Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Are You a Sinner or a Transgressor?

We have been studying the Book of Revelation and come to another pause in the chronology of the story of God's judgment as it is being poured out upon a Christ-rejecting world. God does this to infuse hope into us at this point because had He not, we might forget that God is merciful, He is loving and He is kind despite the wrath being unleashed. He reminds us that the victory has already been decided by the time we get to Revelation 10:1 to Revelation 11:14, in what is known as a parenthetical pause or insert. A pause button or interlude in the midst of what has been happening and from this point in our study, we know that God has issued a promise that there will be no more delay in dispensing forth His judgment upon the earth.

If you were to read the Book of Revelation from the beginning to this point in our study, you might find yourself a bit mixed up without understand what is happening and why it is happening through a parenthetical insert at this point. It would make sense to understand that confusion as I did when I read through Revelation the first time, without really studying the context and content of what is happening. Now it begins to make sense a bit more and I hope it is for you as well.

Anytime in Bible doctrine, before God sends judgment, He has always sent messengers or an announcement before it happens. He always gives people an opportunity to repent before it happens. I believe that God is sending that message to all of us today, especially in America to turn back to Him and repent of its evil, the church for its laziness, nationwide America is asleep spiritually, and we need to wake up before its too late. We see Christianity under attack like never before, from marriage, to sexual orientation, to privacy issues, in every facet of our lives. It is fine for other religions to stand for what they believe but no where is there more intolerance than when it comes from a Christian perspective. Don't think it will stop there. It will come to your door. Down south, the ACLU recently won a battle to prevent public baptisms from taking place in a city park, and even now in California the debate is on for the issue of privacy in public restrooms, showers and locker rooms to keep boys on their side and girls on their side, despite what gender they might identify with. I can't even imagine how this would even be an issue, but it is. The fight is far from being over. We, as a body of believers, need to stand up, wake up and get to work.

We know as we remember at the beginning of this chapter that there is a debate among scholars on who this mighty angel is in the first verse. Some commentaries would argue that it is Jesus, while still others believe it to be Michael, the archangel. We are missing the point however, the message or the origin of the message comes from heaven. This messenger is of divine origin. Who it is is irrelevant, it is the origin of the message that is important.

We know based on the description found in Revelation 10 about the appearance of this mighty angel that this is where so many scholars believe that it is Jesus. His face like the sun, his legs like fiery pillars, robed in a cloud with a rainbow above his head. No one knows the answer for sure. When God desires to speak to man, He speaks from above. We saw that through the prophets and the fathers of the faith before us. We saw it when Jesus was baptized and the Holy Spirit came down and the Father spoke from above. We know that when Jesus was born, the angels descended from heaven and that they spoke.

Not only does the angel have a divine description, he also has a divine duty. Before he speaks his message, we have to note his posture. He puts one foot on the land and one foot on the sea, holds his hand up to heaven and swears an oath unto God. We know that only God can keep His oaths, man is not able. We need God's help to remember our promises we make to Him. We need to be dependent on The Promise Keeper. When God promises something, He will always keep His Word. When God swears an oath, you know that He will keep it. The angel is standing in a position of great authority.

We learn that what John sees and hears at this point in Revelation, he is commanded not to write down or speak of. We will not know what this means, what he heard. Despite the many commentaries written about what they think it might be, the only ones who will know for certain what it is, are those living on the earth during the final years of the Tribulation Period. It's not for us to know. We know that this messenger swears on oath on a divine promise from verses 5-8 in Revelation.

Revelation 10:5-7 ~ "Then the angel I had seen standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven. And he swore by him who lives forever and ever, who created the heavens and all that is in them, the earth and all that is in it, and the sea and all that is in it, and said, "There will be no more delay! But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets."

God never changes. Despite what is written in the Bible, we can rely on the things we read and rest in the assurance that God won't change. He remains consistent.

Hebrews 6:17-18 ~ "Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged."

Isn't it wonderful the know what our hope is anchored to? What hope does the world have and to what is it anchored to? People might place their hopes in the stock market, that it will continue to rise, but we all know it won't stay that way. People might hope that despite all their planning that they will stay healthy, but we know at some point, despite all their efforts, they will die one day. Know this that one day all the things of the earth will end eventually.

As a Christian, we don't have to hope as the world does. Our hope is sustained in two unchangeable things, that God the Father and God the Son, swore an oath to save me. That will NOT be broken. Even though I am a sinner, I still have hope in eternity. Jesus Christ paid the price. I couldn't afford the ticket. I get to go, because He said so. Don't take that as arrogant, because it is not about what we can do to get us there, it is all about what Jesus did. I can't save myself, Jesus did that for me. This is why I can be assured that won't hope it will be alright in the end, I know it will be alright in the end. My hope is guaranteed on the basis of the cross, the resurrection, the fact that He ascended back up into heaven, that the Holy Spirit arrived on the day of Pentecost to assure us that Christ arrived in heaven, remember He said when He got there, He would send us the promise of the Father. If you're a Christian, we know that the Holy Spirit lives inside our heart.

If Christ comes back to day to rapture the church or I die today, I know I am going to heaven. I have that 100% assurance by my faith in Jesus. Now let us understand the "mystery of God."

Colossians 2:1-2 ~ " I want you to know how much I am struggling for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally. My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely Christ,"

It's that Jesus Christ, alone, saves us.

Ephesians 2:5-9 ~ "made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions - it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast."

Notice it doesn't say sin? It says transgressions. If sin is bad, transgressions is worse if you could place a meter on it. Sin in the Greek, means to miss the mark. It's an archery term taken from the Olympics. When he pulled out his arrow and missed the target, he was called a sinner. Back then, no one got offended and went back home. He simply didn't hit the target, he missed the mark. Now when we think we are doing things our way, living life to the best of our own expectations, doing what we think God wants, it is the Holy Spirit who calls out to us, "Sinner!" We might say we will pray more, attend church more, live up to the 10 Commandments better, but each time, the Holy Spirit calls out to us, "Sinner!"

For a transgressor, it is like this, God draws a line in the sand, God hands us His Bible and tells us for example, not to have sex before marriage. It will mess you up both spiritually and physically. We see the line in the sand, we know that it was placed there by God for our own benefit because He knows what is best for us, and we take our own will into consideration and cross the line, willfully knowing what you are doing is wrong, but you do it anyway. It's not that you missed the mark, you saw the line, knowing what it meant, and basically said, "I don't care," and walk over it anyway. Your will not God's. That is transgression.

