“O praise the LORD, all ye nations: praise Him, all ye people. For His merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the LORD endureth for ever. Praise ye the LORD.” Psalm 117:1-2 (KJB)
“God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause His face to shine upon us; Selah.
That Thy way may be known upon earth, Thy saving health among all nations.
Let the people praise Thee, O God; let all the people praise Thee. O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for Thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth. Selah.
Let the people praise Thee, O God; let all the people praise Thee. Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our own God, shall bless us. God shall bless us; and all the ends of the earth shall fear Him.” Psalm 67:1-7 (KJB)
“Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands: sing forth the honour of His name: make His praise glorious.
Say unto God, ‘How terrible art Thou in Thy works! Through the greatness of Thy power shall Thine enemies submit themselves unto Thee. All the earth shall worship Thee, and shall sing unto Thee; they shall sing to Thy name. Selah.
Come and see the works of God: He is terrible in His doing toward the children of men.
He turned the sea into dry land: they went through the flood on foot: there did we rejoice in Him.
He ruleth by His power for ever; His eyes behold the nations: let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah.” Psalm 66:1-7 (KJB)
“Deliver me from mine enemies, O my God: defend me from them that rise up against me. Deliver me from the workers of iniquity, and save me from bloody men.
For, lo, they lie in wait for my soul: the mighty are gathered against me; not for my transgression, nor for my sin, O LORD. They run and prepare themselves without fault: awake to help me, and behold.
Thou therefore, O LORD God of Hosts, the God of Israel, awake to visit all the heathen: be not merciful to any wicked transgressors. Selah.” Psalm 59:1-5 (KJB)
“Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against His anointed…” Psalm 2:1-2 (KJB)
“For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same My name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto My name, and a pure offering: for My name shall be great among the heathen, saith the LORD of Hosts.” Malachi 1:11 (KJB)
“For — Since ye Jewish priests and people “despise My name” (Mal_1:6), I shall find others who will magnify it (Mat_3:9). Do not think I shall have no worshippers because I have not you; for from the east to the west My name shall be great among the Gentiles (Isa_66:19, Isa_66:20), those very peoples whom ye look down upon as abominable.
pure offering — not “the blind, the lame, and the sick,” such as ye offer (Mal_1:8). “In every place,” implies the catholicity of the Christian Church (Joh_4:21, Joh_4:23; 1Ti_2:8). The “incense” is figurative of prayers (Psa_141:2; Rev_8:3). “Sacrifice” is used metaphorically (Psa_51:17; Heb_13:10, Heb_13:15, Heb_13:16; 1Pe_2:5, 1Pe_2:12). In this sense the reference to the Lord’s Supper, maintained by many of the fathers, may be admitted; it, like prayer, is a spiritual offering, accepted through the literal offering of the “Lamb without blemish,” once for all slain.” JAMIESON, FAUSSET, AND BROWN COMMENTARY for Malachi 1:11
The only sacrifice for sin was/is the blood of a perfect, spotless lamb. Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, God the Son was, and is God’s perfect, sinless, spotless Lamb that takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29, 36).
“Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee.
For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when He fought in the day of battle.
And His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.” Zechariah 14:1-4 (KJB)
STUDY HELPS: Isaiah 13:9, 16; 64:1; Joel 2:1; 3:2; Malachi 4:1; Matthew 24:28; Revelation 19:17;
“Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the LORD. And many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and shall be My people: and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto thee. And the LORD shall inherit Judah His portion in the holy land, and shall choose Jerusalem again.
Be silent, O all flesh, before the LORD: for He is raised up out of his holy habitation.” Zechariah 2:10-13 (KJB)
Some thoughts from The Biblical Illustrator:
“I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee
The restorer of Israel and Judah
Note that the name of “the Lord,” or “Jehovah,” is applied to two distinct persons; to Him who sends, and to Him who is sent.
Note also that in this prophecy the future restoration of the Jews is spoken of, as well as their settlement at Jerusalem after the Babylonish captivity. The words of the text evidently relate to the future restoration. A period is yet to come, of glory to God, and of prosperity to the people of Israel and Judah; and that the Son of God, the Messiah, will dwell among them, acknowledged and honoured as the Lord of hosts. Note some of the circumstances which will mark that season of the fulfilment of God’s promises to His people.
- The conversion of the people of Israel and Judah.
- The restoration of all the tribes to their own land.
- The people of God will be restored to their native land in the midst of wars and tumults. Their return will be preceded by violent convulsions, and by a season of disaster and tribulation, such as the world has never yet witnessed.
- The first and most remarkable circumstance in the condition of God’s people after their settlement in their own land, is His immediate presence among them.
- God will make a new covenant with them. It will involve a much higher degree of religious knowledge.
- The pardon of sin is mentioned as one of the promises under the new covenant.
- The consequence of this abundant pardon and superior know ledge is the greater practice of virtue. This superior degree of purity and holiness in the people of God, is the gift of God Himself, the effect of that abundant effusion of the Spirit which will adorn the Church under His own immediate care.
- The advantages will not be confined to Israel, but will flow out to other peoples.
- Jews and Gentiles being united as one body of faithful worshippers, a pure and holy service will be paid to God in Jerusalem. The people will enjoy all worldly and spiritual blessedness. Let us seek to attain a share of these coming blessings. (T. Bowdler, A. M.)
The joy of the Divine presence
1 No difficulty or strait can take away from the Church the true cause of her joy, nor excuse her for not rejoicing in it, for when the Jews are now a contemptible handful, deserted by their brethren, vexed by their enemies, and some of themselves conspiring against them, yet she is called to this duty, “Sing and rejoice.”
- The Lord’s own presence in and with His people, is His choice and matchless gift, which He is willing to give before any other thing, and which, as He will not disdain to bestow in His people’s lowest condition, so it is a gift that should occasion much joy and refreshment to them.
- As the Lord’s presence with His own chosen people is perpetual, and will bring intimate familiarity and love; so Himself will be at all the pains to make up this union, He will not, by sin putting Him, as it were, away for a time, be provoked to stay away, and will have this communion still upon the growing hand till they come to full fruition, for He will dwell constantly and familiarly “in the midst of thee.”
