Friday, June 30, 2017

Christ's Second Coming (Part II)

"And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God. And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." (Revelation 19:9-10)

The ones who are called to the marriage supper are blessed because they are the ones who have been redeemed by Christ's blood. The text gives no indication that this supper will be strictly for the New Testament Church. On the contrary, the evidence indicates that believers of all ages will be there. The text will soon disclose that the Bride consists of not only the Church but the saints of all time.

Overwhelmed by such visions, John foolishly falls down to worship the angel. Being an obedient servant of God, the angel quickly dispels any notion that such worship is acceptable. Only God is to be worshiped. This passage clearly forbids angel worship along with the adoration of anything or anyone but God (Exodus 20:3). One cannot judge John too harshly since such experiences would be sufficient to overwhelm any mortal man.

The Lord Jesus is the sole authority behind prophecy and teaching. If His Spirit is not present, the prophecy is not legitimate. In any portion of Scripture, Christ may be found either by direct reference, spirit or principle. Any teaching that does not magnify the Holy Spirit of Christ is a false teaching.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Delight of the Kingdom

"The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the LORD, and the excellency of our God." (Isaiah 35:1-2)

This chapter presents a refreshing contrast to the desolation described in the preceding verses. The kingdoms of God's enemies are damned while the kingdom of Jesus the Messiah is eternally triumphant. Obviously, this entire chapter focuses on both the physical and spiritual blessings of the millennial kingdom. Indeed, at times it is somewhat difficult to say where the physical ends and the spiritual begins; yet, one need not labor to find a strict line of division between the two because every physical blessing of God has its spiritual parallel.

The nation of Israel and the countries which surround it are not lacking in barrenness. To the south of Jerusalem lies the Negev, the Arabah and to the southeast, the vast Arabian Desert. So much of the land cries out for water under the oppressive middle eastern sun; yet, all of this will change - literally. Impacted by the relieving and holy presence of God, the parched ground will spew out springs of water. Having her thirst satisfied at last, the once barren earth will produce beautiful vegetation. The rose likely refers to a desert crocus which has a soft purplish color.

The inhospitable wilderness surrounding the Salt Sea will undergo an amazing transformation. According to Ezekiel, the poisoned water of the Dead Sea will be healed by the river which flows from the millennial temple resulting in life both on land and in the water.

Then said he unto me, These waters issue out toward the east country, and go down into the desert, and go into the sea: which being brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed. And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh. And it shall come to pass, that the fishers shall stand upon it from Engedi even unto Eneglaim; they shall be a place to spread forth nets; their fish shall be according to their kinds, as the fish of the great sea, exceeding many ... And by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine (Ezekiel 47:8-10, 12).

Under the curse of sin, Lebanon, Sharon, Bashan, and Carmel languished (33:9), but under the blessing of Jesus Christ, the land will rejoice. Even the inanimate objects of creation will reflect the peace of a world that has finally learned to appreciate the fear of the LORD.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Christ's Second Coming

"And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand. And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever. And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia." (Revelation 19:1-4)

The myriads of heaven ring forth the familiar praise of Hallelujah. Hallel means to praise and Jah is the abbreviated form of JEHOVAH. This compound word means Praise JEHOVAH! John heard the citizens of heaven praising God for true and righteous judgments. The world accuses God's judgments of being inconsistent and harsh (Ezekiel 18:25, 29, 33:17, 20); but the Scriptures present God's judgments as true and righteous. When the Lord's judgments are respected and practiced, peace and wellness are always the results. This reality may be observed in the home, society, church and government. Oppression, immorality and confusion are never the results of God's judgments being practiced. They are the results of man's sin. The Psalmist said, "Let my soul live, and it shall praise thee; and let thy judgments help me (Psalm 119:175)." The Psalmist recognized that God's judgments do not hinder; they help. In the context of the peace surrounding the millennial kingdom, Isaiah wrote,

Yea, in the way of thy judgments, O LORD, have we waited for thee; the desire of our soul is to thy name, and to the remembrance of thee. With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness (Isaiah 26:8-9).

This is the third time in which the elders are seen falling down and worshiping God (4:10, 5:14). They send to every saint a timeless message in their actions of reverence - "Praise God and keep on praising Him!"

"And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great. And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints." 
(Revelation 19:5-8)

The command to praise has a continuous nature to it. "Praise our God, and keep on praising Him!" The need for continual praise is a theme which appears often in the Bible. The Lord knows how human nature struggles with this concept; therefore, He presents it often. As a commentator, it would be easy to pass by things that seem redundant; yet redundancy in Scripture exists for a reason.

These praises and rejoicings thundered through the air. The text is about to reveal the victory of the Lord Jesus Christ against the armies of the antichrist, and such an event calls for magnificent exultation of God's power!

The Lamb's wife is prepared. The coming verses will disclose her full identity. She is given a pure white marriage gown. Such clothing symbolizes purity. The righteousness of saints is not the self-generated righteousness of man but rather the imparted righteousness of Jesus Christ. Man's righteousness leaves one appearing ragged and filthy (Isaiah 64:6). This truth is clearly illustrated by the attire of Joshua the priest who stood helpless and guilty before a holy God. "Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel (Zechariah 3:3)." On the other hand, the imparted righteousness of Jesus Christ leaves one justified and secure. God's response to Joshua clearly teaches this fact.