Jesus died for us even when we were transgressors, 2000 years ago. For both sinners and transgressors alike. The Old Testament called transgressions "sins of the High Hands," or to boldly sin against God. You know what you are doing is wrong. It's our sin nature and we are rebels without God's control in our lives. We love to admit that we are sinners, but I wonder how many of us would admit that we are transgressors. We demand our own way and that is the problem with the world today. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

What Does a World Look Like Without God In It?

When you look around at the world, especially in the coming end times, and all you see is chaos and confusion, it is hard to look at it all and wonder is Jesus really in control? We don't even have to be in the Tribulation Period for people to wonder, "Where is Jesus in what I am going through? Be it relationship issues, health issues or anything else we find ourselves struggling through just to make it to the end of the day. You have to remember that God is omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient. That is He is all knowing, all present and all powerful. Even though when it looks to us that things are going crazy, God is there.

When we look at today's study into the Book of Revelation, we can see that God is still in control but this is what happens when man tries to do things without God. This is a world out of control because God has been rejected and put on the back burner. This is man being at the helm and saying we are going to do this without God. Now man is reaping what he has been sowing.  God is always in control. When we tell God we don't need Him in our life anymore, is it any wonder when He stands back and lets things happen in hopes that you might learn something from it? However, He is still very much in control of what is happening, despite how you might feel about it and Him!

God's timing is always perfect even though at times it doesn't feel like it. When you pray for someone to be healed and they aren't. When you pray for the perfect someone and they choose someone else. When you pray for a job so you don't lose everything and God doesn't come through. Sure it's easy to be angry at God during those times. He is the Lord and you are not. He created all things and you didn't. God is in control of all of our days. He is perfect in all that He does. He doesn't consult with us when He does something. He knows exactly what is right at the right time. We may FEEL like God has somehow taken a break and He isn't with us, but He is. We just need to make sure that our emotions do not dictate to us our theology.

As we continue this morning with our in depth look into Revelation 10, remember this is a parenthetical insert to put a break in the story line of what has been happening up to this point in order to infuse hope into this bleak situation. To remind us as it were, that God is still in control! This is a future vision. John is being given this ability to see into the future, a break in the events to remind us who the truly victor is in this situation as we have a mighty angel standing on the land with one foot and the sea with another, in a victory stance. It translates absolute dominion.

Revelation 10:3 ~ "and he gave a loud shout like the roar of a lion. When he shouted, the voices of the seven thunders spoke."

Proverbs 19:12 ~ "The king's wrath is like the roaring of a lion,"

Joel 3:16 ~ "The LORD will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem; and the earth and the sky will tremble. But the LORD will be a refuge or his people, and stronghold for the people of Israel."

Jeremiah 25:30 ~ "Now prophesy all these words against them an say to them: "The LORD will roar from on high; he will thunder from his holy dwelling and roar mightily against his land. He will shout like those who tread the grapes, shout against all who live on the earth."

Revelation 5:4-5 ~ "I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. Then one of the elders said to me, "Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals."

 This vision John is having might just be Jesus as He stands triumphant over dominion over the world and reminding us that He is in control. The revelation of God to man is simply overwhelming. Many scholars agree that Psalm 29 makes the connection of seven descriptions of when God roars. When God roars it's powerful, mighty, merciful, and that the earth shakes. It even makes a reference that when God roars the deer give birth.

Job 37:1-5 ~ "At this my heart pounds and leaps from its place. Listen! Listen to the roar of his voice, to the rumbling that comes from his mouth. He unleashes his lightning beneath the whole heaven and sends it to the ends of the earth. After that comes the sound of his roar; he thunders with his majestic voice. When his voice resounds, he holds nothing back. God's voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding."

Psalm 29:3 ~ "The voice of the LORD is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the LORD thunders over the mighty waters."

When God takes a break, He prepares to fulfill His word to mankind with a sealed message.

Revelation 10:4 ~ "And when the seven thunders spoke, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven say, "Seal up what the seven thunders have said and do not write it down."

We won't know what was said, even though John has clearly heard it. John is allowed to write everything down he sees except for this.

Deuteronomy 29:29 ~ "The secret things belong to the LORD, our God."

There are some that will study this all day and night but the point is, you will never know. God didn't want us to know. This means that God knows more than what He has told us. That's really an affront to us because we want to figure it all out. We want to know all the answers. God says, "Too bad, I'm not going to tell you." Whenever something happens in your life and mine that we don't understand, you want to spare yourself some grief, stop trying to figure it out. Press the default button. You know what the default button takes you in life, because default takes you to the nature of God. His nature is merciful, gracious and kind. Keep going on, this too shall pass. Keep moving forward despite how you feel and remember what you know about the nature of God. He is kind, loving, gracious, merciful, and is good to us, when we can't figure things out.

All we know is that this context demands that it has something to do with the great Tribulation Period to come. That it is administered by Jesus Christ, and that is prepares the way for the final trumpet blast to come. What's withheld, cannot be good for a Christ-rejecting world.

Matthew 24:21-22 ~ "For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now - and never to be equaled again. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened."

He prepares to fulfill His word with a sworn promise. He has done so with His sealed message.

Revelation 10:5-6 ~ "Then the angel I had seen standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven. And he swore by him who lives forever and ever, who created the heavens and all that is in them, the earth and all that is in it, and the sea and all that is in it and said, "There will be no more delay!"

This proves however that this angel is not Jesus because he swears an oath to God in heaven. Don't move so quickly. It states in Genesis and in Hebrews that when God could not swear an oath by none greater, He swore by Himself.

Is anyone struggling with legalism in your Christian experience? If you struggle with performance, He doesn't love you any more or less than if you prayed today or not. God doesn't love you more because you gave a $100, or less because you gave a $1. It has nothing to do with anything. It is the wrong equation here. God loves you. Jesus died on the cross for you. When God really wants to make an everlasting deal, He never leaves it open to humans. Case in point, Abraham! God tells Abraham to make an offering. Put the offering on top of the altar. Sacrifice it to Me! I will make with you a covenant that is everlasting. Read Genesis. What is the covenant that is everlasting? That the just shall live by faith. That justification comes by faith, not by works, not by performance,.

You might argue that Abraham offered up the offering. God told him to do it, Abraham put it on there and now Abraham is waiting. He is waiting on God, keeping the birds off the offering and God sends upon him a deep sleep. He is now out, sleeping. At the moment of the contract, while Abraham is sleeping, and because God could not swear by anyone, He swore by Himself in agreement. He fulfilled the covenant with Abraham. He passed between the offerings for an everlasting agreement. I love it! What did we have to do with it? We were sleeping in our sins when God made the deal.