- It is the great ground of the Church’s encouragement, and the fountain of all other manifestations of God, that the Son of God became man, that her Redeemer is God, that He came and dwelt in our nature, and was like us in all things without sin; and that we may tryst with God in the man Christ, and know our tender-hearted Surety to be also God over all blessed forever, and able to save to the uttermost. This incarnation of Christ is it which this promise ultimately points at as the ground of their joy. “Sing, for I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith Jehovah.” (George Hutcheson.)
The joy of the millennial Church
The words point to the bright periods when messiah’s kingdom shall so extend as to embrace “many nations.” Three remarks are suggested concerning this joy.
- It is righteous. It is not only Divinely authorised, but commanded. “Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion.” Often we are informed by religious teachers that joy is a privilege, but seldom told that joy is a duty. It is as truly a sin against heaven to be spiritually gloomy and sad, as to be socially false and dishonest. “Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion.” Similar commands are found elsewhere on the pages of Holy Writ. “Break forth into joy, sing together” (Isa_52:9). “Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion” (Isa_12:6). Gratitude is joy; and ought not gratitude to fill every soul? Admiration is joy; and ought not every soul to be filled with admiration of the Divine excellence? Love is joy; and ought we not to love all creatures with the love of benevolence, and the Creator with the love of adoration?
- It is reasonable. But here are reasons suggested for this joy. What are they?
- The presence of God. “Lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the Lord.” The highest happiness of an intelligent creature, is the presence of the object it supremely loves. “In Thy presence is fulness of joy.”
- The increase of the good. “Many nations shall be joined to the Lord in that day.” Is not this a good reason for joy—to see the clouds of error in the human sky breaking, dissolving, vanishing, and the Sun of Truth rising, spreading, and penetrating the whole earth with its lifegiving beams? Is not this a sublime reason for lifegiving joy—“Many nations shall be joined to the Lord,” as the branches are joined to the roots of the tree, as the members of the body are joined to the head?
- The restoration of the Jews. “For the Lord shall inherit Judah His portion in the holy land, and shall choose Jerusalem again.”
III. It is reverential. “Be silent, O all flesh, before the Lord: for He is raised up out of His holy habitation.” “The Lord is in His holy temple, let all the earth keep silence before Him.” The profoundest emotions of the Soul are always mute. Superficial feelings are noisy and chattering. The shallow stream rattles amongst the hills. The deep river rolls by unheard. Deep joy is silent as the stars. It is so with the godly soul. In the presence of the supremely beautiful, it is filled with a joy that cannot speak. If we are loyal subjects of the great spiritual empire, we might well be happy. (Homilist.)” From THE BIBLICAL ILLUSTRATOR on Zechariah 2:10-13
“For thus saith the LORD of hosts; ‘Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; and I will shake all nations, and the Desire of All Nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory,’ saith the LORD of hosts.” Haggai 2:6-7 (KJB)
There is a world wide shaking of the heavens and the earth yet to come. Ezekiel 38 and 39 tells of a world wide shaking of the earth, an event unlike anything we have seen.
That One who is called the “Desire of All Nations” is the Person of the Messiah of Israel, the One Christians and the New Testament call Jesus the Christ, Son of God, and is God the Son.
Jesus is coming soon. Be ready. Call on the name of the crucified, buried, and risen Son of God who loved so much He gave His own life for you. He truly is the Desire of All Nations.
“Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation, and laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison. But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said, ‘Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.’ And when they heard, they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught. But the high priest came, and they that were with him, and called the council together, and all the senate of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought.” Acts 5:17-21 (KJB)
Thinking of our Christian brothers and sisters in nations where the gospel of Jesus Christ is not received in a spirit of freedom. I salute you, and thank you for not quitting. I also ask you to pray for us here in the United States of America; for though we are free; having the freedom of speech, and freedom of religion there are many who are trying to push the gospel out of the public, and have the word of God stay behind closed doors of our churches.
In the text above we see those who hated Jesus Christ, and had a hand in His crucifixion and death now hating His disciples, locking them in prison, trying to silence the power of God in Jerusalem.
The angel of the Lord freed them without even opening the jail doors (verses 22-26). The angel also sent them to the temple to teach, and they went and taught. They would not quit. They would not be silent.
Neither can the Christian of 2019 be silent of the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. People are perishing. There are people dying in their sins. Christian of Africa continue to stand and preach the word of God, the gospel of Jesus Christ. Christian of India, continue to preach the gospel. Christian of Iran, Iraq, and Turkey continue to preach the word of God.
Christian of the United States of America be faithful to preach the word of God, the gospel of Jesus Christ. Christ died for our sins, was buried, and He rose again (1 Corinthians 15:1-8).
They Would Not Quit. Neither should you or I.
“Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on Him.
But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done. Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, ‘What do we? For this Man doeth many miracles. If we let Him thus alone, all will believe on Him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.’ And one of them, Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, ‘Ye know nothing at all, nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.’ And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; and not for that nation only, but that also He should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.
Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put Him to death.
Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews; but went thence unto a country near to the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim, and there continued with His disciples.” John 11:45-54 (KJB)
I wonder sometimes how many times an unbelieving man or woman has made a prophetic statement, and not even realized that what they said was prophetic, and would come to pass? The high priest, Caiaphas, was such a man. His prophecy came as a hatred for Jesus and His followers, but it was fulfilled, and is still being fulfilled in every detail
Hear what F. B. Meyer says…
The friends of the family who had come to lament with them, were disposed toward Jesus and believed; but the mere spectators hastened with the news, to inflame the hatred of the Pharisees. The Romans dreaded the power acquired by permanent office, and often exchanged one high priest for another. Hence the expression, being high priest that year. By his vote Caiaphas may be said to have appointed and sacrificed his victim, who in that memorable year was to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease. See Dan_9:24; Dan_9:27.
Caiaphas professed to fear that Jesus would presently gain such an ascendency over the people as to lead a revolt against Rome, which would cause a deluge of blood in which the whole nation would perish. Therefore he recommended that they should compass the death of Jesus. But, as the evangelist puts it, he spoke more widely and truly than he knew, because the death of Jesus is gathering into one the children of God who are scattered abroad-that is, the heathen who were living up to their light, as in Joh_10:16 -that of the twain He might make one new man.” F. B. Meyer THROUGH THE BIBLE DAY BY DAY
Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ today, and call on His name, and you will live eternally with Him.