And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment (Zechariah 3:4).

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Babylon's Lamentation (Part II)

"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." (Revelation 18:20-21)

Then the heaven and the earth, and all that is therein, shall sing for Babylon: for the spoilers shall come unto her from the north, saith the LORD ... And Jeremiah said to Seraiah, When thou comest to Babylon, and shalt see, and shalt read all these words; Then shalt thou say, O LORD, thou hast spoken against this place, to cut it off, that none shall remain in it, neither man nor beast, but that it shall be desolate for ever. And it shall be, when thou hast made an end of reading this book, that thou shalt bind a stone to it, and cast it into the midst of Euphrates: And thou shalt say, Thus shall Babylon sink, and shall not rise from the evil that I will bring upon her: and they shall be weary. Thus far are the words of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 51:48, 61-64).

"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 18:22-24)

Therefore, behold, the days come, that I will do judgment upon the graven images of Babylon: and her whole land shall be confounded, and all her slain shall fall in the midst of her ... As Babylon hath caused the slain of Israel to fall, so at Babylon shall fall the slain of all the earth. Ye that have escaped the sword, go away, stand not still: remember the LORD afar off, and let Jerusalem come into your mind. We are confounded, because we have heard reproach: shame hath covered our faces: for strangers are come into the sanctuaries of the LORD'S house. Wherefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will do judgment upon her graven images: and through all her land the wounded shall groan. Though Babylon should mount up to heaven, and though she should fortify the height of her strength, yet from me shall spoilers come unto her, saith the LORD. A sound of a cry cometh from Babylon, and great destruction from the land of the Chaldeans: Because the LORD hath spoiled Babylon, and destroyed out of her the great voice; when her waves do roar like great waters, a noise of their voice is uttered: Because the spoiler is come upon her, even upon Babylon, and her mighty men are taken, every one of their bows is broken: for the LORD God of recompences shall surely requite. And I will make drunk her princes, and her wise men, her captains, and her rulers, and her mighty men: and they shall sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake, saith the King, whose name is the LORD of hosts. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; The broad walls of Babylon shall be utterly broken, and her high gates shall be burned with fire; and the people shall labour in vain, and the folk in the fire, and they shall be weary (Jeremiah 51:47, 49-58).

Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Demise of Edom (Part IV)

"And thorns shall come up in her palaces, nettles and brambles in the fortresses thereof: and it shall be an habitation of dragons, and a court for owls. The wild beasts of the desert shall also meet with the wild beasts of the island, and the satyr shall cry to his fellow; the screech owl also shall rest there, and find for herself a place of rest. There shall the great owl make her nest, and lay, and hatch, and gather under her shadow: there shall the vultures also be gathered, every one with her mate." (Isaiah 34:13-15)

Her once grand palaces (such as Petra) would become a garden of desert thorns. Dragons may refer to lizards. Some believe that jackals are being referenced. Owls is literally daughters of the ostrich. Whatever animals are intended, they only add to the lonely and inhospitable nature of the picture.

The wild beasts of the region are pictured as being gathered by the superintending hand of God. A satyr is a male goat or buck. The Hebrew word behind the English translation is often used to refer to the male goat of the sin offering. The screech owl is literally Lilith which was a female demon of the night popularized by the godless. Here, it is likely that Isaiah was simply referring to a real creature of the desert night which perhaps had been fantasized by the superstitious. The birds of prey add an element of death and decay. Everything about this eerie night scene illustrates the sad and bitter end of a godless life.

"Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read: no one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate: for my mouth it hath commanded, and his spirit it hath gathered them. And he hath cast the lot for them, and his hand hath divided it unto them by line: they shall possess it for ever, from generation to generation shall they dwell therein." (Isaiah 34:16-17)

God's Word is unfailing. It is inerrant. Sometimes its prophecies and principles are what seems long in coming; yet, in the end, that which God said will come to pass. Isaiah encourages his audience to search the Scriptures. Examine the Law. Review the Prophets. Consider the Psalms and the Proverbs. The wisdom of God always triumphs, and what He proclaimed concerning Edom has happened.

The principle of Scripture's triumph is timeless. No matter what part of God's Word is examined, its words will come to pass. For instance, covetousness will always leave a scar in the end. Fornication and adultery always have far-reaching consequences. Physical and spiritual oppression of people never pays off. Seek it out in the Book of the LORD. The command is timeless. Thousands of people, lost and saved, are experiencing the negative consequences of their thoughts and actions and asking, "Why?" The answers are there. They are in the Bible. In a positive sense, God's promises to the righteous will not fail either. Many God-fearing believers experience the blessings of God because of God's faithfulness toward an individual's right choices. Seek it out in the Book of the Lord. It is all there. As Moses said to Israel,

Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day: And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known (Deuteronomy 11:26-28).

Esau rejected God. Esau's seed rejected God and consequently hated His people with a passion. The result? The kingdom of Edom was destroyed, and today it is a desolate wilderness good for nothing. If the previously mentioned passages do indeed indicate that Edom will be revived in the end times, it will be only for the eternal subjugation of this feeble kingdom. The Lord Jesus Christ will return and all nations will be made subservient to Him; and He will end once and for all the heated controversy concerning His holy Zion. Seek it out, and read.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Babylon's Lamentation

"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)

Babylon hath been a golden cup in the LORD'S hand, that made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunken of her wine; therefore the nations are mad. Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed: howl for her...(Jeremiah 51:7-8)."

