Unique Saving Faith

This began our study of Romans chapter four.  We covered the first four verses.

Unique – Saving Faith

The Outline is for Romans 4:1-25

OUTLINE –

I. AN EXAMPLE OF A UNIQUE SAVING FAITH (vv. 1-4).
II. THE BLESSEDNESS OF A CREDITED ACCOUNT (vv. 5-8).
III. THE CREDITED ACCOUNT IS NOT DUE TO WHAT WE HAVE INVESTED OR PUT TO THE ACCOUNT (vv. 9-12).
IV. THIS RECKONING OF JUSTIFICATION IS GOOD FOR ALL THROUGH FAITH ALONE (vv. 13-17).
V. IT IS THE RECKONING OF GOD HIMSELF; NO HUMAN WORKS ARE CALLED FOR (vv. 18-25).

It was, and probably still is, a popular belief among Jews of Paul’s day and Jews and non-Jews of our day to believe that Abraham was declared righteous by God due to his obedience. Paul puts the record straight.

How were people of the Old Testament saved? Was it by complete obedience to God’s law? Was it by the sacrifice of bulls, goats, lambs, etc.? What do the Scriptures say?

“By the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight” (Romans 3:20).

“Abraham believed God…” (Gen. 15:6; Rom. 4:3; Gal. 3:6-9).

No one has ever been saved by keeping the law, no one will ever be saved by keeping the law. To see that it is by faith in God alone that saves, God gives us ample Scriptures to prove it. For example Psalm 32:1-2; and Hebrews 11.

Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, Rahab, Ruth, Esther, David, Solomon, etc. are all evidences of justification by grace through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ. They believing what would be; we believing what has been and shall be.

There are three words in this study which stand out as a theme. The first word is ‘Reckoned’ found in verses 4, 9, and 10. The second word is ‘Impute’, is used six times, in verses 6, 8, 11, 22, 23, and 24. The third word is ‘counted’, it is used only twice. They all come from the same Greek word logizomai – log-id’-zom-ahee – of these words are terms for accounting. God’s declaring us righteous, and justified.

AN EXAMPLE OF THE UNIQUE SAVING FAITH (vv. 1-4).

Salvation by grace through faith is unique – one of a kind. There is nothing like it in religion. Grace is not possible by work. If it is not by faith it is not grace.

Since many of the Jews believed that Abraham was justified by works Paul realized that this fallacy needed correction. If Abraham was justified (declared righteous by God) by his works he would then have a reason to boast. His boasting, of course, would have to be before men. He would not glory before God. God’s glory is a glory of its own. Man’s glory cannot match the glory of God.

God delights in those who believe in Him. Those who realize they are weak and helpless to save themselves. Those who have no one else in which to turn, but Him. Those whose hearts are broken and shattered because they realize there is no other hope by Him. Those who have reached the bottom of the bottom, the lowest low. These realize then, God is my hope, my strength, song, salvation, my very source of peace, life and joy.

“A broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise” (Ps. 51:17).

When God called Abraham to leave his native land he obeyed, and left. Now understand, Abraham was at that time what the Jews would call a Gentile – there were no Jews. In his culture they worshiped idols, and were despicable in their behavior. Somehow in the midst of all this darkness God shined brightly His light into the life of Abraham, he saw, he heard, and he left this land of despicable sin and shame – the Ur of the Chaldees (Gen. 11:31). He even came out with his father Terah, his nephew Lot, and his wife Sarah as well as others who are unnamed.

If you heard God speak for the first time would you get up and leave your home, friends, ownership of your land, business, etc. to obey God? Many will not do that whose lives they say belong to Him. Abraham did. How did he do it? He believed God, then he put one foot in front of the other; over and over again. Faith is the end of any attempt to gain God’s favor on any personal merit. If you could gain God’s favor by personal merit it would be by works not grace, therefore, if the works ceased, so too would the favor of God.

When a man or woman takes on a job (work) he/she expects to be paid. The employer is indebted to the employee until the employee receives his/her wages. In like fashion if we worked for our salvation God would be indebted to us until the debt was paid. God is indebted to no one. He did not, nor does not even owe us the possibility of salvation. In His grace He paid our sin debt, and then, when we believe He declares us righteous. What wonderful grace.