The World By His Wisdom
Jeremiah 10 –
“Hear ye the word which the LORD speaketh unto you, O house of Israel: Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good. Forasmuch as there is none like unto thee, O LORD; Thou art great, and Thy name is great in might. Who would not fear Thee, O King of nations? For to Thee doth it appertain: forasmuch as among all the wise men of the nations, and in all their kingdoms, there is none like unto Thee. But they are altogether brutish and foolish: the stock is a doctrine of vanities. Silver spread into plates is brought from Tarshish, and gold from Uphaz, the work of the workman, and of the hands of the founder: blue and purple is their clothing: they are all the work of cunning men. But the LORD is the true God, He is the living God, and an everlasting king: at His wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide His indignation. Thus shall ye say unto them, The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens. He hath made the earth by His power, He hath established the world by His wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by His discretion. When He uttereth His voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens, and He causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; He maketh lightnings with rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of His treasures. Every man is brutish in his knowledge: every founder is confounded by the graven image: for his molten image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them. They are vanity, and the work of errors: in the time of their visitation they shall perish. The portion of Jacob is not like them: for He is the former of all things; and Israel is the rod of His inheritance: The LORD of hosts is His name.
Gather up thy wares out of the land, O inhabitant of the fortress. For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will sling out the inhabitants of the land at this once, and will distress them, that they may find it so. Woe is me for my hurt! My wound is grievous: but I said, Truly this is a grief, and I must bear it. My tabernacle is spoiled, and all my cords are broken: my children are gone forth of me, and they are not: there is none to stretch forth my tent any more, and to set up my curtains. For the pastors are become brutish, and have not sought the LORD: therefore they shall not prosper, and all their flocks shall be scattered. Behold, the noise of the bruit is come, and a great commotion out of the north country, to make the cities of Judah desolate, and a den of dragons. O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. O LORD, correct me, but with judgment; not in Thine anger, lest Thou bring me to nothing. Pour out Thy fury upon the heathen that know Thee not, and upon the families that call not on Thy name: for they have eaten up Jacob, and devoured him, and consumed him, and have made his habitation desolate.” Jeremiah 10:1-25 (KJB)
As a Shepherd doth His Flock
“Hear the word of the LORD, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock. For the LORD hath redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he. Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the LORD, for wheat, and for wine, and for oil, and for the young of the flock and of the herd: and their soul shall be as a watered garden; and they shall not sorrow any more at all. Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, both young men and old together: for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow. And I will satiate the soul of the priests with fatness, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, saith the LORD. Thus saith the LORD; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rachel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not. Thus saith the LORD; Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears: for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the LORD; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy. And there is hope in thine end, saith the LORD, that thy children shall come again to their own border.” Jeremiah 31:10-17 (KJV)
NO PEOPLE LEFT OUT
There may have been accusations against Paul’s teaching, claiming that He was preaching an unjust and unrighteous God. That is not what Paul preached, nor is it the teaching of Scripture.
Because God is holy, righteous, and just He has every right to be “Merciful to whom He will be merciful” and to “Have compassion on whom He will have compassion”. He has did everything that His glory, holiness, righteousness, and justness allowed Him to do in order that the lost might be saved.
Hosea’s wife Gomer is brought into this picture of God’s salvation. She had become a harlot, yet God commanded Hosea to love her, and redeem her from her slavery (Hosea 2:1-22; 3:1-5). Paul quotes the prophet Isaiah saying, “Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved: for He will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth”. (vv. 27-28; Isaiah 10:22-23). These quotations make it quite plain that God’s intentions has always been to save people from every tribe, tongue, and nation. He has blessed the nation of Israel with the blessing of giving the world His Word and the Living Word [His Son Jesus], and is blessing them again, by bringing them back to Himself, though they have strayed, and not believed Him. (See Isaiah 1:9 and 13:9).
Hosea 2:23 Paul has given as the Word of God for calling people for Himself from the Gentile nations.
Vv. 25-26 — The quotation from Hosea concerning those not “My people” and called “Children of the living God”;
Vv. 27-29 — The numerous number of Israel shows God’s fulfillment to make of them a “Great Nation”, however, due to their unfaithfulness, there will only be a small number (a remnant) from that number who will be delivered; thus, He will finish the things which He has said concerning Israel, and He will fulfill His word in short order. Except the Lord saved a remnant the Nation would have been like Sodom and Gomorrha, in destruction;
Vv. 30-32 — You can almost begin to see that there have been questions concerning the Jews about what Paul is teaching, and he is answering them; “What about these Gentiles who never pursued righteousness, and now are righteous?” It is theirs because of faith, ie., trusting God implicitly, and no other – no works – just a simple faith that realizes that it is solely by grace through faith we are saved. Israel, on the other hand, had the law, pursuing it by their works, and deeds and failed to attain righteousness by the law. The reason Israel failed is they were seeking to obtain it by the keeping of the law, rather than trusting the Lord and His grace; they had not the faith; and when it came to Jesus, their Messiah/Christ, He was a “Stumbling stone”;
v. 33 — In Isaiah 8:14 and 28:16 the prophet tells us basically what Paul is quoting; Jesus, the One who died on the cross to may a way for “His own”, and the nations, was rejected, because the cross was and still is an “Offense”. It is not only an offense to the Jew it is an offense to many who are Gentiles.
In 1993 the Barna Research Group conducted a poll on beliefs among those who professed being born again, as compared to the total population. The statement, “All good people, whether they consider Jesus Christ to be their Lord and Savior or not, will live in Heaven after they die on earth” was read to those who participated. Of those who professed to be “Born again” thirty two percent [32%] agreed with the statement. Forty eight [48%] of those churched agreed, along with forty four percent [44%] of the total population.
“All good people, whether they consider Jesus Christ to be their Lord and Savior or not will live in Heaven after they die on earth.”
Professing Born again …. 32 percent agreed;
Those who attend church …. 48 percent agreed;
Total population …. 44 percent agreed.