Ancient Babylon, a major hub of idolatry and wickedness, was a cup of intoxicating liquor from which every nation under Nebuchadnezzar had drunk. Likewise, the future Babylon's evil influence will be global but so will be the effects of her astonishing fall.

"And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more: The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble, and cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men. And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all." (Revelation 18:11-14)

The items listed are extremely costly. False religions usually produce a great deal of revenue. The city of the earth's future one-world religion will be no different. Thyine wood is wood from the citrus tree; therefore, it would be scented, offering value in aromatherapy. The Greek word behind slaves is bodies. The usage of such language may give a glimpse into the relatively low respect of human life which will prevail in the last days. Such disregard for people's souls is already frighteningly prevalent.

The closing verse emphasizes the fleeting nature of physical things. Babylon lusted after everything but the eternal things of God; and when they were gone, they were gone forever. On the other hand, those who lust after the things of the Spirit will find treasure that lasts forever.

The wares of Babylon resemble the accoutrements of the Mystery Babylon mentioned in the preceding chapter. This is not surprising since this Babylon will be built upon the ideologies of the great whore previously described.

"The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing, and saying, Alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls! For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off, And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city! And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate." (Revelation 18:15-19)

How is Sheshach taken! and how is the praise of the whole earth surprised! how is Babylon become an astonishment among the nations! The sea is come up upon Babylon: she is covered with the multitude of the waves thereof. Her cities are a desolation, a dry land, and a wilderness, a land wherein no man dwelleth, neither doth any son of man pass thereby. And I will punish Bel in Babylon, and I will bring forth out of his mouth that which he hath swallowed up: and the nations shall not flow together any more unto him: yea, the wall of Babylon shall fall (Jeremiah 51:41-44).

The annihilation of ancient Babylon pictured what God will do to the future Babylon of Revelation. The sudden and violent overthrow of Babylon so often mentioned by the prophets will find its full fulfillment in the desolation of this future city.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Demise of Edom (Part III)

"And the streams thereof shall be turned into pitch, and the dust thereof into brimstone, and the land thereof shall become burning pitch. It shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up for ever: from generation to generation it shall lie waste; none shall pass through it for ever and ever. But the cormorant and the bittern shall possess it; the owl also and the raven shall dwell in it: and he shall stretch out upon it the line of confusion, and the stones of emptiness. They shall call the nobles thereof to the kingdom, but none shall be there, and all her princes shall be nothing." (Isaiah 34:9-12)

The streams are torrent valleys or wadis. This barren region south of Judah had no continuous river, but it was marked by various riverbeds that experienced flash floods during the rainy seasons. Instead of being filled with water, these seasonal stream beds would be dried up and scorched by the sun's intense heat.

The Lord promises desolation. No longer would Edom be inhabited. Today, this area is barren and void of any significant settlement. This desolation did not happen overnight but, similar to the decline of Babylon, came steadily over time. The Scriptures declare that Nebuchadnezzar and his armies wreaked havoc on the Edomites (Jeremiah 27:2-7, Lamentations 4:21-22). After the Babylonian conquests, the Nabateans attacked the Edomites from within under the guise of peaceful trade relations. This did much to move Edom toward desolation. During the Hasmonian dynasty of the intertestamental period, Edom experienced further subjugation by Judah which was at least a partial fulfillment of Ezekiel 25:14 and Obadiah 18. Lastly, the Romans slaughtered the Edomites after the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD and in process of time, the nation passed off the scene of history through the invasions of the Arab tribes.

Edom's desolation today is an indisputable fact; yet, it would seem that Scripture intimates a revival of the nation in the end times. More than one passage speaks of the Lord Himself conquering and ruling over Edom in the context of the millennial kingdom (Numbers 24:17-18, Isaiah 11:14, 63:1-6, Obadiah 21). If such is the case, then Edom will be resurrected in the last days only to experience a final and complete subjugation by the Lord Jesus Christ Who will forever put to rest Edom's fierce hatred of God's ways.

I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth. And Edom shall be a possession, Seir also shall be a possession for his enemies; and Israel shall do valiantly. Out of Jacob shall come he that shall have dominion, and shall destroy him that remaineth of the city (Numbers 24:17-19).

The exact identification of the animals mentioned in the Hebrew text is difficult to pinpoint. Rather than labor over the uncertainty of each creature's exact identity, it would be better to give a brief description of each while focusing on the overall emptiness of the scene. A cormorant is a type of pelican. A bittern represents a porcupine. This same creature is mentioned in the desolations of Babylon (Isaiah 14:23). The owl and the raven are not difficult to picture. These birds paint an especially barren and lonely scene.

The Hebrew words behind confusion and emptiness are seen in Genesis 1:2 where they have been translated as without form (WhT) and void (WhB). As the condition of the earth was chaotic prior to the intervention of God's perfecting hand, even so will Edom be chaotic under the curse of the Creator.

In the text, the kingdom is literally called Nothing There. Edom's princes took great pride in their kingdom. Many of her cities and fortresses were actually built into the rocks and cliffs. Such a vantage point encouraged the people of Edom to rest in a false security. Obadiah's prophecies clearly display this reality.

