident that it says, “…and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns…” In Scripture horns represent power and authority. The ram was held by his own power. Christ “…Stedfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem…” (Luke 9:51).

May they who have a heart for seeing Jesus see Him clearly here. If you cannot see Him here you will miss Him elsewhere.

Day Two Hundred Ninety and Eight

What do I want for Christmas?

Since the last Sunday of March is the annual day of celebrating Easter or Resurrection Day; I want every Christian, and all people to realize that we celebrate His resurrection every Sunday, every Lord’s Day, and that it has been said, “Easter is the exclamation point to ‘Merry Christmas'”.

“Jesus is risen.  He is risen indeed.”

“But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.”” Matthew 28:5-7 (NKJV)

God Does Not Lie

“He said unto him, I am a prophet also as thou art; and an angel spake unto me by the word of the LORD, saying, Bring him back with thee into thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water. But he lied unto him.” 1 Kings 13:18 (KJV)

The North and South has divided into two kingdoms. Judah is ruled by Rehoboam, a son of Solomon. Jeroboam rules the northern kingdom called Israel; and has led Israel into idolatry, even to the worship of calves set up in Bethel and Dan.

There are two unnamed prophets in this text. One has come with the word of God to Jeroboam of his fall, and as a sign the altar was torn, and the ashes on it spilled onto the ground, just as the man of God had said.

The man of God had been given a direct commandment from God to turn and go home without eating or drinking, and to go home a different way than that which he came.

The prophet of our verse above had heard of the prophet from his sons who were present at the altar when it was torn, and went to him with a lie.

As I read this today I was reminded of the apostle Paul’s words to the Galations,

“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” Galations 1:6-9

One way to discern what is from God; He never changes His word. God’s Word is stable, steadfast, and sure.  Men lie. God does not.

Expectantly Looking for God

Ephraim feedeth on wind, and followeth after the east wind: he daily increaseth lies and desolation; and they do make a covenant with the Assyrians, and oil is carried into Egypt.  The LORD hath also a controversy with Judah, and will punish Jacob according to his ways; according to his doings will he recompense him.  He took his brother by the heel in the womb, and by his strength he had power with God: yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed: he wept, and made supplication unto Him: he found Him in Bethel, and there He spake with us; even the LORD God of hosts; the LORD is His memorial.  Therefore turn thou to thy God: keep mercy and judgment, and wait on thy God continually.”  Hosea 12:1-6 (KJV)

Here are the words of the prophet who is telling the nation of Israel/Ephraim to trust, to expectantly wait for the Lord.  They were to do that by keeping mercy and right judgment.  “Wait on thy God continually” is to expect the coming of the Lord; to trust that He was coming.

For the Christian who is following Jesus today; that message is one we must heed as well.  Jesus told the disciples and us; “Occupy until I come” (Luke 19:13).  Though He says this in a parable, it is still a powerful command to His people.  The command means to be busy living for Christ, as we carry on our daily duties, our labors, and our recreations.  Do so, however, with expectancy of the soon return of the King of kings.  He is coming.

-T.A.

Caught Unaware???

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. 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.  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.  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.'”  Revelation 3:1-6 (KJV)

If you would like you may click on this link and read GIVER OF THE SPIRIT.

-T.A.

Power Over Nations

And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; ‘These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and His feet are like fine brass; I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first. 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, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am He which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works. But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden. But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. And he that overcometh, and keepeth My works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of My Father. And I will give him the morning star. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” Revelation 2:18-29 (KJV)

For further study and reading follow this link.

-T.A.

The Rich One’s

And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; ‘These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;  I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.  Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.  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.”  Revelation 2:8-11 (KJV)

For further reading and study you may want to read THE RESURRECTED ONE

-T.A.

Day 75 – Loving The Lord Unto Life

We have heard it said, “I will love the Lord, even unto death”; Peter said something similar to that; even as the Lord told him “You will deny Me three times”.

My reading this morning was in Acts 6 through chapter 15.  These events give us some details of the work of the Holy Spirit at work in people’s lives.  Even the life of a young Pharisee who was intent on killing those Christians has his life dramatically changed when he meets Jesus Christ as he is on his way to Damascus to capture, chain and return to Jerusalem with them for trial and death (Acts 9).