It is evident even today  that this has not improved. It has most likely worsened. How terrible it would be to stand before Jesus one day and have our only answer being, “I thought I could make it on my own. I was a good man/woman.” Then, to hear Jesus say, “I never knew you. Depart from me, you worker of iniquity”.
There will be no shame for those who take God at His Word and believe in Jesus. We will be able to stand before Him with confidence in His finished work and all the glory will belong solely to Him, and that will be our glorification.
And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; and had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: on the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates.
And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal. And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel. And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.
And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Revelation 21:10-27 (KJV)
The description of the abiding place of the Bride. The place Jesus speaks of in John 14:1-3.
The description John gives is only as splendid and glorious as he could give in human terms. Whenever you try to communicate the holy to the unholy all you will do is come up far short of actuality. For instance, “the lake of fire” – the fire may indeed be a human description by symbol, however, the reality or the substance is greater than the symbol.
It is like a nuclear physicist who writes down all he knows and hands it to a kindergarten student. That student will have no idea of what he is looking at. God was showing John some wonderful things and inspired him to write the way he has so we could have a little understanding of the glory which awaits us.
In verse 10 the angel takes John, “In the Spirit”, to a mountain where he sees the holy Jerusalem descending “out of heaven from God”. Warren Wiersbe writes…
“The eternal city is not only the home of the bride; it is the bride! A city is not buildings; it is people” (from the BIBLE EXPOSITION COMMENTARY by Warren Wiersbe, Vol. 2, pg. 623).
The city is described as having foundations, walls, and gates.
FOUNDATIONS speak of permanence. The houses we build, though they do have foundations, are only temporary when marked by eternity. They are only the tents of “pilgrims and strangers” (Hebrews 11:8-10).
WALLS speak of protection. This wall of the city is eternal. Nothing wicked and vile can enter this city for the only entrance is by way of the blood of Jesus.
GATES speak of a way in – an entrance. God used Israel as an entrance for Christ to become flesh. Christ is the door through which man can come to God.
The bride of Christ would then seem to be made up of those of Israel who believe and the Church whom Jesus Christ “…hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us” (Eph. 3:14).
Each gate of the city is named for one of the twelve tribes of Israel. Each of the twelve foundations is named for one of the apostles.
In chapter 11 John is commanded to measure the temple (a symbolic gesture of ownership). Here, he witnesses as the angel measure the heavenly city. The dimensions of the city are staggering. FOURSQUARE means the city is equal on all sides. The shape could be either a cube or pyramid. The length, height, and breadth equal “twelve thousand furlongs” – a furlong is equal to 220 yards today – if we say a furlong is equal to 600 feet we would come up with a city fo 1,500 miles long, it would have a breadth of 1,500 miles and a height of 1,500 miles. To help us understand this – to place this city in perspective to the United States, it would cover over half of the contiguous states land mass. It is a large city, showing that God has provided plenty of room for all who will come to Him through His Son Jesus.
Now we come to the wall. It measured 144 cubits. If a cubit equals 18 inches, then the wall would be 72 yards high or 216 feet.
The construction of the city is astounding; walls of Jasper, streets of pure gold, foundations decorated with precious stones (Jasper, 2. sapphire, 3. Chalcedony, 4. emerald, 5. sardonyx, 6. sardius, 7. chrysolite, 8. Beryl, 9. topaz, 10. chrysoprasus, 11. jacinth, 12. amethyst). We can tell by this description that the bride of the Lamb is certainly arrayed in glory and beauty (Eph. 5:27a), the gates are twelve pearls, the street of pure gold. What a place to walk. The thing for which men crave most on earth will be under our feet in the new Jerusalem.
There is no temple (v. 22), “The Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it”. Notice the plurality and the singularity of this verse concerning the temple, God, and the Lamb. We will forever be in Christ Jesus and He in us (John 17:21-22).
There is no need of the sun or the moon. Verse 23 does not say a sun or moon does not exist. It appears to be saying that the glory of God and of the Lamb is the light of the new Jerusalem – the holy city come out of heaven from God. The glory of God will be so bright that the sun and moon will fade into the background – similar to how the other stars are unseen during the daylight hours, due to the “glory” of the sun.
Then, “nations” are probably those who dwell on the “new earth”. These have access to the city, but evidently do not live there. These walk in the light of the glorious city. These may be those who chose to remain faithful to the Lamb of God during the thousand years of His reign and during the last attempt by Satan to lead them astray. The very fact of their faith is the glory they bring into the city each time.
They are free to come and go as they please – the gates are always opened.
Only those whose names “are written in the Lamb’s book of life” can enter there.
What construction! What beauty! What a Savior! The Temple of that City and the Light of that City is the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb
And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. Revelation 20:1-6 (KJV)
In these three verses, we find power is given to “an angel” to bind Satan for “a thousand years”.
Some have speculated and said, “an angel” is referring to Christ himself. It is unnecessary to speculate. Christ is completely capable of delegating power to whom He will. This angel is given a key and holds “a great chain in his hand” (SEE Judge 6).
The angel “laid hold on” the devil who is described in verse 2 in four different terms:
- Dragon – this shows his beastly nature and leadership as he inspired the government of the beast of Revelation 13;
- Serpent – this name shows his subtle nature as a smooth operator, deceiver, etc.;
- Devil – this shows he is a liar, and murderer and Jesus said this was so, “from the beginning”;
- Satan – this shows him as the accuser – he accuses us before God. He was Job’s accuser.
After laying hold of the deceiver (Satan) the angel binds him for one thousand years, cast “into the bottomless pit” and “shut up” and “sealed”. This is for the purpose of giving the earth, under the administration of Jesus Christ, complete tranquility, without the deceit, fraud, and destruction of the old serpent.
There is, however, a somewhat sad note at the end of verse three. The devil will be released at the end of the one thousand year reign of Christ, but only for a short duration. Only the Lord Himself and give the answer to the multitude of questions that come to our minds.
These verses deal with the “first resurrection”, the ruling and reigning of the saints with Christ, and also speaks of the one thousand years we often call the “Millennial reign of Jesus Christ” on earth.