The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; that saith in his heart, Who shall bring me down to the ground? Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the LORD (Obadiah 3-4).

Despite Edom's pride, all would vanish. To this day, only a few archaeological tourist attractions remain. As the text says, there is no kingdom there. 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Babylon's Licentiousness (Part II)

"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 18:4-8)

In his prophecies of double reference, Jeremiah warned God's saints to flee from the coming destruction of Babylon.

Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul: be not cut off in her iniquity; for this is the time of the LORD'S vengeance; he will render unto her a recompence ... My people, go ye out of the midst of her, and deliver ye every man his soul from the fierce anger of the LORD (Jeremiah 51:6, 45).

Here in Revelation, the Holy Spirit reminds the tribulation saints to practice the biblical doctrine of separation, and the believer of today is reminded to keep his distance from the world's philosophies and practices.

In Genesis 18:21, the LORD told Abraham concerning Sodom and Gomorrah, "I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know." Sodom's sins had ripened to the full. They had come up before God, begging for swift judgment. In like manner, the tribulational Babylon will come to the point of no return. Her sins will be horrendous and many, but they will not be permitted to continue for long.

John hears the heavenly voice continue its cry for righteous retribution against Babylon. The word behind double means two-fold or twice as much (Matthew 23:15). The law of sowing and reaping says that a man will always reap more than he sows. John sees Babylon's cup of sins filled two-fold and returned to her hand. Blessed is the man or woman who chooses to live for God because the reward will be greater than the service; but woe be to the man or woman who uses what they have for evil, because the fruit will be more disastrous than the effort.

The attitude of this future city is reflected in the philosophy of her ancient predecessor who said, "...I shall be a lady for ever ... I am, and none else beside me; I shall not sit as a widow, neither shall I know the loss of children (Isaiah 47:7-8)." The Babylonians of days gone by had the same prideful spirit, yet the Almighty destroyed them just as He will destroy the future Babylon. "But these two things shall come to thee in a moment in one day, the loss of children, and widowhood: they shall come upon thee in their perfection for the multitude of thy sorceries, and for the great abundance of thine enchantments (Isaiah 47:9)."

Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Demise of Edom (Part II)

"For my sword shall be bathed in heaven: behold, it shall come down upon Idumea, and upon the people of my curse, to judgment. The sword of the LORD is filled with blood, it is made fat with fatness, and with the blood of lambs and goats, with the fat of the kidneys of rams: for the LORD hath a sacrifice in Bozrah, and a great slaughter in the land of Idumea. And the unicorns shall come down with them, and the bullocks with the bulls; and their land shall be soaked with blood, and their dust made fat with fatness. For it is the day of the LORD'S vengeance, and the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion." (Isaiah 34:5-8)

As the longstanding enemy of Israel, Edom is placed under the judgment of God's sword. The name Edom actually appears in the Hebrew text. Idumea is a Greek form referring to the territory of Edom in New Testament times. Edom's early hostility against Israel may be seen in her refusal to give the Jews passage through her land (Numbers 20:20-21). Later, Edom would aid in the destruction of Jerusalem at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar (Psalm 137:7, Obadiah). The Edomites never lost their hatred of God's chosen people, and this very fact is one reason why God's anger was stirred against the nation of Edom (Amos 1:11).

God calls them the people of my curse. Malachi uses similar language when he titles them The people against whom the LORD hath indignation for ever (Malachi 1:4). To resist the will and worship of God while persecuting those whom He has blessed is to court certain death. The Edomites were not randomly picked out by God to be those whom He especially hated. Esau's rejection of God's righteousness and the resultant rejection of God by Esau's offspring are responsible for the divine curse brought upon the country.

God pictures His judgment upon Edom as a sacrifice of the finest animals. Each ruler and officer would become, for all intents and purposes, as helpless as a sacrificial lamb in the presence of God's righteous indignation. Paul illustrated the futility of resisting God when he said, "...All things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do (Hebrews 4:13)." The city of Bozrah in the land of Moab is likely not the location to which God makes reference (Jeremiah 48:24). The Bozrah mentioned here was located in Edom proper and seems to have been a major city. The name Bozrah means a sheepfold. This name seems to suggest that flocks of sheep and goats were a major source of industry for the city (Micah 2:12). The Holy Spirit is making a play on words as he foretells a sacrifice of sheep and goats in the city named sheepfold. Again, Edom is the name behind Idumea.

The unicorn likely refers to an ox. The bullock is the young bull or steer. The word behind bulls means mighty or valiant. Both the great and the small would fall together. The picture is one of both strong and expensive sacrificial animals as well smaller and more inferior ones coming down together. God does not respect persons in judgment. Every Edomite, both small and great, was trusting in the security of his position; yet, each would be destroyed on God's altar.

Continuously at odds with Israel and her right to the land promised her by God, Edom's disputes against Zion would be answered by the LORD of hosts.

But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions. And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall kindle in them, and devour them; and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau; for the LORD hath spoken it (Obadiah 17-18).