Stephen was one of the men who were chosen in chapter six by the church to be a servant, feeding the Greek widows among them.  Stephen was also an evangelist proclaiming the word of God, the gospel of Jesus Christ and showed his love for the Lord even unto life.

Hear what Luke writes in his accounts of the work of the Spirit of God –

“And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.  Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen.  And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake.  Then they suborned men, which said, ‘We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God.’  And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him, and caught him, and brought him to the council, and set up false witnesses, which said, ‘This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law: for we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us.’   And all that sat in the council, looking stedfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel.”  Acts 6:8-15 (KJV)

Stephen was full of faith and power, by the Holy Spirit.  He stood strong for the gospel even though it could mean the loss of life for him.  His love for Jesus Christ and the gospel was stronger than his love for this world, and the life he now had.  He stands in chapter seven with conviction and proclaims the word of God from the Old Testament; and they fall under conviction.

Do we know what “conviction” is today?  The conviction I speak of is where you feel some guilt for your sin; and shame for your behavior; there is repentance; and you are drawn to see that Jesus is the Christ the Son of the living God; and that through Him alone there is forgiveness, peace and eternal life.  Sometimes this conviction, with those who hate God, will cause them to do cruel, evil and vile things; in rebellion against God and His children.  Just as it happened with Stephen.

Luke records the sermon Stephen preached, and records these final words,

“Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.”  Acts 7:51-53

This was the final straw for this rebellious crowd.  They were “cut to the heart” then they ran upon him, and Stephen saw  “Jesus standing on the right hand of God” (v. 56).  In the home going of Stephen we can see traits of the Lord Jesus in him.  As he is being stoned by the mob he says, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit” (v. 59).  Then as he breathes his final breath on earth Stephen cries out with a loud voice, “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge” (v. 60).

There is another who loved not their life unto death, and that was that young Pharisee; who has now become a Christian, preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.  His name was Saul and he was from Tarsus.  His name became Paul and he has written 14 of the New Testament Epistles.

In a place called Lycaonia Paul and Barnabas were believed to be gods, because they had healed a crippled man, but Paul and Barnabas rejected the worship and tried to convince them they were not gods, but only men.  When some Jews came from Antioch they stoned Paul, dragged him out of the city, believing him to be dead;

“And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead.  Howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city: and the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.”  Acts 14:19-20

The apostle Paul did not quit; nor did he soften the gospel message.  He got up from where they left him, went back into the city, shook the dust off his feet (Matthew 10:14;  Mark 6:11;  Luke 9:5), and went on preaching the gospel; loving the Lord unto life.

Let the Christians of our day Love the Lord unto Life.  Eternal life.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Stone Rolled Away – Mark 16:1-8

And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint Him. 2 And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. 3 And they said among themselves, ‘Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?’ 4 And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great. 5 And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted. 6 And he saith unto them, ‘Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: He is risen; He is not here: behold the place where they laid Him. 7 But go your way, tell His disciples and Peter that He goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see Him, as He said unto you.’ 8 And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid.”  Mark 16:1-8 (KJV)

Three ladies, Mary Magdalene, Mary mother of James, and Salome come to the tomb where Jesus was laid.  Remember, they had witnessed where Joseph of Arimethea had buried Him (15:47).  There is no mistaken.  They went to the right tomb.  It was very early in the morning, the day after the Sabbath [Saturday], and so it was early Sunday morning the “First day of the week”.

These ladies had a very committed love, respect and awe for Jesus.  They, too had forgotten His words of resurrection.  The eleven apostles had forgotten and were discouraged, doubting, disabled, and in hiding.  For three days now, since the crucifixion, they had been without Jesus.

The “First day of the week” these three women have bought spices to anoint the body of Jesus.  The “First day of the week” they came to the tomb where they had witnessed Joseph lay His body.  They came with a question.  “How will we roll the stone from the door?  Will the guards roll it away for us?”  The stone had not only been rolled over the door, but it had also been sealed with the Roman seal (Matthew 27:66), so it is highly unlikely that Roman guards would have touched it.