One thousand years is where the word “Millennium” is derived. We measure time by seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades, centuries, and millenniums. There are at least three groups of interpretation concerning the millennial reign of Jesus Christ:
- Amillennial view – this group believes in no literal earthly reign of Jesus Christ – some in this camp believe that Christ is already ruling and reigning on earth…
- Post-millennial view – many in this camp believe Jesus will come again only after the Church has won the world to Christ, by the preaching of the gospel – the latter part of the victory being a thousand years (not necessarily literal) of peace, prosperity, and long life – with Jesus coming after the millennium…
- Pre-millennial view – Jesus returns again before the thousand years to rule and reign on earth with His saints. The pre-millennial view is literal concerning the one thousand years.
The thousand years is mentioned in Revelation 20 six different times, in only 15 verses. Is that an accident of, or a clue to interpretation? Six is the number of man. It could be a clue to being one thousand literal years of men. The very fact it is mentioned six times seems to stress the point “For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.” Psalms 90:4 (KJV).
Those whom John sees on the throne are most likely the saved of God. It could be that John saw the twenty-four elders on the thrones, but that does not negate the above statement if we keep in mind that the “elders” represent the redeemed. A great emphasis is placed upon the martyrs. Saints who gave their physical lives, through death, for Jesus during great trials and persecutions.
Sometime shortly after the fall of Babylon – religious, economic, political – those who die for Jesus during the Great Tribulation are resurrected and given new bodies. These are the last to be resurrected before the millennium begins. These are the ones who have part in the “first resurrection” along with all those who were raptured at the beginning of the tribulation. The “first resurrection” began with the bodily resurrection of Jesus, and others who came out of their graves also (Matthew 27:51-53). A third group to be raised – of the “first resurrection – are those who “died in Christ” before the time of “Jacob’s trouble” (the tribulation period). This will take place at the rapture when both the dead and living [in Christ] will be “caught up together” (1 Thessalonians. 4:16-18).
In verse six we find the fifth of the seven Beatitudes in the Revelation. “Blessed [Happy] and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection:…” The promise is that “the second death” – eternal damnation will have no power, no affect, or effect on the ones who are of the “first resurrection”. What a blessing it is. Those who have part in the first resurrection will be “priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years”.
During the thousand years, those who survived the great tribulation without succumbing to the vices of Satan will live on earth and repopulate it under the rule of Jesus as the King of kings. Some aspects of Christ’s earthly reign will be 1) Complete peace, 2) Prosperity, 3) Long life, 4) The animal kingdom will be practically domesticated (Isaiah 11:1-9). There will be no fear of the animals or beasts of the field. There will be children born during this beautiful era.
To be sure you are in the group of the First Resurrection call on the name of Jesus for eternal salvation. He is the only Savior there is.
Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.
And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all. And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee; and the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived. And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth. Revelation 18:20-24 (KJV)
Remember what I said in previous posts, about the world’s rejoicing and God’s rejoicing.
He is speaking here to all the saints of God (“holy apostles and prophets”). Rejoice because God’s righteousness is being vindicated. We rejoice not over the condemnation of a lost soul, but for justice, and that God is glorified.
Babylon – religious, economic, and political – is utterly destroyed, to rise no more.
She will sink like the “great millstone” never to rise again. There is a similar story in Jeremiah 51:61-64. Jeremiah wrote against Babylon and had a young man read it to Babylon, and when finished reading the “book” to “bind a stone to it, and cast it into the midst of Euphrates”. Jeremiah’s faith in God and His Word was sure. Babylon will fall. The Word of God continues.
The pronouncement of the angel, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen” is in the past tense. Just as surely as God said it, it shall be done.
The merchants will buy “no more at all” (v. 14); the city “shall be found no more at all” (v. 21); music “shall be heard no more at all in thee”; “no craftsman… shall be found any more in thee”; the work of the mill “shall be heard no more at all… (v. 22); “the candle… no more at all…”; wedding ceremonies “…no more at all…” (v. 23). Seven times is complete and final. God’s Word is true.
In looking at these verses we could have a very convincing description of our own nation. Capitalism, when not restrained by God’s Spirit, can breed greed, selfishness, and lust for power, yet, I believe it is the best economic system mankind has going for it when kept in check by the Spirit of God, not government. Babylon, very well, could be capitalism run amuck because of the absence of God’s restraining influence.
Because some chose to stand for Christ, the world of Babylon slew them. O, what a bloody city.
Here is a parallel to the Babylons of Scripture: The first is historical and found in Genesis 11 prepared to maintain the union of the world – overthrown by God through confusion of language and scattering of people. The second is ecclesiastical, symbolized by the woman of Revelation 17 proposes common worship and religion uniting all religions into one world church, and much advocated in our day by some of those in the reprobate church which will be destroyed by the beast in Revelation 17:16, thus fulfilling the will of God. The third is political, symbolized by the “great city” of Revelation 18, attempts domination of the world, by common market and world government. These are destroyed at Jesus’s second coming in power and great glory. EVEN SO COME LORD JESUS.
BABYLON IS FALLEN, IS FALLEN – Justice will come to those who have given their lives for the cause of God, His word, and His work. Stop trusting in the “Babylonish garment” (Joshua 7:21); the material things of this world, like gold, silver, garments, houses, and land, and trust the One who has already won the victory.
Jesus Christ the Son of God, God the Son is the One who died on the cross for us, was buried, and rose again. He is the One who is now preparing to return and make all things right.
And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning, standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour is thy judgment come. Revelation 18:9-10 (KJV)
I know that posts like I have been sharing recently, are not popular. I do not share them to draw a crowd. I share them because they are the truth, and to give warning to those who are the “Earth dwellers”, and love material things, wealth, houses and lands more than the Lord Jesus and His word. As Jesus says, “He that has ears to hear, let him hear.” Even if one is drawn here by the Spirit of God, sees, and hears the word and is delivered from the bondage of sin, then that will be a glorious thing.
As a contrast to chapter 17, in which the kings desolated the “great whore” and “burned her with fire” (17:16), here they “bewail her” and they “lament for her”. They have great sorrow of heart. Their means of wealth has fallen. This in itself shows us this is the commercial or economic Babylon.