“Wonderful grace of Jesus; greater than all my sin. How can my tongue describe it? Where shall my praise begin?”

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Issue of Anger

Shiloah Baptist Church

Reading today from 1 Samuel 11 – 13…

“And the Spirit of God came upon Saul when he heard those tidings, and his anger was kindled greatly.” 1 Samuel 11:6 (KJB)

The person who is never angry never truly loves.  I can just about hear some readers here saying, “Wait just one minute.” In a tone of anger probably.

Reading the text from Scripture above caused me to think about anger.  I have heard some say that anger is bad.  I certainly cannot agree with that statement because God is angry with evil everyday (Psalm 7:11); Jesus was angry at least twice at the temple – the first time early in His ministry (John 2:14) and the second time, possibly in His final week before He was crucified (Matthew 21:12).

I heard a pastor a few years ago say, “You can tell the character of a man by what makes…

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A Bold Request

Judge me, O LORD; for I have walked in my integrity: I have trusted also in the LORD; therefore I shall not slide. Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.”  Psalm 26:1-2 (KJB)

It is a bold request indeed to ask God first “Judge me”, then to request, “Examine me…”  It is a needed thing to do that.  Do I do that?  I have.  Even to pray, “Lord, whatever it takes to make me like Jesus; do it.”  That is a bold request which will definitely put you to a test.

It is GOD who knows us best, yet He loves us most, and desires to work in our lives to accomplish His will and purposes to bring us to Himself, and His glory.  He also will use us to bring others to Himself, and do the same in them.

The apostle Paul has written by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit…

“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?”  2 Corinthians 13:5

The LORD will do in our lives whatever it takes to get us where He wants us to be.  Be prepared.  Draw near to God.

Ask Life, and GOD Gives It

The king shall joy in Your strength, O LORD; and in Your salvation how greatly shall he rejoice! You have given him his heart’s desire, and have not withheld the request of his lips. Selah. For You meet him with the blessings of goodness: You set a crown of pure gold on his head. He asked life of You, and You gave it him, even length of days for ever and ever. His glory is great in Your salvation: honor and majesty have You laid upon him. For You have made him most blessed for ever: You have made him exceeding glad with Your countenance.”  Psalm 21:1-6 (KJV)

King David was speaking of much more than what he had requested.  He was speaking of the future King of Israel, King of the world who would receive all that He requested because He had died to redeem His bride unto Himself.

On that word “Selah” I want you to remember that I look at that word and pause, think about what was just read, what it says, and reflect on it.  Now thinking on that second verse for a bit: did David get all those things?  Did he get all that his heart desired?  I really do doubt it.  He was joyous in knowing the LORD and resting in Him.  It would seem to me that it is directly related to the coming King, the Messiah of Israel, and Savior of the world.

He asked life and was raised from the dead.  He asked for long life, and will live eternally, even for ever and ever.  He is glorified in the salvation GOD has provided through His death, burial, and resurrection.

This Psalm is a song of David thanking and praising the LORD for His answer to his prayers; that they are exceedingly abundant over what he could ask or think (Ephesians 3:20).

Ask Life, and GOD Gives It.  He gives life through faith in His Son Jesus.  Will you ask?

The Shout of Creation

“Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night shows knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them has He set a tabernacle for the sun, which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoices as a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.” Psalm 19:2-6 (KJV)

The declaration of creation is that God is. There are those who look at the order of this ordered creation and somehow, though very illogically, proclaim that “It just happened”.  Really?

Would you say that your new car was formed when a tornado tragically went through a salvage yard, or even a steel mill, and suddenly that car landed there fully formed.  Now, that is just plain illogical; if not just plumb dumb.

Creation shouts of the glory of God.  The size of the universe is beyond my comprehension.  Yet we have scientists who are trying to figure out just how large it is.  All they have is a wild guess.  No matter how big the universe; God is bigger.  He created it.  He spoke the world, and the stars, the planets, and any other solar system which exist, into existence (Psalm 33:6).