Fast forward 2000 years, Jesus died on the cross for our sins. What part did we play in it? Only this, we put Him on the cross. My sin put Jesus on the cross. Your sin put Jesus on the cross. 2000 years ago, He went to the cross with me and you on His mind. With us on His heart. Not condemning, Not angry with us. Not shaking His fist at us. The Bible says, it was for the joy set before Him endured the cross and despising its shame. He went there for you and I, He died there for you and I, and He made a deal with the Father, that if He fulfilled the law and offered up His sinless life upon the cross, the deal would be this: That all those who put their trust and faith in Him, will not perish, but have everlasting life. God the Father said, "That's a deal!" They shook or swore to one another an oath, a binding agreement regarding your salvation.

Regarding our salvation it is not laid up in any earthly temple, synagogue, mosque or church, It is laid up in heaven before the throne of God pastored by Jesus Christ, Himself, where neither moth, nor rust nor thief can break in and steal. That is why as Christians, we have our treasure stored up in heaven. Because our salvation can not be taken from us, because Jesus not only purchased it, He has empowered it, and guaranteed it by dying on the cross, being resurrected from the dead, and ascending back into heaven and ministering to us on our behalf, as our Great High Priest. That is a wonderful oath by which God has sworn by Himself. God has sworn this promise.

Now He promises that there is no longer a delay. What is this a connection to? It takes us back to Revelation 6 when the souls that were under the altar, those that had died during the Tribulation, and they were waiting on God, asking Him how much longer would it be before the rest of our brothers and sisters die for their faith? The announcement came to them to wait a little longer. Hold on until the believers who die during the Tribulation period for their faith can join you.

God is now saying, It is done! No more delay. Let's get this show on the road. Let's end it. It's over. Those that have died during the Tribulation period have died. It's now time to put an end to the seven-year Tribulation Period after Revelation 11:4.

2 Peter 3:3-4 ~ "First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, "Where is this 'coming' he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation."

2 Peter 3:7-9 ~ "By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: with the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."

God prepares to fulfill His word to mankind with a solemn oath.

Revelation 10:7 ~ "But in the last days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets."

Tomorrow we will discover what the mystery of God is as this closes our study for today. I'll give you a little hint. Are you right now a Christian? One of the facets about the mystery of God is that God would come to earth and save sinners. You might not think that is such a big deal, but when you realize how holy God is, it's a big deal. When you realize that you and I have no access to heaven, outside of Jesus Christ, it's a big deal. When we realize that as the Bible says, that we were born into sin, that we have to be delivered out of it. We are all S.I.N.+  We all sin! We look at the rules and think those are good rules. Who can argue that we are to love the Lord God with all our soul, mind, heart and strength. Is that not a good rule? Is that not reasonable? Even the evolutionist would say, if they believed in God, that sounds reasonable.

What about this one. You shall not murder. You know that is a really good rule. Even the atheist would have to agree that it is good not to murder anyone. We'd all agree this is a good rule! Most of us would say we have done really good with that one, the first one, maybe not so much, but this one, yeah, they can handle that one. You begin to look at the 10 commandments and think you've done pretty good for the most part. The problem is that you can't pick and choose parts of it.

Think of it this way. Imagine climbing up a chain of links, you're almost there and then just at that last moment the final link breaks and you fall. You might think that isn't fair, after all you climbed all those hours and passed all those other links, but let me as you this, how many links does it have to take for you to fall? Just one! The Bible says, we have ALL broken the law of God. The whole human race stands before God in need of saving. You can't give money to get saved. You can't do things to get saved. You have to trust in Jesus Christ, who saves YOU! Jesus said, all those who comes to Me, I will not turn away. The Bible says if you come to Him with your sin, He issues you His righteousness. It's FREE! Not by any works of our own that we might boast of, but through faith in Jesus Christ.

There are those who put their trust or confessions on world things or through an earthly priesthood or in some earthly sanctuary. It could be money, fruit, meat or a confession. It's not about that. Isn't it interesting to consider that the entire time Jesus was here on earth, He never once went into the Temple? If it would have been such a big deal, Jesus would have gone in there. He always stayed in the perimeter of it, and it wasn't until His last week, that He went to the steps of the Temple but He never went in. If doing religion saves your life, then why didn't Jesus do religion and show us how to do it. He abandoned that action, because if He went in, He would have been able to go into the Holy of Holies, but He avoided it. Why? Because that building was desolate of true worship. Corinthians tells us that the true temple of God is no longer built with human hands but as believers, our bodies become the temple of the living God. Isn't it awesome that when the temple fell down to the ground during the 5th Roman Legion in 70 A.D., that your salvation didn't go down with it? It has nothing to do with our salvation!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Is God Still Using Angels Today?

Most people when taking in the books of the Bible might rate the Book of Revelation as the most confusing followed up by probably the Book of Isaiah. However if you dig a bit deeper you will find that the Book of Isaiah is much like a mini-Bible within itself. The first half deals with the judgment of God's wrath against the nations of Judah and Israel and the later part with God's grace and mercy for His people. There are 66 chapters within the Book of Isaiah, much like there is 66 books within the Bible. Like any good Bible study, you need to understand the context of what is happening, and thus the reason for all of us to own a really good study Bible. They will break up the paragraphs and break up the chapters and they really help you. It is a worthy investment and they are not cheap. Think of it this way, 10 visits to Starbucks, can buy you a world class Bible! It will really help you go through all the books of the Bible in a whole different way!

Today's study will touch on the fact of whether God is still using angels today. We know that is very true as the Book of Matthew and Hebrews tells us that angels are His ministering spirits that He has sent forth, the Bible says, to minister to the heirs of salvation. We might make light of the fact about guardian angels in light of movies like It's A Wonderful Life and Clarence the angel who helps George Baily. Yet the Bible tells us that as believers in Christ, we have a least one angel that has been dispatched to our care. The second point is that Jesus tells us according to the Scripture how we treat children for example, for their faces (the children's) are represented before heaven, by their angels. Peter reminds us how we treat strangers that come into our life, because unknowingly you could be ministering to an angel. That is so sobering. Imagine how many of us have met homeless people who could have been angels testing our benevolence or in a hospital?

According to the Book of Revelation, it is only going to increase and the angelic mission is clearly defined from the Bible. It's a though the veil between the physical realm and spiritual realm is pulled back and their impact one another like never before. So why then do some scholars confuse the mighty angel we see in Revelation 10 with that of Jesus Christ. It might be because the word here for angel is not the same as an angelic being with wings, it means a messenger sent from heaven to make an announcement. It is not necessarily an angel like Michael or Gabriel. Whoever he is, he is one dispatched from heaven, with an announcement to be given to earth. That is all we know about him at this moment.