The “kings of the earth” are fearful. She had been strong, wealthy, and “beautiful” just a few hours before, now she is FALLEN, poor and desecrated. They stand “afar off” – at a distance – fearful of where their wealth will go, of what will become of them now; is there anyone to protect their losses.
Isn’t it great to know that when one knows and trusts Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior our treasure is in Heaven, where thieves cannot break in and steal, where moth and rust cannot corrupt, and that it is riches that can stand the fires of God’s judgment, even coming out of the fires of a purer sort.
The suddenness of judgment upon this economic empire could loosely be likened to the crash of the stock market that caused the Great Depression of the 1920’s and 1930’s. People lost wealth and threw themselves from windows, and committed suicide in various ways. Times like these are certainly times when we find out where our heart and treasure is (Matthew 6:19-21).
It seems that at the time of this judgment the nations of the earth will have been prosperous. Great prosperity will abound in the last days of man’s rule on earth – economically. The banks and governments will be wealthy; the people, for the most part, will be in slavery. Babylon, the city of wealth, has fallen. A sad day for the “kings of the earth”.
There is a kingdom coming which will never fall but will stand forever, and that is the Kingdom of our God and Savior Jesus Christ. See Daniel 2:44-45. Jesus came and died on the cross to build His kingdom. His kingdom is built on the confession of all those who will hear and believe His word, trusting their all completely to Christ and His finished work on the cross. Jesus died, was buried, and He rose again.
“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.
“After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.
And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in His temple: and He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” Revelation 7:9-17
It seems that the ministry of the 144,000 is quite effective.
Matthew 24:14 says this gospel must be preached to all nations before the end comes. There seems to be a distinction between the gospel of grace and the gospel of the kingdom. The gospel of grace has to do with the death, burial, resurrection, ascension and second coming of Jesus Christ. The gospel of the kingdom has to do with Jesus coming [His second coming] to set up the earthly kingdom of David.
These mentioned in verses 9 and 10 are converts of the witnesses, and who give their lives for the faith. These are some of the same ones mentioned in 6:9-11. They are “the great multitude” too numerous to even count. They stand “before the throne” and “before the Lamb”. The “white robes” show they are clothed in righteousness, and the “palms in their hands” symbolize their victory. Notice, they worship before the throne.
If we keep in mind that chapter seven is not in chronological order we can see a complete ascription of praise around the throne. As a matter of fact, this scene could be placed at the end of the book when the redeemed of all the ages are gathered around the throne worshiping God and the Lamb.
We have “all the angels” and, the “twenty-four elders” – representing the believers of the Old Testament and the Church. We also see, once again the “Living ones”, and the martyrs of the faith during the tribulation. They ascribe to God perfect praise. There is a sevenfold ascription of praise as in chapter 5.
One of the “elders” asks John, “What are these which are arrayed in white robes?” John’s answer is one of wisdom, “Sir, you know”.
The elder then tells us clearly who these are that are mentioned in verse 9. They “came out of great tribulation”. The Church down through the centuries has endured tribulation, but not like that which is called “great tribulation”. And the Church will not experience it. It would serve absolutely no purpose.
Notice, that it is also very clear how these became redeemed people. “And made them white in the blood of the Lamb”. It is still by the blood of the Lamb – the Lord Jesus Christ – that folks are saved in the “great tribulation” not by “works of righteousness”.
There is eternal bliss for those who die a martyr’s death for faith in Jesus Christ.
1. Serving Him continually;
2. He shall dwell among them;
3. No more hunger;
4. No more thirst;
5. No more suffering from the elements;
6. He shall feed them – “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want…”;
7. He shall lead them to “Living fountains of waters”;
8. He shall wipe away all tears.
It is very clear how one is to enjoy this eternal bliss”. By placing faith in the blood-atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross for the sins of all mankind.
Jesus is our Providence, and the Providence of all ages and people.
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
In these verses, we will see that Jesus, as the holy and righteous Judge, will not tolerate wickedness, corruption in His Church, but that He exposes and judges it, and sets apart those within the body who are not partakers of the vileness.
Jesus introduces Himself to the church of Thyatira as the Judge. He is one who exposes unrighteousness in the forms of heresy, idolatry, and all abominable acts.
This church was a corrupt church. Toleration of “Jezebel” is their chief sin. Refusing to confront and judge her themselves, Jesus would come and do so Himself.
False teachings still corrupt the church today. There is very little teaching of holiness or righteousness, but much about self-awareness and self-acceptance. There are also teachings of “Antinomianism” disguised as freedom in Christ, the priesthood of the believer, and the liberty of the Spirit. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” from the bondage of sin. We are not at liberty to sin, but at liberty to serve and follow Jesus Christ.
There may have been some who tolerated “Jezebel” in order to practice “Church Growth”. There is a “Jezebel spirit” in that area especially. BEWARE!!!
Verse 18 begins the longest letter, and it is addressed to the church of Thyatira.
This letter opens with a word of warning to the unrepentant church member. The way in which Jesus identifies Himself is the warning. “His eyes like unto a flame of fire and His feet are like fine brass” (1:14-15). His eyes are eyes which pierces through the hardest of hearts and determines the motive and sees the sin of every heart. The feet like fine brass. His feet are pure and He is worthy to judge all who fail to give Him place – His rightful place.
Thyatira was a small city approximately 40 miles East of Pergamum. It was known as a city which manufactured purple dye. It is mentioned in the book of Acts 16:14-15. Lydia, a purple merchant, was from Thyatira and very well could have been used by God to start this church.
The people of the church for reasons yet to be mentioned have to be reminded of the deity of Jesus Christ, therefore, in this letter alone does He identify Himself as the Son of God. What tragedy when the Church loses sight of His divinity.
This is a church that is the opposite of the church of Ephesus. It appears their love for Jesus was stronger, their works were not mere religion, but done out of true love for Jesus (v. 19).
The church of Ephesus had the works but not the love, but they hated false teaching and dealt with it. The church of Thyatira had the love but tolerated false teaching and evil. Both of these are in the extreme on opposite ends. There needs to be both a love for Jesus and hatred for false teaching and evil and confronting it. This church sounds much like many churches of the 21st century. “You can love the Lord, and other gods and things; we will love you, no matter what; and there will never be any judgment against you. Let’s love and tolerate one another.”