Upon arrival at the tomb, they found the stone had already been rolled away, and that they could enter freely.  Upon entering the tomb, they see a “Young man” sitting there in the empty tomb.  They are “affrighted” which means, “G1568 ἐκθαμβέω  ekthambeō  ek-tham-beh’-o  From G1569; to astonish utterly: – affright, greatly (sore) amaze.”  This word means more than afraid, but rather, also “Amazed – utterly amazed”.   This was an angel, who Mark describes as a “Young man”.  He was probably youthful in appearance, but in reality he was an angel – a messenger of God.  His message to the ladies was for them to go and tell the disciples ‘and Peter’ that He had risen.

There is a particular message here for Peter.  Though, Peter was a disciple of Jesus he had denied the Lord during the trial, and was most likely feeling that the Lord would have nothing further to do with him.  This would have been an encouraging word for Peter, to let him know the Lord Jesus had not forgotten him, and that there was a place for him.  It is also an encouraging word for all Christians who, at one time or another have failed to be the Christians that we should be, that God is not finished with us and that, He still has a place for us.

When the ladies had heard the messengers words they left quickly with fear and trembling, and it says they told no one of what they had seen and heard.  Of course they went and told the disciples.

On this Resurrection weekend, remembering the day our Lord was raised from death; let’s commit anew to sharing with all whom God gives us opportunity that Jesus is risen; He is risen indeed.

-Tim A. Blankenship

LOOKING FOR JESUS – GENESIS (5)

“…For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Revelation 19:10c)

We are going to look at a picture of Jesus in Genesis 22 in this study. It is surely one of the clearest pictures of Jesus, the crucifixion, and resurrection that you will ever find in all of the Old Testament.

First of all I want you to put from your mind the old Sunday School picture of Isaac being a small child as he and his father, Abraham went on this journey of sacrifice. It is highly, more probable, that he is a man in his thirties. I will explain that a little later. Now, how do we see the Lord Jesus in the text of Genesis 22.

The command from God to Abraham is, “Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering up one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” (v.2). God the Father offered up His only Son for the sacrifice for sin upon the cross of Calvary. Which is said to be the very place where Abraham came to offer Isaac. It was a planned place, “which I will tell thee of”. Abraham rose without question, “early in the morning” maybe to avoid the questions of Sarah, but he went in faith. If you will notice how many times it is stated rather emphatically that it was a “certain place” (vv. 2,3,4,&9).

After Abraham had gathered all the necessary items, his son, a couple of servants, the wood, and the fire they journeyed for three days (v. 4) and “saw the place afar off.” In the heart and mind of Abraham, Isaac had been three days dead. He had been committed to obey God believing according to the eleventh chapter of Hebrews that God was able to raise Isaac from death (Hebrews 11:17-19). From this point on Abraham and Isaac proceed up to the mountain top alone. What is about to transpire can only happen between the father and the son. What happened on Calvary between the Father and Son was such a transaction that no one will ever be able to describe. Three hours of darkness. Matthew, Mark, and Luke tell us about the event.SEE Matthew 27:45-46; Mark15:33-34; and Luke 23:44-45.

If you will, now, notice the wood that Abraham, “…laid it upon Isaac his son…” Notice also who took “the fire” and “a knife”. By whose hand was this judgment to fall? The father. See Isaiah 53:4-5ff.

Now, back to something I mentioned earlier. Isaac would have been a grown man, not a child as is often pictured in many Sunday School quarterlies. He could have been 37 years of age. I base that on Sarah’s age at the time of her death (Genesis 23:1) 127, and age of Isaac at the time of his marriage to Rebekkah – 40 (Genesis 25:20; also see 24:67). The reason I mention this is because as a grown man he would have been able to overthrow his father, and not be the sacrifice, but Isaac went as a willing participant in the offering. He was submissive to his father’s will. 1) He took the wood (v. 6); 2) He walked up the hill carrying the wood (v.9); 3) He allowed his hands and feet to be bound (v. 9). Does that sound familiar?

Isaac’s typology of Christ ends here at the altar. He was an unworthy sacrifice for sin. Isaac himself needed a substitute, and that would be the ram. At the point where the “angel of the LORD” stops the hand of Abraham from slaying Isaac, in the heart and mind of Abraham Isaac is alive again. He has been resurrected and lives. Three days dead, now living. On the was, alone with his father, Isaac had asked, “…Where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”, and Abraham responded, “My son, God will provide Himself a lamb for a burnt offering… (vv. 7-8). God has provided HIMSELF as a sacrifice for sin in the person of His own only Son.