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Babylon's Licentiousness

"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." 
(Revelation 18:1-3)

For many, this Babylon is symbolic whether it be of Rome, the kingdom of the antichrist or of some other evil entity. However, the wording and the context suggest that this is a real city. The prophet Zechariah spoke of a house which would be built for the wickedness which had been sealed in the ephah of the prophet's vision.

Both Haggai and Zechariah prophesied to the Jewish exiles who had returned to build the temple of God during the reign of Persia. Haggai prophesied of things very near. His visions provided the people with guidance for the here and now. Zechariah's prophecies were much more distant. He dealt with the end times and the advent of Jesus' kingdom. In chapter five, Zechariah saw an ephah (a dry unit of measurement equally approximately 35 liters). Inside the ephah, Zechariah noticed a woman sitting. The angelic interpreter told Zechariah, "...This is wickedness." Upon the mouth of the ephah, the angel placed a lead weight thus preventing the escape of the woman who symbolizes evil. Afterward, the ephah, the woman and the lead weight were lifted up and carried away. Zechariah said, "Whither do these bear the ephah?" The angel answered, "To build it an house in the land of Shinar: and it shall be established, and set there upon her own base." Shinar means two rivers. It refers to the plain region between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers (Genesis 10:10, Daniel 1:2). It is the same location to which Stephen referred when speaking of God's call upon Abraham's life (Acts 7:2). In this area, the Babylon of Nebuchadnezzar's day was built, and in this same region a house will be built from which the powers of wickedness will rule.

The straightforward and vivid prophecies of both Isaiah and Jeremiah are yet another reason for believing in the existence of a future Babylon. Both men speak of a sudden and violent overthrow of the city. Even though Nebuchadnezzar's Babylon did become a desolation over time, she did not experience a sudden and violent destruction. The Persians took the city in 539 BC with little resistance. After the death of Alexander the Great, Babylon did experience a steady decline into oblivion; however, the suddenness of the overthrow described by the prophets has yet to occur. In light of these things, it would seem that God's men saw not only the near destruction of the Chaldean kingdom but also the far away terror of a city built upon the foundations of a worldwide false religion.

For many, Babylon and the ideals upon which it stood are things of the past, but the observant man will soon notice that the rebellion for which Babylon stands is anything but forgotten. After the Gulf War, Saddam Hussein attempted to rebuild the city. He manufactured bricks which contained these words, "This was built by Saddam, son of Nebuchadnezzar, to glorify Iraq." Such events illustrate the reality that the rebel principles upon which Babylon was built are alive and well. It should not be thought impossible that the wealth of a one-world religion will someday be used for the construction of a rebellious city built upon the same principles of those who once spoke against God and said, "Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven...(Genesis 11:4)."

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Demise of Edom

"Come near, ye nations, to hear; and hearken, ye people: let the earth hear, and all that is therein; the world, and all things that come forth of it. For the indignation of the LORD is upon all nations, and his fury upon all their armies: he hath utterly destroyed them, he hath delivered them to the slaughter. Their slain also shall be cast out, and their stink shall come up out of their carcases, and the mountains shall be melted with their blood. And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree." (Isaiah 34:1-4)

The Almighty calls for the world's attention. He is about to reveal the demise of His enemies, the vindication of His righteousness and the salvation of His Hebrew people. With a glimpse toward the return of the Lord Jesus Christ, Isaiah describes the defeat of the earth's armies. As a whole, the world's inhabitants are against the things of God, yet they will be defeated in the end. So complete and bloody will be the overthrow, that God pictures the very hills of the surrounding area being melted by the spilled blood of his foes.

This apocalyptic picture would not be complete without the lights of heaven being disrupted by the awesome presence of God at His return (Revelation 6:12-14). Joel uses similar language in his prophecies concerning the end times.

The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining: And the LORD shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; and who can abide it? ... The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake...(Joel 2:10-11, 3:15-16).

Sunday, June 11, 2017

The Woe of the Spoilers (Part V)

"Thine eyes shall see the king in his beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off. Thine heart shall meditate terror. Where is the scribe? where is the receiver? where is he that counted the towers? Thou shalt not see a fierce people, a people of a deeper speech than thou canst perceive; of a stammering tongue, that thou canst not understand. Look upon Zion, the city of our solemnities: thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down; not one of the stakes thereof shall ever be removed, neither shall any of the cords thereof be broken." (Isaiah 33:17-20)

It would be absurd to think that these verses find their full meaning in Hezekiah's kingship and the deliverance of Jerusalem from Assyria. At the most, those events were simply pictures of God's intentions to deliver His people in the end. The King in His beauty is ultimately none other than the Lord Jesus Christ - Israel's only true King. Despite the many hardships Israel would face, promises of full and lasting deliverance are sprinkled throughout Isaiah's prophecies.

With the shadow of the enemy looming over them, the hearts of the Jews meditated on the terrorizing prospect of what could be. In the face of Assyria's siege, where was the man who counted the tax money, and where was he who received it into the treasury? Where was the man who counted the towers of the city and presided over the defenses of the city? Life for Isaiah's countrymen had changed considerably. Egypt had failed them. Their choice to find refuge in another beside God had taken its toll; yet the Lord continues His message of hope to the people. The coming defeat of Sennacherib would serve to illustrate the Lord's victory over all of Israel's future enemies. Regardless of past terrors, Jerusalem will someday be a quiet habitation under the reign of Christ (32:17-18). The word solemnities means appointed meeting or gathering. The picture is one of the masses gathering together for a special time of worship. Jerusalem will yet experience the joy of sincere worship and praise of the Messiah. Lest any man question the secure state of God's people, the Lord promises that Israel's redemption is irreversible by stating the permanency of this special "tabernacle."