The apostle Paul clearly proclaims…

For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.  Romans 1:20

“They that are without excuse” are those who cannot hear the shout of creation telling loudly and clearly that God is.  The creation is even groaning waiting for the deliverance from corruption (Romans 8:21-22).  Do you not hear the groaning in the fires, floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and the evil of Adamkind in the world.

When you have one of our own political parties that are more concerned will illegal aliens in our nation, and definitely not concerned about the legal murder of 63,000,000 unborn babies; there is something desperately wrong, and evil in the minds and hearts of this world, and this country.

Can you hear the shout of creation?  Can you hear the shout of the gospel of Jesus Christ that a good, righteous, holy, just, and innocent gave His life for the evil, unrighteous, unholy, unjust, and guilty race of Adamkind?  He died, was buried, and He rose again.  He is returning again to receive His own unto Himself.  O, will you hear Him?

The LORD My Rock

“The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower”  Psalm 18:2. (KJV)

There is a rock called the Rock of Gibraltar located in the British overseas territory of Gibraltar, near the southwestern tip of Europe on the Iberian Peninsula.  It is a massive island rock, and has been a picture of strength, power, and stability for many years; maybe even centuries and millenniums.  There is a Rock that stands for all eternity, and that Rock is Christ Jesus.

David said this of the LORD, that is YaHWeH, and He is GOD.  GOD is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Our Lord Jesus Christ is said by the apostle Paul to be the Rock that was with the children of Israel through the wilderness (1 Corinthians 10:4).

When we are faced with an enemy; whether the devil and his legions of Hell, or the neighbor next door; Christ Jesus is our Rock.  I can say with David,  the the LORD is my Rock.  I can stand on Him, and never fear of being without Him, because He has said I will never leave you.

He is my deliverer.  He is my strength.  Without Him I can do nothing; with Him I can do all things through Him that glorify His name.  One of the things about Christ being our Rock is He is everything we need.  As the high tower we need not fear what may be in our future.  The future is not mine to know, but to know Christ is to leave it in His hands because He can see all things and has control over it.

“The LORD is my rock, and my fortress…”  because He made a way for me.  He made a way for us to know Him, and that is through the cross upon which He bled and died.

My Sentence… From Your Presence

Hear the right, O LORD, attend unto my cry, give ear unto my prayer, that goeth not out of deceitful lips. Let my sentence come forth from Your presence; let Your eyes behold the things that are equal.”  Psalm 17:1-2 (KJV)

For this 17th day into our 150 Days I will let  C. H. Spurgeon, the author of The Treasury of David speak to you on verse two…

“Let my sentence come forth from thy presence.” The Psalmist has now grown bold by the strengthening influence of prayer, and he now entreats the Judge of all the earth to give sentence upon his case. He had been libelled, basely and maliciously libelled; and having brought his action before the highest court, he, like an innocent man, has no desire to escape the enquiry, but even invites and sues for judgment. He does not ask for secrecy, but would have the result come forth to the world. He would have sentence pronounced and executed forthwith. In some matters we may venture to be as bold as this; but except we can plead something better than our own supposed innocence, it were terrible presumption thus to challenge the judgment of a sin-hating God. With Jesus as our complete and all-glorious righteousness we need not fear, though the day of judgment should commence at once, and hell open her mouth at our feet, but might joyfully prove the truth of our hymn writer’s holy boast –

“Bold shall I stand in that great day;
For who ought to my charge shall lay?
While, through thy blood, absolved I am
From sin’s tremendous curse and shame.”

“Let thine eyes behold the things that are equal.” Believers do not desire any other judge than God, or to be excused from judgment, or even to be judged on principles of partiality. No; our hope does not lie in the prospect of favouritism from God, and the consequent suspension of his law; we expect to be judged on the same principles as other men, and through the blood and righteousness of our Redeemer we shall pass the ordeal unscathed. The Lord will weigh us in the scales of justice fairly and justly; he will not use false weights to permit us to escape, but with the sternest equity those balances will be used upon us as well as upon others; and with our blessed Lord Jesus as our all in all we tremble not, for we shall not be found wanting. In David’s case, he felt his cause to be so right that he simply desired the Divine eyes to rest upon the matter, and he was confident that equity would give him all that he needed.