We also know that the word for angel means a created being from heaven with wings but also from the Old Testament, we have the word theophany or a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus Christ before Bethlehem's manger. Christ appeared before Abraham and Joshua for example, and He was announced as the angel of the Lord. In Revelation, in the opening chapters 2 and 3 it says, "to the angel at the church of Philadelphia..." We know that angel is none other than the pastor of the church of Philadelphia back then in the time of Christ. So the word has a broad application. So who is this? Let's keep studying.

We know that the message is by divine delivery no matter who it is. When we see the word "another mighty angel" is means another angel of a different kind. So he is somewhat of a great order other than your run of the mill angel. Not that any angel if we saw it today would be run of the mill. If we were able to see one, we might just pass out. When Daniel saw an angel he got sick to his stomach and had to lay in bed for many days. Lets just explain it this way, if we have another angel of a different kind providing a message by divine delivery, let's just call this one the L.A. Times. That is a messenger of a different order. But if someone comes to your door wearing a Federal Express uniform, that is still a message coming to you from a different order or from a different dispatch.

This angel is a different from the L.A. Times and the Federal Express as it is from the run of the mill angel. I think you understand this now. Notice his origin. He comes out of heaven. When God desires to provide a message to mankind, His origins are always from heaven. Always. God speaks to Abraham!

Genesis 22:11 ~ "But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, "Abraham! Abraham! 'Here I am', he replied."

God speaks to Moses from heaven. 

Exodus 3:2-5 ~ "There an angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, "I will go over and see this strange sight - why the bush does not burn up." When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, "Moses! Moses!" And Moses said, "Here I am." "Do not come any closer," God said, "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground."

What made that ground holy? The person that was in the burning bush which was the LORD. His title was the angel of the LORD. What is the title of the angel of the LORD in the Old Testament? It is none other than the LORD Almighty, Jesus Christ. A pre-incarnate appearance before Bethlehem. When God spoke to the prophets what did He say?

Hebrews 1:1-2 ~ "In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by His Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through who he made the universe."

When God spoke to the apostles, what did He say?

Matthew 17:5 ~ "While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my Son, whom I love, with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!"

 When God speaks to mankind, He speaks from above.

Luke 3:21-22 ~ "When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven opened up and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: "You are my Son, who I love; with you I am well pleased."

God's messengers deliver a message from heaven. When God speaks, it comes from above. When God sends His messengers to mankind, it is also a messenger of divine description. This is what causes scholars to think that this messenger is someone other than just another angel.

Revelation 10:1 ~ "Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven. He was robed in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head; his face was like the sun, and his legs were like fiery pillars."

This is truly an awesome description of this divine messenger. "Clothed with a cloud," that connects us immediately with whoever this person is, he is in great association with the Lord, himself. When God spoke to Moses, Mt Sinai was covered with a cloud. Not only that but when God watched over and protected the children of Israel in the wilderness, He manifested Himself as a cloud by day. On the Mount of Transfiguration, when they saw Jesus transfigured, what descended from heaven and covered them all? A cloud of glory. At Jesus' ascension when He went back up into heaven, what received Him into heaven? A cloud. At the Rapture of the church, what is going to happen when Christ comes? We are going to be caught up into the Lord's presence in the cloud. At the Second Coming, how it that going to look? The Bible says that Christ will come with the church and His angels with Him in the Second Coming in a cloud. The Lord is always in association with clouds.

Matthew 26:64 ~ "Yes, it is as you say," Jesus replied. "But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven."

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 ~ "For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever."

Daniel 7:13 ~ "In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence."

Matthew 24:30 ~ "At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory."

Then it says that he has a rainbow around his head. When we get to heaven we will be given eyes to see spiritual things. God is revealing this for John to see right now. God promises to never judge the world again without mercy as we see in Genesis.

Genesis 9:13-14 ~ "I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth, and the rainbow appears in the clouds,"

Revelation 4:2-3 ~ "At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow, resembling an emerald encircled the throne."

The cloud in association with the Lord, and the rainbow in association with the Lord. We see the connection. We can also understand why there would be some confusion between this being a run of the mill angel or the Lord, Himself. "His face was like the sun,"

Revelation 1:13-16 ~ "and among the lampstands was someone 'like a son of man,' dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his moth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance."

We remember the seven lampstands is the manifestation of God's presence among His people from the first being in the tabernacle and then here in Revelation where we find that Jesus walks among them being His church.

Matthew 17:2 ~ "There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light."

We remember before in Revelation 1:15 that "His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace," He sends His messengers to mankind, a message for divine duty.

Revelation 10:2-3 ~ "He was holding a little scroll, which lay open in his hand. He planted his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, and he gave a loud shout like the roar of a lion. When he shouted, the voices of the seven thunders spoke."

What is with the little book or scroll. This is a bit technical. You shouldn't be so focused on the placement of his feet or even the little scroll or book, is that it is open. Did you catch that? You might want to circle that in your Bible. The word implies that the book in heaven, this angel who has this book is not open. It is a book that is secret, that is held by God, it is a book that when it is opened has things in it that we are not allowed to know. God won't answer these questions we have about the book even though the Bible has all the answers. No matter what footnotes you might have in your Bible, no one knows about the little book. Nobody. Someone once said that only Seventh Day Adventists know what the book says, but they are not allowed to tell anybody what it says. Don't believe it. Read the Bible. It says that no one knows what is in the book.

Now we come to a bit of history. Whenever a general conquered another empire in a battle, they would take the general of the empire they defeated and lay him down and stand on his neck and declare victory. John would have understood this term that he is seeing an angel stand on the sea and on the land, what is he declaring? Absolute victory and John would have known this. He is announcing absolute victory of the rule and reign of the dominion by God. Even Jews who know their history who read this would understand what this means.

God gives us this break because as we have been marching through our study into Revelation, it has been pretty heavy. It might have even scared some people to unlike my Facebook page or unfriend me because they don't like what the Bible has to say about these events of the end times. He gives us a break in the story at this point to infuse hope, grace and mercy into those that are reading this. That is the very reason why some churches don't teach on the Book of Revelation, it isn't exactly a church growth builder but remember it is the only book of the Bible that offers a blessing to those that read and hear its words. This portion of the Bible is all about hope because our God is a God of hope, grace and mercy.

For those of you reading this today, that might feel hopeless, let me pray for you.