Sin and false teaching must be dealt with.
The condemnation against Thyatira is because of tolerance of evil, deceptive teaching led by a strong, domineering woman who is “Jezebel” in character. “Jezebel” is probably a symbolic character reminding the people of the domineering, deceptive practices of the queen of Israel in 1 Kings 16 and following, who led Israel into Baal worship while pretending to hold on to the worship of YaHWeH (vv. 20 – 23).
This woman may have had a large following because of her strong leadership abilities and her loose morals. She probably was seen by some as a peacemaker, a worker for unity, especially between Christians and the government, and employers who did not want Christians who stood up for their Savior. She was corrupting the Church. This was probably the beginning of Maryolotry. Putting the virgin Mary on equal, if not a greater scale with Jesus.
Jesus gave her time to repent, but she refused. All who yielded to her teachings and practices would be cast into judgment with her. The bed that had been a bed of pleasure and peace would become a bed of pestilence. “Kill her children with death” is showing pestilence – disease, plague, drought – it would end in death.
By this judgment, all the churches will know that Jesus knows the heart, mind, and motives of His people – and of the wicked as well. When these have sown seeds of corruption what is the harvest, except corruption – destruction.
“Jezebel” would be an unredeemed person who crept in by stealth and deceit. Her only purpose is to lead astray, corrupt, and destroy. God’s purpose would be to strengthen the believers.
To those who are pure – have kept themselves from this doctrine of “Jezebel” Jesus’s promise is to put no other burden upon them (vv. 24 – 25).
This is the third letter in which Jesus has mentioned the enemy (Satan). To Smyrna, He calls the false Jews, “The synagogue of Satan”. To Pergamos, He calls it the place “Where Satan’s seat is”, “Where Satan dwelleth”, and then of Thyatira, “Those who have not known the depths of Satan” – probably referring to indulgence to sinful idol worshipping practices which “Jezebel” practiced along with her followers. “Give in to the world. Be silent about your faith. Do not lose your job because of Jesus, just go along with the crowd”. God forbid that we give up and give in to “The depths of Satan”.
Jesus says to those who are faithful, “Hold on to that which you have.” Keep the faith. Be patient, “Until I come”. This is a promise of deliverance to the faithful.
In verses 26 – 28 Jesus mentions the overcomer. The overcomer operates by faith and keeps His works unto the end. He has no other life. He knows no other position, than the one he has in Jesus Christ.
Notice the mention of the Millenial reign of Jesus. Yes, I believe the millennial reign of Christ to be literal. There are hundreds of Old Testament passages having to do with the Kingdom of Christ on earth where the lamb will lie down with the lion and wolf, and children play over the dens of serpents. The “Overcomers” will be given a position of authority in that day. Remember! We are joint heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17) and “All things under His feet” (Ephesians 1:22). This rule will be one of shepherding people who are on earth at that time. When do you see the “Morning star”? At the beginning of a new day. A new day begins in Jesus Christ. He is the Morning Star. The “Overcomer” is one who is a possession of Jesus, and Jesus is their possession.
Verse 29 gives us the call to hear. It is the first of the seven letters that have the invitation to hear on the very end of the letter.
It is at the end of the following three letters as well. Perhaps to let all know, who are reading and hearing these words, and find themselves in a similar predicament. Jesus will be the judge of all sin and sinners who do not repent of their sin. Woe be to the one who does not hear and heed the message to the church of Thyatira.
In conclusion, wickedness abounds in this world. This is not the time for the church to be tolerating evil practices and/or false teachings. When we give allegiance to the world and “Christ” we give no allegiance to Christ.
The world around us is looking for hope and deliverance from all the things which plague our world. The Church has the answer. If we follow the world, who does the world have to follow? We are the light that shines in the darkness. Evil corrupts, but the light will overcome.
Be a source of hope to a dark world by building on the foundation principles of the Word of God and His righteousness in Jesus Christ. Let the world know there is right in the Light.
Jesus, to this very day, is the Judge of all evil and corruption and He still will not tolerate evil, especially within His Body, which is the Church.
Esther is a book which does not even mention the name of God; the GOD of Israel; the LORD God of hosts. Yet when you have eyes to see, and ears to hear you will see Him fully at work in the lives of His people and the nations.
There are protests/riots in our nation. This is a cry for help, but it has the appearance of a cry for help to the wrong place, for the wrong reason, and the wrong way. These riots of late are signs of anarchy, not freedom, and can become very violent, and destructive. I want us to look at a man, and an event in the book of Esther which; even though He is not mentioned by name; talks with God through his faith, and courage…
“When Mordecai perceived all that was done, Mordecai rent his clothes, and put on sackcloth with ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and cried with a loud and a bitter cry; and came even before the king’s gate: for none might enter into the king’s gate clothed with sackcloth. And in every province, whithersoever the king’s commandment and his decree came, there was great mourning among the Jews, and fasting, and weeping, and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth and ashes.” Esther 4:1-3 (KJV)
The king Ahasuerus of Persia had appointed a Hebrew hating man, Haman, to the second seat of authority. Had given him the authority to destroy the Hebrew people. Haman was a man who had a long hate relationship with Jewish people; even sense Samuel killed Agag (1 Samuel 15).
There is the very mistaken thought being promoted in this wicked world that “Hate is a learned behavior”. Let me tell you that genuine love is a learned behavior. Have you ever watched a newborn baby. They are solely about themselves. They want fed. They want changed. They want what they want and they want it now. You will not like that thought, but it is the truth. A child must be taught to love; it is not natural. Lust is natural. Love is supernatural and comes solely from God. That one is free of cost; but may cost you much.
There is a way of getting things done for good and God’s glory. Mordecai did what any God loving Jew would do. It is what any God and Christ loving Christian must do to in order to affect change in a wicked society, culture and world. We must tear our hearts; make loud and bitter cries of help to our brothers and sisters in Christ, and plead with God to intervene in His power and glory. When you read through the book of Esther you will find that God does protect the Hebrew people, fulfills His word. Because He loves His people.
Pray for God to move. First in your own heart and life. Confess your sins. Repent, and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. The change will begin in you and me.