I believe David knew what the apostle Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, meant when he wrote, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus…” Romans 8:1

Lighten My Eyes

How long will You forget me, O LORD? For ever? How long will You hide Your face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? Consider and hear me, O LORD my God: lighten my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death; lest my enemy say, I have prevailed against him; and those that trouble me rejoice when I am moved.”  Psalm 13:1-4 (KJV)

Those who have a familiar relationship with GOD through His Son Jesus often find ourselves asking Him questions.  If you are doing that; good.  I find no fault in anyone with even their complaints to God knowing that He is their loving, merciful, and gracious Heavenly Father.  I have found quite often when I go to GOD with a question or complaint that I am usually satisfied with not getting an answer, except, the thought or the words “Trust” and “Believe”.  Trust and believe His word.

One thing I have noticed about taking my complaints to God is, that, I do not have any complaints for any one else; at least I am less likely to have any complaints for others.

David was feeling forgotten; by God and man. One of the things we can see about David’s words is that they reflect His faith.  First of He is talking to God.  Secondly, he is showing desire to honor and glorify God, by His working in David to prevent the enemy from rejoicing over David’s possible defeat.

David’s prayer to the LORD is; “Lighten my eyes…”  Maybe he had lost sight of his work and vision for God.  Maybe it was something that had separated him from his fellowship with God.  Whatever it was David needed the LORD to give him some light.  An eye opening experience.

We all need the light of Christ to shine in our hearts, minds, and lives.  It begins by knowing GOD through the cross of Jesus.

The Children of Men

Help, LORD; for the godly man ceases; for the faithful fail from among the children of men. They speak vanity every one with his neighbour: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak. The LORD shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaks proud things: Who have said, With our tongue will we prevail; our lips are our own: who is lord over us?”  Psalm 12:1-4 (KJV)

Before we get too far into this study we might want and need to know who the “Children of men” are.  They are those who have not been godly.  They are those whose hearts are in the world and all that they can hold.  They are those who would definitely need redemption if it is possible.

The saddest part of the above verses is that the “Faithful” have failed among the “Children of men”. We have failed to lift up holiness in the Lord.  We have failed to be godly in our lives.  We have failed to be witnesses of the saving power, and all the awesome power of Holy God.

The children of men speak vanity – useless, empty, evil, false things – which often cause strife and division.  They have no heart for God, nor the things of God.

We hear of the heart from the words of Jesus, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:21), and He spoke again and said, “A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.” (Matthew 12:35).  By this we can see that it matters greatly about our hearts.

Flattering lips and a double heart are usually within the heart of the same individual male or female.  A double hearted person is probably lie the double minded individual of James 1:8; “unstable in all their ways”.

Pride in one’s own abilities, words, strength is a surefire way of falling away from doing what is godly, righteous and just.

The surefire way for us all to be good, godly, and righteous before Holy God is to come to Him the only way He has provided.  If we try another way we only exalt ourselves over the Most High God, and are saying to Him, “I am right.  You are wrong.”

He has provided only the way of the cross of Jesus His Son. Come by the cross, or you do not come at all.

 

If I Have Rewarded Evil Unto Him that Was at Peace with Me

O LORD my God, in You do I put my trust: save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me: Lest he tear my soul like a lion, rending it in pieces, while there is none to deliver. O LORD my God, if I have done this; if there be iniquity in my hands; if I have rewarded evil unto him that was at peace with me; (yes, I have delivered him that without cause is my enemy:) let the enemy persecute my soul, and take it; yes, let him tread down my life upon the earth, and lay my honor in the dust. Selah.”  Psalm 7:1-5 (KJV)

As believers and followers of Jesus Christ we put our complete faith and trust in Him.  It is a good thing not to be concerned about those who might persecute us due to our faith, but we ought always pray for them, and that they would come to the faith of Christ as well.

There are none who can deliver as our GOD and King who we believe, know, and receive through the death, burial, and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Our prayer can and should be that of David as he prayed this prayer – “If I have done this; if there be iniquity in my hands; if I have rewarded evil unto him that was at peace with me…”, then, we can know that we will be aware when we have behaved ourselves unseemly toward another  of Adamkind.  We ought to always love our neighbor as we love ourselves; and that is seen the the final six Commandments God gave us.