Whoever this person is that is reading this today, and they feel like they are at the end of their rope. Maybe it's their marriage, their kids, the sacrifice of their jobs, or another issue that only You know that they are dealing with. We pray that you would bring healing to their situation, healing to their relationships, health to their body, and God, peace and comfort to their soul. God, we are trusting right now that You will take this and You will touch the person who is reading this right now, who is crying out to You right now, saying "Dear God please intervene in my life, please help me now." And Lord, I have no doubt that You will speak to them, because that is the kind of God You are! In Jesus Name, AMEN!!!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Why Does God Pause in the Midst of His Judgment?

What we are about to see in today's study is the culmination of God's wrath on earth as He has announced through all the prophets. We are going to slow this chapter down a bit and I hope it will bless you as it has me in taking time to be sure that we are getting out of this chapter all that God has revealed in it. What God has written, He has written for a reason. Never apologize for the Word of God.

As we get into studying Chapters 10 all the way through Chapter 11:14, we have encountered another parenthetical pause in the Book of Revelation. If you remember from when it happened before, a parenthetical pause is simply a break in the flow of events, like pushing pause on your DVR so you can gain some much needed insight before continuing on to help you understand what is going to be happening next as we continue on in our study. God now turns to John to give him some key data before continuing on in the vision He has been showing him of end time events. We have paused in the midst of the trumpet blasts waiting on number seven which will be the culmination of the Great Tribulation Period. This is introducing us to the closing days of the Tribulation Period.

God has taken a break not because He needs it or because He gets tired. God is waiting or taking a break to give others a chance at redemption. Imagine if God came back for His church 5 years ago, would you have been with us or would you have been left behind? What about 10 year ago? 25 years ago? God has a plan in delaying the coming judgment at this point. He is giving others a chance at redemption before Jesus returns. God knows the timing and when He will bring it all to a close.

If people were to interview you about your testimony, what would it be? Would it be grand on a scale like most believe their initial salvation experience should be or was it simply a quiet not so much impactful event, meaning you didn't really feel anything at that moment? Some of you simply grew up in a Christian home your whole life and suddenly one day it just clicked for you. God reaches us all in various ways and through different experiences. The one thing we can all agree on is there are times when we read the Bible that it cuts it right to our heart. Where God begins to extract bad thoughts, sins in our life or places we need to change in our life at that moment. Then there are other times when we read God's Word and it's a cutting that heals us. It brings healing, and joy and excitement.

Chapter 10 is that scene where it brings bitterness and also a sweetness at the same time. You might ask yourself how can that be?

Hebrews 4:12-13 ~ "For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to diving soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account."

Psalm 107:19-20 ~ "Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He sent forth his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave."

Revelation 10:1-11 ~ "Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven. He was robed in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head; his face was like the sun, and his legs were like fiery pillars. He was holding a little scroll, which lay open in his hand. He planted his right foot on the seal and his left foot on the land, and he gave a loud shout like the roar of a lion. When he shouted, the voices of he seven thunders spoke. And when the seven thunders spoke, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven say, "Seal up what the seven thunders have said and do not write it down." Then the angel I had seen standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven. And he swore by him who lives for ever and ever, who created the heavens and all that is in them, the earth and all that is in it, and the sea and all that is in it, and said, "There will be no more delay! But in the days when the seventh angels is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets." Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me once more: "Go, take the scroll that lies open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land." So I went to the angel and asked him to give me the little scroll. He said to me, "Take it and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour, but in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey." I took the little scroll from the angel's hand and ate it. IT tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour. Then I was told, "You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings."

Tremendous words but what does it all mean? Do you want to understand the Book of Revelation? You could attend seminary for a year and you might not get to this point, so I am going to save you a lot of time right now. What do you need to do to understand the Book of Revelation? Read the Old Testament. The Book of Revelation assumes that by the time the audience gets to this point in the Bible, that this people have already read the Old Testament. You'll never understand the Book of Revelation without reading the Old Testament. You can go from Genesis to Malachi, skip the New Testament and go directly to the Book of Revelation and it will dovetail beautiful into the Old Testament. To the Jewish mind, the Book of Revelation is very very reminiscent of the Old Testament. God intended it that way.

So when we read things about the angel standing on the land and on the sea, the book being opened, John eating the scroll, what does all that mean anyway? It won't until you read the Book of Ezekiel and come across the part where God told Ezekiel to read the book and eat it. Ezekiel said it tasted good but it turned my stomach sour. We need to understand what sweet and sour means and why! It will apply to the coming days.

We as Christians have this to boast about. That our God is merciful, loving and kind. The Bible says He is not willing that any shall perish but that all should come to eternal life. We are going to be studying in future posts all about the love of God, the advent of the Antichrist and his agenda and it will move you. You will be shocked to find out about the bitterness of God's Word and in this respect that is forthcoming the Bible says to those that are dwelling in this world. The Bible says that the world we be deceived by a conglomeration of many religions, a mating together of religions, a decrease or death in Christianity during that period of time. A decrease in God's people in the earth. They will die for their faith. Their will die for their faith by beheading. We might have not understood that meaning years ago when we lived in a civilized world and to think it would not be possible to imagine a time where people would adopt killing their opponent or enemies by beheading.

If you google beheading in your search engine and hit return, you would be surprised by the exponiental number of religious persecution in the world and that culminates in one act. Guess what it is? Beheadings! It is the greatest way of religious persecution in the world today. Throughout areas of Africa, the South Pacific, the Middle East, and now the FBI is taking a look at the number of beheadings that are taking place in America and they are looking at the connection between religious belief and beheadings.

The Bible says that when the Antichrist comes on the scene, his implementation of global persecution against the Christian or Tribulation believer will be beheading. Don't believe me, check it out yourself. We live in a very strange age my friend. Just know this. The Bible is never wrong and it will never be wrong. What it says, it will happen. Know this. Our God is a God of peace. Our God is a God of love. Our God is a God of grace. In this chapter, He pauses to bring us hope. He pauses to speak a message.

1 John 3:16 ~ "This is how we know what love is; Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 

John 3:15-17 ~ "That everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved that world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."

This is important. The God of the Bible wants you to have eternal life. When God takes a break, He sends His messengers to mankind. God is so faithful, whenever He takes a break from judgment He sends His messengers to mankind. He will always make an announcement. A message by divine delivery.

Revelation 10:1 ~ ""Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven. He was robed in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head; his face was like the sun, and his legs were like fiery pillars."