Many times we people – all who were made by God in His image and likeness want what we want, and we want it now. Nothing has changed since the Garden of Eden, and the fall of Adam and Eve; at least in the matter of our wants.
When it comes to leadership of kings, presidents, or despots we all have our own idea of who or what we want to lead us. The same was true in the day of the Judges, and God raised up a judge and a prophet by the name of Samuel. He was a man who had the heart of God, and was jealous for God; and by that I mean he did not want the people to trust anyone else but God; neither did he want anything else for himself.
The verses we look at today are of when the people decided they wanted a king… “Now make us a king to judge us like all the nations” was their cry (1 Samuel 8:5). “Like all the nations” is the key phrase which should cause us to see the ire or Samuel. They wanted a king so they could be like the surrounding nations. Hear the word of the LORD…
“But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD. And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them. According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken Me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee. Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them.” 1 Samuel 8:6-9 (KJV)
Sometimes God gives us what we want, even when He knows what it will do to us. Sometimes God gives His children a million dollars, and they end up losing it all because they did not have the wisdom to know what to do with it; but they wanted it. Sometimes God saves the life of a child gravely injured in an accident, but the child is alive only not living on his/her own strength; they got what they wanted.
In the case above the king that was chosen was to show them the manner of king that would reign over them, and that would be Saul. Saul turned his back on God. He eventually hated even David a shepherd boy who would be God’s appointed king, and of whom Jesus Christ would be an heir to the throne.
My heart and mind has determined that I want what God wants for me; and I will be perfectly content and at peace with that. What about you? It can start by calling on the name of Jesus Christ the Son of God, God the Son for salvation. Do so today.
“Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof six cubits: he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the princes, the governors, and the captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up. Then the princes, the governors, and captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, were gathered together unto the dedication of the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up. Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages, that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up: and whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. Therefore at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and all kinds of musick, all the people, the nations, and the languages, fell down and worshipped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.” Daniel 3:1-7 (KJV)
THE IMAGE WAS A CONCOCTION OF NEBUCHADNEZZAR’S OWN IMAGINATION – WHICH HE MOST LIKELY CONTRIVED FROM HIS DREAM OF CHAPTER TWO (Read verses 1-12).
When I see things like this my first thought is of Psalms 2 where it is said…
“Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.” Psalm 2:1-3 (KJV).
Nebuchadnezzar has had this dream which Daniel gave him the interpretation as well as telling him what the dream is in the first place. Now he comes to the place of pride and arrogance and seeks to call all worship to himself, as the “head of gold”. He desires his kingdom to continue despite God’s clear prophetic message.
It continues today. Michael Drosnin author of THE BIBLE CODE says the prophecies of the Bible are warnings not predictions (see THE BIBLE CODE pg. 137).
“The Bible code is more than a warning. It may be the information we need to prevent the predicted disaster” (Ibid, pg. 149). “The message of the Bible code is that we can save ourselves.” (Ibid pg. 150).
Understand Michael Drosnin is not a follower of Jesus Christ, nor does he believe in the verbal inspiration of Scripture. This could have just been the thinking of the king of Babylon. “It is just a warning, I can change my own fate”. What God says will come to pass. Not one word will return to Him void. Hear what God says…
“And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, what is that proverb that ye have in the land of Israel, saying, The days are prolonged, and every vision faileth? Tell them therefore, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will make this proverb to cease, and they shall no more use it as a proverb in Israel; but say unto them, The days are at hand, and the effect of every vision. For there shall be no more any vain vision nor flattering divination within the house of Israel. For I am the LORD: I will speak, and the word that I shall speak shall come to pass; it shall be no more prolonged: for in your days, O rebellious house, will I say the word, and will perform it, saith the Lord GOD. Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, Son of man, behold, they of the house of Israel say, The vision that he seeth is for many days to come, and he prophesieth of the times that are far off. Therefore say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; There shall none of my words be prolonged any more, but the word which I have spoken shall be done, saith the Lord GOD.” Ezekiel 12:21-28 (KJV).
God’s Word prevails over the wisdom of men. It does not matter their stature or power.
Nebuchadnezzar was impressed by the God of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; but he was not yet a believer.
It would certainly be no surprise to learn that the image the king made was after his own likeness. If man makes an image of worship it is most often like himself, or a image of a lesser being.
There is another image mentioned in Bible prophecy, which, if people of that time do not worship, they too will be threatened with death; (Read Revelation 13:14-18).
Pride is a destructive thing. It will lead to the downfall of any man or woman, boy or girl. Especially the pride which exalts itself over God and His Word. That is exactly what king Nebuchadnezzar was doing. He still had a great love for himself, thus, a hatred for the God of the Hebrews, and who was His Sovereign as well.
Pride caused the fall of the devil – See Isaiah 14:12-23. Also see Ezekiel 28:1-19.
Pride causes Nebuchadnezzar’s fall.
Pride causes the fall of Antiochus Epiphanes who first desecrated the Jewish temple.
Pride will cause the last world Gentile ruler’s fall as well.
GOD’S WORD FOR US, “BEWARE THE PRIDE OF YOUR HEART”.
Everyone was summoned to worship this image – but it is quite clear that all did not. There were three who stood firm in their faith, even in the face of death
Look at the dimensions of this monstrous image:
Sixty cubits high = approximately 90 feet;
Six cubits wide = approximately 9 feet;
Six is the number of man; seven is the number of completeness; thus, man always comes up short (Rev. 13:18)
When I study this chapter of Daniel, the question comes to my mind, “Where was Daniel?” at this time. We know where Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were. They were about to face the heat of fiery trial. It was time they had to stand alone, ie, without Daniel. However, they were not without God – YHWH.
No matter what kings or despots concoct against God and/or His people God still reigns in the hearts and minds of all men, even the kings. Jesus Christ the Son of God, God the Son is the King of all kings and Lord of lords. Bow before Him now. You will later, but then too late. No threat, but the promise of everlasting hope; or warning of everlasting destruction.
What do I want for Christmas today?
I want everything I say and do today to be for the honor and glory and praise of God my Savior Jesus Christ; and for others to come to Him.
“Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘In those days ten men from every language of the nations shall grasp the sleeve of a Jewish man, saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.” Zechariah 8:23 (NKJV)