In David’s prayer he even asks for his judgment to be swift and sure concerning his evil treatment of those who were at peace with him.  I would say we ought to always be a good neighbor, no matter who that neighbor might be.  Difficult?  With some neighbors, NO!  With other neighbors, Sometimes, and maybe always.  The responsibility of being a good neighbor is mine, the Christians, not the neighbor’s.

If we mistreat someone who is peaceful toward us, then, we need not complain when we are treated likewise by someone else.  There is still, and always will be application of Paul’s words, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man sows that shall he also reap.” (Galatians 6:7).

 

In Our Weakness

“Have mercy upon me, O LORD; for I am weak: O LORD, heal me; for my bones are vexed.  My soul is also sore vexed: but You, O LORD, how long?”  Psalm 6:2-3 (KJV)

For today I will let a man who is dead, but he still speaks in his wisdom from the LORD, and his writings of days gone by…

“Have mercy upon me, O Lord; for I am weak.” Though I deserve destruction, yet let thy mercy pity my frailty. This is the right way to plead with God if we would prevail. Urge not your goodness or your greatness, but plead your sin and your littleness. Cry, “I am weak,” therefore O Lord, give me strength and crush me not. Send not forth the fury of thy tempest against so weak a vessel. Temper the wind to the shorn lamb. Be tender and pitiful to a poor withering flower, and break it not from its stem. Surely this is the plea that a sick man would urge to move the pity of his fellow if he were striving with him, “Deal gently with me, ‘for I am weak.’” A sense of sin had so spoiled the Psalmist’s pride, so taken away his vaunted strength, that he found himself weak to obey the law, weak through the sorrow that was in him, too weak, perhaps, to lay hold on the promise. “I am weak.” The original may be read, “I am one who droops,” or withered like a blighted plant. Ah! beloved, we know what this means, for we, too, have seen our glory stained, and our beauty like a faded flower.

“O Lord heal me; for my bones are vexed.” Here he prays for healing, not merely the mitigation of the ills he endured, but their entire removal, and the curing of the wounds which had arisen therefrom. His bones were “shaken,” as the Hebrew has it. His terror had become so great that his very bones shook; not only did his flesh quiver, but the bones, the solid pillars of the house of manhood, were made to tremble. “My bones are shaken.” Ah, when the soul has a sense of sin, it is enough to make the bones shake; it is enough to make a man’s hair stand up on end to see the flames of hell beneath him, an angry God above him, and danger and doubt surrounding him. Well might he say, “My bones are shaken.” Lest, however, we should imagine that it was merely bodily sickness – although bodily sickness might be the outward sign – the Psalmist goes on to say, “My soul is also sore vexed.” Soul-trouble is the very soul of trouble. It matters not that the bones shake if the soul be firm, but when the soul itself is also sore vexed this is agony indeed. “But thou, O Lord, how long?” This sentence ends abruptly, for words failed, and grief drowned the little comfort which dawned upon him. The Psalmist had still, however, some hope; but that hope was only in his God. He therefore cries. “O Lord, how long?” The coming of Christ into the soul in his priestly robes of grace is the grand hope of the penitent soul; and, indeed, in some form or other, Christ’s appearance is, and ever has been, the hope of the saints.

Calvin’s favourite exclamation was “Domine usque quo” – “O Lord, how long?” Nor could his sharpest pains, during a life of anguish, force from him any other word. Surely this is the cry of the saints under the altar, “O Lord, how long?” And this should be the cry of the saints waiting for the millennial glories, “Why are his chariots so long in coming; Lord, how long?” Those of us who have passed through conviction of sin knew what it was to count our minutes hours, and our hours years, while mercy delayed its coming. We watched for the dawn of grace, as they that watch for the morning. Earnestly did our anxious spirits ask, “O Lord, how long?”  From the Treasury of David by Charles H. Spurgeon  (e-Sword)

 

Glory into Shame

“O you sons of men, how long will you turn my glory into shame? How long will you love vanity, and seek after leasing? Selah.” Psalm 4:2 (KJV)