You can pick up all kinds of commentaries and books, and the audience, the classroom and the teacher are divided on who this "another mighty angel" is. We don't know who he is. The speculation is that some say he is a mighty angel and that is all that he is. We know that throughout scripture that there are descriptions of mighty angels, powerful angels, ranking of angels in power, ranking of orders of angels which we have studied before. Other scholars have said, that this "mighty angel" could in fact be Jesus Christ, Himself. Most of those scholars who have stated this are quite liberal ones and in fact some cults have said this is Jesus as well.

It is not Jesus not it is a type or rank of angel that we have seen in our more recent studies. Even though the description sounds like it could apply to Jesus, it is not Him. It's a different angel but one of a different ranking. We do know from Scripture that God's angels do have various rankings. There are various levels from arch angels, angels, seraphim, cherubim, and others. Michael, Gabriel and even Lucifer are of the highest orders of angels. This is just another mighty angel, an angel that is different from what we have seen so far, higher in ranking, and as we look further into our study, he has a very serious mission to carry out.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A Man Will Do Anything to Justify His Sin!

The question isn't why would a loving God send people to Hell, the question is why would anyone choose Hell over a loving God? Jesus said the same thing in John 3, when he said the reason men won't come into the light is because they love their darkness more than the light. They love their sin more than God. In fact you can give up sinning with regards to anything in your life if you truly are willing to love God more than your sin. Then again there are incredible things people do just because they love God so much like commuting more than 3 hours each way just to attend a church that they like they are truly learning about God in and experiencing that kind of love God spoke about in that church. How far are you willing to go for God?

As Christians we need the daily reminder often at times that the battle we face each day is not a fleshly battle but a spiritual battle and we need to make sure before we even begin our days that we are making sure to put on the full armor of God as Ephesians 6 describes. We talked about this yesterday. To do that is by reading God's Word in the Bible, praying daily, attending church, fellowshipping with other believers, and ministering and sharing the gospel with others when we can. If you are getting beat up in your faith, you need to make sure your armor is on. We are all in a daily battle each day. We are not meant to be islands. If you are going to keep yourself guarded you will never feel the love of God. You will become a big nothing. You'll never experience nothing. You'll never take any risks. You'll never know the power of God. Satan is scared to death of the Word of God if you use it right.

When hell comes to earth, there will be a gross act of rebellion and man's willful independence. Just when you think based on everything we have studied up to this point, you would think mankind would be willing to turn to God and ask for His mercy. With all the stuff happening on the earth, don't you think that they would simply give up at this point? You go from rejecting God to creating your own religion. They say things like, "I don't believe in God, you know the more I think about it, there are more than one road to God anyways." This is true, all roads do lead to God! One day every single person will stand before God. All roads may to lead to God, but only one road leads to heaven!

Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life and no one comes to the Father, except through Me." ~ John 14:6

So what is their rebellion? They are completely independent from God.

Revelation 9:20 ~ "The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood - idols that cannot see or hear or walk."

They have an independence from God and they lean upon demons. These people are deceived. What are you living for right now? "Oh if I just get this new job, or meet the right person and get married, if I live in a nice house..." What does all that imply? You are looking for fulfillment in the type of status you believe you deserve, or one that will finally make you happy. One that will complete the life you always dreamed of. You know what you are doing? You are leaning upon an idol without realizing it. We create our own idols and they don't have to be made out of gold, silver, wood or stone. An idol is anything that can not see you, hear you or walk to you or with you. What we spend our affections on, what is it? That is our idol. What occupies your brain the most? That's your idol. Is it God, then He is your God because He is real. Doesn't make Him an idol, it makes Him God!  He's always real whether you believe in Him or not. When you yield to Him, He is your God. Personal relationship!

1 Corinthians 10:20-21 ~ "No, the the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord's table and the table of demons."

Man centered religion and false worship is what cults and the occult are all about.

Psalm 135:15-18 ~ "The idols of the nations are silver and gold, made by the hands of men. They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but they cannot see; they have ears, but cannot hear, nor is there breath in their mouths. Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them."

What are you trusting in? It is your health? Is it your position? Is it your money? It is your family? Is it your security? Is it your freedom? Is it America? It is failing! Our descendants fled from Europe looking for religious freedom, will you or your children flee from America to look for religious freedom?

Matthew 24:35 ~  Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away."

There's an act of rebellion, mankind's ability to justify himself.

Revelation 9:21 ~ "Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts."

This is a tragic ending to this chapter. Never underestimate man's ability to justify himself. That is what the courtrooms are filled with. There were four things they did not repent of: murder, magic arts, sexual immorality and theft.

Murder is murder. It is a violent society in which murder is conducted in such a way that man will take no thought for human life. We see this happening even now. Remember that by the end of the world this will all be more demonically motivated, and look around now to nations that embrace cults that have a low regard for human life, people dying on the spot, throats are slit, on soccer fields, at half time on MSNBC, people taken out onto the soccer field before the Baghdad invasion in Baghdad, where a father was brought out to the field, on his knees, they slit his throat, threw sawdust over his body and continue to play soccer. True story!  It's happening all over the world. "Oh, he offended Allah, cut his throat!" The Bible says its going to increase and we are seeing it happen more each day.

Sorceries, doesn't mean what you think it does. It is where we get our word "Pharmaceutical or Pharmacies from. You remember back in the day they used to be called drug stores, now they are called pharmacies. It is where drugs or pharmaceuticals are sold. The Bible says that in the last days, they will practice drug use to the point that it will open them up to sorcery, witchcraft, demonism. You might remember back in the 70's people were using all kinds of drugs, LSD, mushrooms, you name it, now today we have new designer drugs of choice.

Satan would say to you, "You know life is tough, you need a break, take some drugs, make you feel a bit better, you deserve it. Try some hallucinogenics because it lets down you will. While I'm showing you a sparkly show, I'm going to sneak into your life. I'm going to move in and take control. The first thing I am going to do is get your hooked. I'm not going to waste my time on you if I can't get you hooked. I need to keep you. Let me get you hooked. Now that you're hooked, let me play with your thoughts. Here's what we're going to do, as you continue to think these thoughts, I'm going to use this as a key to enter your life.

If you have ever talked to anyone who has been on a hallucinogenic trip, they will tell you that they remember seeing some weird stuff. Was it just the drugs or have you now created a gate and a key for the demons to enter your life? Many heavy drug users as law enforcement can back up are also practicing in the occult. Many of them are also possessed. It traffics in that world. By the way, pornography carries the same power.

Sexual immorality? The word is pornia in Greek. It is the disillusionment of sexual order ordained by God. It is a breakdown within the family.

Luke 17:26-30 ~ "Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all. It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking; buying and selling, planting and building. But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all."

Philippians 3:18-19 ~ "For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is their shame. Their mind is on earthly things."