I do not think it to be an accident that it says, “…and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns…” In Scripture horns represent power and authority. The ram was held by his own power. Christ “…Stedfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem…” (Luke 9:51).

May they who have a heart for seeing Jesus see Him clearly here. If you cannot see Him here you will miss Him elsewhere.

THE JUDGMENT OF THE SON OF MAN

THE JUDGMENT OF THE SON OF MAN

Revelation 14:1-20

By the promises of God’s Word, Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, shall bring an end to sin and He will reign on the earth, and in the hearts of men.

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. 2 And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: 3 And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. 4 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. 5 And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God. 14:1-5 (KJV).

To begin with I want to point out the seven divisions within chapter fourteen;
1. One hundred and forty four thousand sealed ones on Mount Zion (vv. 1-5);
2. God’s closing testimony to earth: “The everlasting Gospel” (vv. 6-7);
3. The angelic announcement of Babylon’s fall (v. 8);
4. The doom of the worshippers of the beast (vv. 9-11);
5. The second beatitude of the Revelation deals with those who die in the Lord (vv. 12-14): ALSO SEE “THE HAPPY DEAD” WHICH WILL FOLLOW THIS STUDY;
6. The harvest of the earth is reaped (vv. 14-16);
7. The fulness of God’s wrath and vengeance poured out (vv. 17-20).

In these verses we find that the sealed 144,000 Hebrew witnesses have been protected throughout the final half of the seventieth week of Daniel. We see them standing on Mount Zion with the Lamb at His coming, at the end of the tribulation period. NOTE: Some very well known Bible teachers place this scene in Heaven.

These 144,000 are the same as those mentioned in chapter seven. These will aid Christ [not that He would need any] in setting up His millenial reign on earth.

The NIV, NAS, and the Amplified Bible read “…having His name and the name of His Father written in their foreheads” (v. 1). This does not imply it is a different group, but it does clarify and give more detail of whose seal it is – the Father’s and the Son’s.

There is music in Heaven. God surrounds Himself with heavenly sounds ringing out praises to Him. The 144,000 were given a “New song” no one else could sing. A song of deliverance and praise to God. In chapter 5:9 the “Living creatures”, and the twenty four elders sing a “New song”. There are several times in the Bibles hymnal [Psalms] where the Psalmist mentions singing a “New song” (Psalms 33:3; 40:3; 96:1; 98:1; 144:9; 149:1). It is a given fact that man is to praise the Lord in “New song”. The idea of a “New song” requires a changed heart and life. Certainly these remnant of Israel are changed.

Just as God led Israel out of Egypt and protected them in the wilderness for forty years He also protects and provides for this remnant, even to keeping them alive for their appointed position on earth. Only the redeemed can sin a “New song”, and theirs is one only they can sing. They could be singing the Song of Moses (EX. 15) from a whole new perspective.

These are pure before God. They have not committed immoral acts against God. They are free from spiritual and physical fornication and adultery. They follow the Lamb. They are pure, even as He is pure (v. 5). That is what it means to follow the Lamb. O, that the Church today would “Follow the Lamb”. These are “Redeemed from among men” clarifies verse three “Were redeemed from the earth”. They did not indulge in the harlotries of idolatry and worship of the beast. They stood as an open testimony to God’s goodness, grace and power to save.

“…First fruits…” to some may cause confusion by causing them to think this is referring to all the redeemed. It could be referring to their position in the earthly kingdom of Christ. It could also tie in with Revelaiton 20:5 where it reads, “This is the first resurrection”. Where the time of the resurrection of all who are in Christ is ended. The “First” implying a second resurrection which will follow.

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, 7 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. vv. 6-7 (KJV).

There could be as many as seven angels mentioned from verse six through verse twenty. There are certainly six. Why six? Remember six is the number of man. Angels throughout Scripture and time have been servants and messengers to man as well as his protectors. For example see Genesis 18 and 2 Kings 6:8-23. If verse thirteen’s “Voice” is from an angel that would be the seventh, however, we cannot reasonably conclude the “Voice” to be angelic, but rather the voice of the Spirit of God.

God is merciful. This is His closing act of mercy, lest there be some who will hear. The “Everlasting Gospel” is: 1) Fear God; 2) Give glory to Him; 3) The hour of judgment is come; 4) Worship your Creator.
This isn’t really an opportunity for those of earth to repent as it is assurance to those of God that He will have His way.