The following is from The Treasury of David by Charles H. Spurgeon…

“In this second division of the Psalm, we are led from the closet of prayer into the field of conflict. Remark the undaunted courage of the man of God. He allows that his enemies are great men (for such is the import of the Hebrew words translated – sons of men), but still he believes them to be foolish men, and therefore chides them, as though they were but children. He tells them that they love vanity, and seek after leasing, that is, lying, empty fancies, vain conceits, wicked fabrications. He asks them how long they mean to make his honour a jest, and his fame a mockery? A little of such mirth is too much, why need they continue to indulge in it? Had they not been long enough upon the watch for his halting? Had not repeated disappointments convinced them that the Lord’s anointed was not to be overcome by all their calumnies? Did they mean to jest their souls into hell, and go on with their laughter until swift vengeance should turn their merriment into howling? In the contemplation of their perverse continuance in their vain and lying pursuits, the Psalmist solemnly pauses and inserts a Selah. Surely we too may stop awhile, and meditate upon the deep-seated folly of the wicked, their continuance in evil, and their sure destruction; and we may learn to admire that grace which has made us to differ, and taught us to love truth, and seek after righteousness.”

Something for us to keep in mind as we look at two of Psalm 4 is that the “sons of men” of whom David refers are sons of the enemy of David and of God.  It is these sons who turn the glory of David into shame.  We must also remember that David is the character of Scripture of whom God said, “The LORD has sought for Himself a man after His own heart” 1 Samuel 13:4, and Acts 13:22.

These sons of men seek their own welfare and glory, not the King’s neither the King of kings.  When I get to the word “Selah” of the Psalms or anywhere in Scripture, I see it as a chance to pause and meditate on what has just been said.

Jesus Christ is the King of kings. He came unto men through King David.  Let us rejoice in our King Jesus who came to earth to die on the cross, was buried, and He rose again.  One day He is returning as the Sovereign that He is promised to be.  O will you be ready for Him?

When The One Thousand Years are Complete

And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, and shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. Revelation 29:7-10 (KJV)

Satan is loosed from the abyss “to deceive the nations”, but only for “a little season” (v.3b).

Some have wondered why God would do such a thing. One thing it does is show us that God is in complete control and that the devil can do nothing but what God permits him to. Read Job 1 – 2, and you will see that Satan had to get permission to afflict Job.

Robert Govett, as quoted from the REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST by John Walvoord gives us four reasons why God looses Satan at the end of the millennium:

1. “To demonstrate that man even in the best environment will fall into sin if left to his own choice’;
2 ‘to demonstrate the foreknowledge of God who foretells the acts of men as well as His own acts’;
3. ‘to demonstrate the incurable wickedness of Satan’;
4. ‘to justify eternal punishment, that is to show the unchanged character of wicked people even under divine jurisdiction for a long period of time.”

The Gog and Magog seem to be likened to that of Ezekiel in chapters 38 and 39. This definitely shows us that it is not our circumstances that cause us to be righteous or evil, but it is the attitude of the heart. We see mankind has rejected the Most High and Holy during a long period of grace to the end of the tribulation period, and at the end of a long earthly reign of bliss.

How could children who have lived under the awesome rule of Christ turn from Him? We might ask Adam and Eve someday. The children born during the reign of Christ will be given a choice through the deceit of the devil. Those who choose the vices of Satan will rise up against our Lord only to be defeated.

Those who rise up against Christ, inspired by Satan, will surround the holy city only to fall in defeat in an instant.

Satan is judged. He is cast alive into the lake of fire. Notice the mention of the beast and false prophet (SEE also 19:20). After one thousand years they still exist in the lake of fire. Does this sound like annihilation? Not hardly.

There is an onslaught against the teaching and truth of an eternal judgment from professing Christians, as well as eager unbelievers to justify themselves and their lives.  Hell is just as real, and just as eternal as Heaven.  It is said that Jesus said more about Hell than He did of Heaven.  Now I have not checked that out, but if Jesus mentioned that often, then, He did it in warning to those who heard Him.

There is eternal judgment for those who do not believe and receive the precious Lord Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.  He died on Calvary’s cross, was buried, and He rose again.  You can spend eternity with Him or you can stay in your sin and condemnation, and spend eternity in Hell.  Christ Jesus died for us.  Call on His name.  He will hear you.