"But there the glorious LORD will be unto us a place of broad rivers and streams; wherein shall go no galley with oars, neither shall gallant ship pass thereby. For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; he will save us. Thy tacklings are loosed; they could not well strengthen their mast, they could not spread the sail: then is the prey of a great spoil divided; the lame take the prey. And the inhabitant shall not say, I am sick: the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity." (Isaiah 33:21-24)

The Lord will effect Israel's deliverance. Her works will not save her. Her perceived righteousness will fail her. Only the glorious and majestic JEHOVAH God will be able to do this amazing work - the same God Who is bringing many to saving faith in Christ during this present dispensation. The salvation of the Lord is likened to a broad river or stream. There is no want of thirst-quenching water with the Lord. The galley ship symbolizes the terror and oppression of the enemy. The broad rivers of God's salvation are not compatible with the enemy's navy.

The LORD is given three titles. He is the Judge, the Lawgiver and the King. Unlike man's judgment, the Lord's judgment is flawless. His Law is perfect. As Psalm 19:7 says, "The Law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul... ." It is the great Schoolmaster which brings before the eyes of every man his insufficiency while simultaneously pointing him to the righteousness and grace of Jesus Christ (Romans 3:19-31). The kingship of the Lord is magnificent. He rules with both tenderness and firmness. Under His rule, no one is oppressed nor is any permitted to disrupt the peace and security of His righteous empire. Such prospects of the Lord's reign served to encourage Isaiah and those who sought the Lord with him.

God illustrates the fall of His enemies through the picture of a ship which has lost its mast and sail. In a small way, God pictured Israel's future deliverance through the fall of this Assyrian "ship," but the picture's completeness is found in the future events described in Revelation. So complete will be the fall of Israel's enemies that God says the lame will take the spoils of the enemy. No human strength will be needed to plunder the opponents of God's chosen people because God's strength will fully accomplish the work.

The most encouraging part of Isaiah's prophecy is reserved for the end of the chapter. Every inhabitant of Jerusalem and her surrounding villages will someday be redeemed by faith in the blood of Christ. No longer will the Jewish nation be spiritually sick. Instead, the salvation of God will shine into the heart of each Jew just as it has in the hearts of many Gentiles in this present age of grace. Instead of being known as the city of the wailing wall, Jerusalem will be known as the city which bears the name "The LORD our righteousness (Jeremiah 33:16)." Only by God's grace will these things come to pass. Apart from His unalterable intentions to deliver His people, none of this could be. By opening the eyes of men to the fear of the LORD, God has brought millions to faith in Christ; and someday all of Israel will join the ranks of the redeemed when God makes, once and for all, the fear of the LORD her treasure.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

The Judgment of the Great Whore (Part IV)

"And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues. And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled. And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth." (Revelation 17:15-18)

The angel makes it clear that the sea represents the many peoples of the earth as already discussed (Isaiah 60:5). Many see the whore as the one-world religion which the antichrist will use in order to gain world dominance. This is certainly a possibility. False religion has always been used of Satan to accomplish his purposes. This woman rides the beast initially which seems to indicate that a one-world religion will find structure and support in the final kingdom of Satan. She is wealthy. This quality often accompanies false doctrines. The woman is named Mystery Babylon which suggests that she is an ideal and not an actual city as is seen in chapter eighteen. The woman is drunk with the blood of God's people. True Christianity is the only belief system which is not welcome in a cooperative religious setting. All of these facts strongly suggest a one-world religious philosophy used and supported by the beast and his followers.

In the end, Mystery Babylon is destroyed by the ten kings with the approval of the beast. No longer needed, Satan will remove the one-world religion used to gain the world's loyalty and will replace it with the worship of himself. Quite likely, this casting off of the woman takes place when the son of perdition sets himself up as God in the inner temple of God (II Thessalonians 2:3-4).

All of these events are declared to be in accordance with the divine will of God. The Lord is omnipotent and perfectly capable of using the plans of even the most wicked individuals in order to accomplish His will. The destruction of this Mystery Babylon leads into the destruction of the physical Babylon described in the next chapter. It is only fitting that with the fall of false religion comes the fall of its fruits.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

The Woe of the Spoilers (Part IV)

"Hear, ye that are far off, what I have done; and, ye that are near, acknowledge my might. The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil; He shall dwell on high: his place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure." (Isaiah 33:13-16)

God calls for an audience. He demands that each be still in the face of the salvation which He is about to exercise upon His people. The sinners of Zion had long rejected Isaiah's reproofs, but they were soon to acknowledge the reality of their predicament.