And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. v. 8 (KJV).

Babylon is practically a synonym for wickedness and all sorts of evil. Babylon, in our text can refer to three or four different earth agencies: 1) An actual city; 2) Political power and intrigue; 3) Economic power and banking; and/or 4) Religious power – one world religion.

We know from the study of history that the actual city of Babylon has already fallen, although, there were reports when Saddam Hussein was ruling Iraq, that he was rebuilding it. The other three we can see though, and greatly increasing. The Babylon of mankind’s politics will crumble to nothingness, the economy of the world banking conglomerates will crash, and the world’s religion will only add fuel to Hell’s fires. Just as surely as John sees it proclaimed, everything that man builds to exalt himself over God will crumble. It is as good as done. It is written – So it shall be. “Forever, O LORD, Thy Word is settled in heaven” (Psalm 119:89).

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, 10 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: 11 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. vv. 9-11 (KJV).

This third angel spells out clearly the doom that the worshippers of the beast will face. Their doom is not of short duration. It is for ever and ever, everlasting.

The Bible mentions nothing of the soul’s annihilation, but it does of eternal souls. If the soul of man could be annihilated why does hell’s fires burn forever? Why doesn’t God put them out after the souls are all burned up?
We as Christians need to believe what God says in His Word about hell, just as surely as we believe about salvation and eternity in Heaven. Some say that in the Scriptures Jesus mentions hell more than He does Heaven. Hell is a place to miss, not to flee into. Every lost soul is living in condemnation on the road to hell, and some of them would repent and believe if only someone told them of Jesus.

When it comes right down to it all those who reject Christ are worshippers of the beast. We can do nothing for those who reject Jesus, but we must tell them and let Jesus and the Holy Spirit do the saving.

Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. 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. vv. 12-13 (KJV).

The “Patience of the saints” is that they who trust Christ during this darkest hour will be delivered. Just as surely as the worshippers of the beast suffer forever and ever, they who “Follow the Lamb” (v. 4) shall enjoy eternal bliss. They are the ones who “Keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus”. The keeping of the commandments does not save, but they are saved to keep the commandments [to obey them] (Eph. 2:10).

Verse thirteen provides the second “Beatitude” of the Revelation. “Blessed” meaning happy. This encouraging word is to those who are in tribulation and their lives are in danger. To serve the Lord in the darkest hour of human history will cost the lives of many, but God would have us know that all they who go through the great tribulation, keeping the commandments by faith in Jesus, if they should “die in the Lord”, they are “Blessed”.
What benefits are there for them who “die in the Lord”?

1. God’s promise of happiness;
2. They rest from their trials and labor;
3. Their works stand as a testimony of their faith.

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. 15 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. 16 And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped. vv. 14-16 (KJV).

If you were to read Acts 1:9-11 you would find how Jesus ascended up from this earth; “A cloud received Him out of their sight”. Verse eleven ends by saying, “…This same Jesus… shall so come in like manner…”

The “Sickle” – In verse 14 Jesus holds judgment in His hands. This verse refers to Him as “Like unto the Son of Man” – this was a title Jesus used to refer to Himself. The “Golden crown” on His head should leave no doubt in our minds that this is Jesus.

In verse 15 we have the fourth angel. He comes out of the temple (heavenly) and speaks unto the “Son of man” the judge of men. He is worthy to judge men.
The ripe harvest has to do with overripeness – drying, rotting, decaying fruit. The time of judgment upon the wickedness of the world.

When Jesus comes for the Church He will come “With a shout, the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God” (1 Thes. 4:16), not with a sickle.
Here Jesus comes with a sickle of judgment and wrath upon the tares of the field [world] (Matthew 13:40-43).

And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. 18 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. 19 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. 20 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. vv. 17-20 (KJV).

In verse 17 we find the fifth angel and in verse 18 the sixth angel of chapter fourteen.
These verses certainly deal with the fulness of God’s wrath. The men of earth are likened to overripe grapes cast into a winepress under the feet of the husbandman [owner]. This event is given in fuller detail in 19:11-21.

Be saved by the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ, or your blood will be on Him in judgment and wrath. Get ready to meet Jesus as Savior, or you will certainly meet at THE JUDGMENT OF THE SON OF MAN.