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.

 

A Great and Marvelous Sign

“And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God. 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. 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.
And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened: and the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles. And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever. And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from His power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.” Revelation 15:1-8 (KJV)

There is a phrase used several times throughout the Revelation which becomes quite obvious after a while. It is the phrase “Inhabitants of earth”. The fullness of God’s wrath is in view upon this group, therefore it is fitting for all who will call upon the Lord, to do so before that day comes, do so by trusting exclusively in the glorious Lord Jesus Christ, and His finished work on the cross, believing that He died, was buried, and rose again bodily from the grave, that He ascended unto the Father, and that He is coming again.

Since we have been in an interlude, the Scriptures have three different times which  take us to the brink of the destruction of wickedness in chapters 11, 14, and will again in 16 only to stop and fill in some details until chapter 19 where it happens.

John is shown seven angels, probably different from the others, “Having seven last plagues”. “Last plagues” seem to certainly indicate these events will precede the coming of Jesus in power and glory. In these plagues is the bringing to completion of God’s wrath upon wickedness on the earth.

These “That had gotten victory over the beast…” are probably those who refused the mark, and all the things of the beast, and died by his hand. They are alive.

The “Sea of glass mingled with fire” certainly implies a persecuted people by the trials and fires of the Great Tribulation. There is another “Sea of glass”, but without fire in 4:6.

These, like the 144,000, sing a song. This song is clearly called “the song of Moses”. I mentioned in the previous chapter the possibility that the 144,000 sing the song of Moses from Exodus 15. These in this chapter, most likely, would fit in singing the “Song of Moses from Deuteronomy 32. The 144,000 being delivered physically would fit Exodus 15, while these of our present chapter of Revelation, being delivered by death would be in accord with Deuteronomy 32 because it is a song of God’s vengeance on the wicked persecutors. The “Song of the Lamb” is a song of grace, apart from which no one can be saved. As the Lamb, it speaks of His blood sacrifice; “Without shedding of [His] blood is no forgiveness” (Heb. 9:22b).

The Lamb of God is worthy of our worship and one day every tribe, and tongue and nation will worship Him. All shall see that He is holy in His judgments, He is righteous in all His assessments. All the earth shall bow at His feet and call Him “Lord”.

I am going to let John Walvoord describe this scene…

“Another vision now introduced by John as a later development constitutes the immediate introduction of the judgments represented in the vials. Our attention is arrested by the phrase ‘I looked and, behold.” This expression always introduces something dramatically new. As John observes, the Holy of Holies in the heavenly Tabernacle is opened. The expression ‘the temple’ (Gr., naos) refers to the inner holy place of the Tabernacle, the design of which God gave to Israel during the wilderness wandering. The expression ‘the tabernacle of the testimony’ is a reference to the whole tentlike structure, a portion of which contained the Holy of Holies. It is described as ‘the tabernacle of the testimony’ because of the presence of the tables of stone containing the ten commandments which were placed in the ark of the testimony in the Holy of Holies (cf. Exodus 32:15; Acts 7:44) and is mentioned frequently in the Old Testament (Exodus 38:21; Num. 1:50, 53; 10:11; 17:7-8; 18:2).” From THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST pg. 229 (1966).

It seems quite obvious that this “Temple” is not the Church. It is actually the temple from which God gave the design to Moses for the tabernacle in the wilderness.

John describes these angels as coming out of the temple. It almost seems to be a quiet, hushed, reverent procession.

These angels are clothed in white. These are angels of God. The white represents the righteous character of Holy God, and the justness of His wrath which is about to proceed from the heavenly throne. The golden girdle speaks of justice and righteousness of His wrath. The truth is bound in this golden girdle.

Each of the seven angels holds in their hands one vial of judgment, which seems to be given to them after they proceed out of the temple. God in His holiness will be glorified.

There is never a wrong time to praise and worship the Lord and to thank Him for His mercy and grace.  Those who are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb always have a song in the heart. Fill your heart and life with Christ Jesus.  Receive His gift of grace paid on the cross for the redemption of the world.