1 Timothy 6:5 ~ "and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and think that godliness is a means to financial gain."

You've seen it all over TV, people of the same gender kissing one another, according to the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah. Remember the Bible is the one saying it, not me. I am not going to have culture dictate my theology. I'm going to have God's theology dictate my culture. My culture is where I live.

Romans 1:18-28 ~ "The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorifed him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in their sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received them in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mine, to do what ought not to be done."

This is what the Bible says. What's the point? We can witness to the fornicator, the homosexual and to the adulterer. According to the true word of tolerance, we need to tolerate them. It means according to Noah Webster's dictionary of 1828, we disagree with them but we allow them to also disagree with us as they disagree with us, a mutual sign of respect toward one another. To mutually agree to respect one another even though we mutually disagree. To those living in those sinful lifestyles, we need to love them and reach out to them because God loves them. But remember Jesus said that all of these things will increase before He returns. We are living in those times where it is happening in our lifetime. If we see these things now, how much worse will it be before Jesus comes back or during the great Tribulation period where so many millions of people will die from their conduct.

It is interesting to note that when England was a Christian nation, it had a wonderful policy regarding those who were condemned to death. They preached the gospel every day for two weeks to that person, 14 days of pure gospel. On the day of their execution, they were asked if they wanted to be forgiven of their sins and accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

2 Timothy 3:1-5 ~ "But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, ungrateful, abusive, disobedient to their parents, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God - having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them."

Jude 1:4 ~ "For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. "

Jude 1:11-19 ~ "Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam's error; they have been destroyed in Korah's rebellion. These men are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm - shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted - twice dead. They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars; for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever. Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men: "See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones, to judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against him." These men are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boat about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage. But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. They said to you, "In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires." These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit."

They had a false religion, false church, false worship and didn't see the need for repentance. "Why repent when I can keep on living the way I want to and cover it up with religion? Never underestimate man's ability to justify himself. People who try to justify that what they are doing is perfectly fine. A person who is caught, will try to go through all kinds of gymnastics to try to justify what they did. Someone who is trying to repent will come back with no conditions. Are you truly repentant or are you simply sorry you got caught?

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Fallen Angels Bound Under the Euphrates River!

We are studying a difficult portion of Scripture today. More difficult than the study itself is the context! Those who experience this chapter in the future will be those who, when the opportunity was before them to respond to the gospel invitation, refused, neglected or mocked the chance to be rescued from hell. Like Felix in the Book of Acts.

Acts 24:24-25 ~ "After some days Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, and he sent for Paul and heard him speak about faith in Christ Jesus. And as he reasoned about the righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment, Felix was alarmed and said, "Go away for the present. When I get an opportunity I will summon you."

Guess what? Felix never called for Paul.

2 Thessalonians 2:11-12 ~ "Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness."

Those of you who think you can put off making a decision to accept Jesus may come too late and God may harden your heart so that you can't make that choice because you simply pushed it off for too long.

The readers of Revelation are being exposed to what God says are demons, fallen angels, these demonic powers, that are bound right now in the spirit realm and they have a geographical location, the Bible says under the riverbed of the Euphrates River, somewhere buried beneath in the spirit realm there are a specific geographical spot where these demons are being held until they are released. The Bible says that they are so bad, that they are currently confined until they are released at an appointed time during the Tribulation Period.

The Euphrates is referred to as the cradle of civilization because on the human side we can trace languages and our human DNA to the location but it appears that God in Genesis is describing creation mentioning the Euphrates River. It may have as well hosted the location of the Garden of Eden.

We see that judgment is God's resource. It's a tool of His. We don't like the term judgment but when it applies to God, He is the ultimate Judge and is Holy and Righteous when He applies it.

Revelation 9:14 ~ "Saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, "Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates."

We know that the Euphrates River is very much a real location. These four creatures are not something you would see. They are not swimming around in the Euphrates River. You can't take dive gear and attempt to locate them. They are bound under the river. You can't take sonar equipment and attempt to locate them. They are there. The Bible tells us they are even if we can't see them. We can't see radio waves, but we know they exist. We know angels exist but we can't see them right now. As a Christian, based on the book of Matthew and Hebrews, we have at least one angel that is assigned to our life right now, regarding the heirs of salvation, and that is us according to the Bible.

There is spiritual for the good and spiritual for the bad entities around us at all times. So much so as what is talking about here in Revelation, when the spiritual world meets the physical world, two worlds in collision.

The Euphrates River is 1780 miles long and is considered to be the most important river in the Bible. It is located in the heart of the cradle of civilization and in the middle of the most oil rich nations in the world. After God created the heavens and the earth, that area in particular was known as the Garden of God. It was so beautiful.  Adam and Eve used to live in that region. Between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers today it doesn't look like much and the environment is horrible. It's amazing to look at what happened when the fall of man occurred and sin entered the world. That region looks like it has been devastated and is a horrible place to be right now. You would think with all the abundance of water that flows from both the Euphrates and Tigris River, that area would be blessed but it is not. Have you ever thought about that before?

Some people have wondered if its not the demonic effervescence or the demonic influence of these four fallen angels that reside under the Euphrates River has an influence over the very topography and climates of that region. It is a stretch but it is interesting to consider. What was actually one of the most beautiful places on the planet is the most horrible place today.

If you are a skeptic, you will have a hard time dealing with the fact that the Euphrates River is mentioned in the Bible from the Book of Genesis all the way through the Book of Revelation. The Book of the Bible deals with facts. The Bible says that there are four terrible, horrible, evil angels that have fallen. They are bound and held under the great Euphrates River until a day of judgment appointed by God. Who are these fallen angels?

Jude 1:5-7 ~ "Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day - just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire."

This is referring to the final 3 1/2 years of the 7 year Tribulation period. The pieces are beginning to fit together. We have angels who once lived in heaven, that sinned and rebelled and were cast out of heaven. We know that four of them are bound in chains under the Euphrates River, and disobeyed and did something that went against their natural habitat. They went somewhere that was not authorized. For this reason, God has bound them up and they are held in chains, they are not free to run around like Satan is. These four are not.

What was the sin of these fallen angels?

Genesis 6:1-5 ~ "When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose. Then the LORD said, "My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh, his days shall be 120 years." The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown. The LORD saw the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually."

He mentioned Sodom and Gomorrah because they were famous for their sin in the Book of Jude. There were angels who disobeyed God and were booted out of heaven. These angels went after strange flesh. In the Greek it was heteros, which is where we get the word 'heterosexual.' What does that mean? It means when two people of opposite genders of the same kind to procreate. The procreation of the same race but different genders. That is a good thing. That is the reason God designed it that way, a man and a women shall become one flesh!