The Lord asks a timeless question. Who is able to live with the devouring fire and the everlasting burnings? In the face of God's judgment, who will be safe? With turmoil in the city and fear without, who can find peace? The question is answered by the Lord through His prophet; and the answer is as timeless as the question. In any age and in any situation, the man who truly trusts God will be the one who abides these impossible odds. By listing a series of actions performed from the heart, God is teaching a change of works because of a change of heart. As is often the case, the Holy Spirit is not teaching salvation by works but rather salvation resulting in works. This same truth is taught in Ephesians 2:10. "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." Through his lifestyle and speech, the redeemed man displays a change of ownership in his life. By his hatred of money gotten by immoral means as well as his distaste for bribery, he shows a love for people that is impossible to display apart from the implanted love of God. He refuses to sit and to listen to those who plot murder and thievery much less be a part of such atrocities. The exact opposite attitude is seen of those who do not fear God in Psalm 50:18. When some wickedness comes within eyesight, the righteous man turns away. He knows within his soul that his spirit, soul and body belong to God and his actions show it. This passage does not speak well of those who believe that no man's relationship with God may be judged by his attitude and actions.

What is the end reward of such a man? He will dwell securely with God. Regardless of what physical ailments befall him, his soul is safe in the arms of his Messiah. His eternal security cannot be removed or molested by evil. The munitions of rocks carries with it the idea of a strong cliff, the face of which cannot be scaled and the height of which offers a supreme advantage. Such a man will be fed with the everlasting bread and his thirst quenched with everlasting water. Jesus said, "...I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst (John 6:35)." Isaiah's prophecies must have brought hope to the God-fearing. With fear in the city of Jerusalem and certain death in the camp of the Assyrians, the righteous among the Israelites could find a precious refuge in God. If such was the case in Isaiah's day, such is the case now.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The Woe of the Spoilers (Part III)

"Behold, their valiant ones shall cry without: the ambassadors of peace shall weep bitterly. The highways lie waste, the wayfaring man ceaseth: he hath broken the covenant, he hath despised the cities, he regardeth no man. The earth mourneth and languisheth: Lebanon is ashamed and hewn down: Sharon is like a wilderness; and Bashan and Carmel shake off their fruits." (Isaiah 33:7-9)

Hezekiah and his ambassadors would come before God with tears as they witnessed Assyria's invasion in spite of Hezekiah's attempts to turn them away (II Kings 18:14). These prophecies also paint a picture of Israel's future distress at the hands of those who will turn against her in the last days. The highways and byways would be vacant of travelers as the Assyrians marched through the land. The breaking of the covenant may be in reference to Assyria's disregard for Ahaz's covenant of peace (II Chronicles 28:21) and may also include her march toward Jerusalem in spite of Hezekiah's gifts (II Kings 18:14).

In the face of the enemy's oppression, the land of Israel mourns. Lebanon's tall cedar trees are cut down and used for forts and battering rams against the cities thus leaving the glorious forest of Lebanon as a bird without feathers. Sharon and Carmel to the northwest and Bashan to the east across the Jordan were districts of fruitfulness. War is seen taking its toll on these areas and causing reason for the divine wrath presented in the following verses.

"Now will I rise, saith the LORD; now will I be exalted; now will I lift up myself. Ye shall conceive chaff, ye shall bring forth stubble: your breath, as fire, shall devour you. And the people shall be as the burnings of lime: as thorns cut up shall they be burned in the fire." (Isaiah 33:10-12)

God's wrath would arise against the armies of Sennacherib; and in this is pictured the power of His wrath against the future enemy of the antichrist and his kingdom. The efforts of the Jews to deliver themselves from the enemy were as profitable as chaff. Also, the arrogant acts and attitudes of the Assyrians would prove to be the very thing that brought about their destruction. In response to the "fiery breath" of Sennacherib in his letter to Hezekiah, God would send forth His deadly Messenger. The judgment of God against the evils of Judah and the evils of the Assyrians is seen as the fire that devours the helpless thorn.  

Sunday, June 4, 2017

The Judgment of the Great Whore (Part III)

"And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition." (Revelation 17:9-11)

Many believe that the seven mountains represent the city of Rome; however, the context suggests a more reliable interpretation. Each mountain stands for a world empire. Seven kings are mentioned; therefore, this interpretation fits the context. The first empire was Egypt, the second Assyria, the third Babylon, the fourth Persia, the fifth Greece and the sixth Rome. At the time John wrote his vision, five of the empires had come and gone. The sixth, Rome, dominated the earth when John received his revelation sometime near 96 AD. The fall of Rome sometime near 475 AD saw the end of a definitive world power. This left the door open for the seventh empire to arise. That empire is the beast's kingdom or the Revived Roman Empire.

The beast which the woman rides shares a part in all seven heads. He is not a kingdom but seems to represent the power behind the heads. Perhaps he symbolizes Satan himself who has been working behind the scenes in every worldly kingdom constantly battling the plan of God. The seventh king (antichrist) is said to continue only a short space. Daniel said it well when he wrote concerning this son of perdition, "...Yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him (Daniel 11:45)." When the last king falls, the beast falls and there is not another kingdom of man mentioned. The antichrist and the false prophet will be consigned to the flames of hell; Satan will be locked in the abyss; and the earth will once again experience joy under the headship of the Lord Jesus Christ.

"And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast. These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful." (Revelation 17:12-14)

These ten kings have already been seen in the symbolization of the ten horns atop the seven heads of the beast (13:1). These kings will be summoned by the beast, the false prophet and Satan to the well-known Battle of Armageddon (16:12-14). Their reign is very short. For a few moments of power, they will sell their souls to the devil, and they will lose everything. Being horribly deceived, these ten kings will join Satan in a physical attack against God. The biblical impossibility of such a prospect vividly displays the extent to which man's heart can be deluded.

Convinced that they are acting under their own power and that they are capable of subjecting even God Himself, these kings and their armies will hasten toward the valley of Megiddo only to realize that they will fulfill God's plan in so doing. The Almighty has already forecasted these events through His prophets.

Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up: Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong. Assemble yourselves, and come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together round about: thither cause thy mighty ones to come down, O LORD. Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about. Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision (Joel 3:9-14).

Saturday, June 3, 2017

The Woe of the Spoilers (Part II)

"The LORD is exalted; for he dwelleth on high: he hath filled Zion with judgment and righteousness. And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, and strength of salvation: the fear of the LORD is his treasure." (Isaiah 33:5-6)

The Lord sits far above the scorner who lived at Jerusalem or the Assyrian soldier who contemplated invading Judah. He transcends every aspect of man's strength and wisdom. Through Isaiah, the Lord was filling Zion with His judgment. The Law was available for all to read and to follow. Yet, few chose it. The Almighty's return will usher in the age where Christ's judgment and righteousness abound.

Verse six is not well known; yet, it is paramount to understanding the message of Scripture. In the days of Christ's kingdom, the fear of the LORD will be something which is precious to Israel. This is a true fear brought on not by some cruelty on behalf of God's nature but rather by a biblical understanding of one's own wickedness in light of God's holiness. Hezekiah and his advisers had lost sight of what truly mattered. Taking their eyes off of the fear of God, they had placed them upon the Egyptians and all that their armies had to offer. Yet, Proverbs 14:27 stands. "The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death." Nothing has changed today. When Israel's eyes are opened, and she truly understands her wretchedness before a holy Messiah, she will understand the value of the fear of the Lord; and she will find salvation through faith.

Every Christian needs to make the fear of God his very own. Apart from it, nothing good will come. Salvation is found through an understanding of one's own wickedness versus the worthiness of Christ. Fear of eternal judgment and separation from God are inseparable to the salvation experience. If this is true, why is the fear of God not exalted to its proper place in the local church and in the lives of believers? The answer is simple. Such a doctrine does not attract the world to the Christian religion. The truth of coming to God through reverent faith is too distasteful to a shallow evangelism which is focused on winning numbers through preying upon people's emotions and lusts.

It may be asked, What does the fear of the LORD look like? Its profile remains the same in every dispensation. It looks like the man, woman or child who, in the face of rejection by others, remains firm in the commitment to God and His unfailing Word. It looks like the small church whose physical assets may never attain to much yet its spirit is identified by a love for God and others. It looks like the wife whose choices of submission to an imperfect man bring stability and hope to the souls of others (I Peter 3:1-6). It looks like the man who chooses to respond in biblical wisdom rather than in human anger. It is seen in the patient continuance of the believer whose works may never be appreciated by the masses but whose judgment and reward are with the all-seeing God. It looks like the woman who rejects a position of prominence in the secular realm in order that she might be a homemaker for the good of her husband and children. It looks like a peaceful home where the husband, wife and children truly love each other and show that same love to others. It looks like Abraham and millions just like him who left home, family, friends and all that was familiar in exchange for the approval of the Almighty. The fear of the LORD is unmistakeable in its appearance; and best of all, it is timeless.

The fear of the LORD was important in the Old Testament. It will be exalted in the millennial kingdom, and it is demanded in the New Testament; therefore, it should be lived in the heart of every believer, regardless of its lack of popularity. When one chooses the fear of God, a stability unknown to the world is the result. Truly, the firmness of wisdom and knowledge begins with the fear of the LORD.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding (Proverbs 9:10).

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction (Proverbs 1:7).

Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God (II Corinthians 7:1).

And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear (I Peter 1:17).

Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:28-29).

And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters (Revelation 14:6-7).

Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Judgment of the Great Whore (Part II)

"And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns. The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is." 
(Revelation 17:7-8)

John was not left in his astounded state. God wanted John to understand what he saw, and the Lord wants His people of today to understand as well. The events of Revelation are nearer today than when John saw his vision; therefore, the believer has a responsibility to seek out God's help in understanding these things.

The beast, or the antichrist and his kingdom, will experience some type of resurrection. The text makes this clear when is says, "The beast ... was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit... ." Some commentators believe that the antichrist will be a man who dies and subsequently is raised by the powers of hell. This may be. However, this phrase may also refer to the resurrection of an empire that follows the ideals and philosophies of the ancient Roman Empire. Regardless, the text goes on to say, "...and shall go into perdition (destruction)." The resurrection is not unto eternal life but unto eternal death. The antichrist can be raised by the powers of hell, his kingdom resurrected from the fallen fragments of empires gone by; yet the end will be one of eternal damnation.

God is not promoting the doctrine of Calvinism in verse 8. He is simply making it clear that many will refuse the gift of eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ, and He knows exactly who those people are. Nothing takes God by surprise. Those who will choose faith in Christ will not be deceived by the powers of the antichrist; whereas, those who will reject Christ will bring upon themselves irreversible damnation. The foreknowledge of God is able to differentiate between the two people groups long before the actual choice of acceptance or rejection takes place.