The angels that did not keep their proper domain they got engaged in some sort of sexual deviation and went after strange or hetero flesh. They went after flesh that was not authorized for them. They went after something that was of a different kind. They are who comes out of the ground that is bound and chained in Revelation 9. The sons of God are reserved exclusively for angels if you want to do a further study on just the term "sons of God."

Notice that they "took," in Hebrew means that they mingled with humanity, with the intent to rape, capture or steal them. These women were wives of men and they were taken by these fallen angels for sexual encounters with them. You don't have to go far with Satanism and those who have been a part of it to understand the terms sucubus and incubus which goes back thousands and thousands of years. These are drug induced sexual encounters where a human waits on a demonic entity to have relations with them leaving behind physical manifestations on their body that even psychologists can't explain. These has been going on for at least 6000 years. This is a real dark sinister world.

We know that 120 years later a flood came and washed them all away. If you read about these offspring in Samuel, we know that they had six fingers and six toes on each hand and foot. They were men who stood 9 feet high and plus in height. They were absolute freaks of nature. But they were supernatural of nature. This will happen again during the Tribulation Period.

Daniel 2:40-44 ~ "And there shall be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron, because iron beaks to pieces and shatters all things. And like iron that crushes, it shall break and crush all these. And as you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter's clay and partly of iron, it shall be a divided kingdom, but some of the firmness of iron shall be in it, just as you saw iron mixed with the soft clay. And as the toes of the feet were partly iron and partly clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly brittle. As you saw the iron mixed with soft clay, so they will mix with one another in marriage, but they will not hold together, just as iron does not mix with clay. And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, not shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, an it shall stand forever."

No wonder that this chapter is skipped over more than any other chapter in Revelation. Divine judgment is God's reward for all of humanity that is without the covering of Jesus Christ.

Revelation 9:15 ~ "So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour, the day, the month, and the year, were released to kill a third of mankind."

If you do the math, at this point in the Tribulation, half of the world's population is dead. Remember that this is a very specific day, month, hour and year that have been appointed that during the Tribulation Period this will happen and it is known only to God. God has appointments and God keeps His appointments. These creatures have been waiting for a very long time, to be released to do their mischief, and these fallen angels will stir up an army of demonic combatants with a great hatred for humanity. There's a scene of devastation when a demon army will come to earth.

Revelation 9:16 ~ "The number of mounted troops was two hundred million; I heard their number."  

Don't be mislead by some of the books out there that say that China has an army of more than two hundred million. They do and that's fine. This has nothing to do with an earthly army. This is a demon force. When these four angels will bring with them hordes of demons in an army upon the earth. I still don't believe we will be able to see these things. Remember John was shown them so he might be able to write about them. Imagine being attacked by things you can't see?

We learned that one set of demons will be released to attack and torment mankind for 5 months and then these four will be released along with a demon horde army to kill a 1/3 of mankind. Doesn't that make you glad you're a Christian today? There are those that if you're not a Christian will respond in a number of ways, there are those that will want to know how they can escape this judgment and turn to Jesus, there will be those that reject what is going to happen and say, "What a bunch of fairy tales."  You better watch out. Technology has taken on the look of a fairy tale and if that can happen, can't God through the physical and spiritual world take His apostle John, and try to communicate to us some 2000 years later what its going to be like for those Christ rejectors? For those who remain solidified in their concrete what they will see during this time?

We would hail Spielberg if he was able to portray this on the big screen! God's going to do it for real! He won't get an Oscar for it, instead He is going to get rejected for it.

A demon army is coming and they have supernatural powers.

Revelation 9:17-19 ~ "The horses and riders I saw in my vision looked like this: Their breastplates were fiery red, dark blue and yellow as sulfur. The heads of the horses resembled the heads of lions, and out of their mouths came fire, smoke and sulfur. A third of mankind was killed by the three plagues of fire, smoke and sulfur that came out of their mouths. The power of the horses was in their mouths and in their tails, for their tails were like snakes, having heads with which they inflict injury."

Ephesians 6 tells us that as Christians we are not fighting fleshly battles but spiritual battles. We are all in the battle but if you're getting beat up, something is wrong. You may have ran out of the house without your armor on. Your spiritual armor. How do you do that? Read your Bible, pray, fellowship with God's people, attend church. If you are a Christian today, you may or may not be detecting spiritual battle. If you are coasting and cruising in your spiritual walk and you might be saved and going to heaven, but if you are not a threat to the kingdom of darkness, you're probably not experiencing much spiritual battle. You are not a threat to the enemy.

I guarantee you this, start praying more, witnessing to your friends, get more committed at your church, do something that honors and glorifies the name of Jesus, and the enemy is going to push back. If you don't have spiritual push back in your life, I'd be concerned if I was a Christian. I'd wonder why are things so peaceful and calm. What am I doing wrong? We are supposed to be in a war. We need to put our armor on. When we do that, we might be surprised that our marriage gets a whole lot better, or your kids start understanding more about God. If your Christianity is very calm and peaceful, you want to be out there putting a dent in Satan's door. Stand for righteousness. Do the Bible. Love God with all of your heart, soul, strength and mind. It's a wonderful thing to be battling for the Lord's cause!

Monday, November 16, 2015

No Human Has The Authority To Judge!

It makes you wonder why so many people will LOVE the Antichrist. It begs to ask the question why? He will come at a time in the world when there seems to be a complete bankruptcy in leadership among the nations of the world. He arises when the nations of the world are in financial peril and who are crying for peace and he will have all the answers according to the Bible. He won't just promise answers, he will have them. He will be a political whiz and for 3 and 1/2 years, he is going to look fantastic! This will be the first half of the Tribulation Period, but midway through the seven year Tribulation Period, all his false pretense will begin to be revealed to who he really is to the world.

As we continue into our study of Revelation, chapter 9, we can look at this as simply being a precursor to hell itself. There is a time in the Tribulation that is yet coming, guaranteed by God as a time of judgment that will last 7 years. The first 3 1/2 years is a form of judgment that catches people off guard. Judgment sent by God via a demonic deception, signs, miracles and wonders, peace brought about upon the earth, a peace treaty brought upon Israel for the first time. The Bible also says it will be a time of incredible wealth and prosperity. Ever Christian knows about the Antichrist. The world will not know him as the Antichrist. He will be an incredibly powerful, demonically possessed politician who will implement an economic world system, bring pseudo peace to the world, and the world will love him and will throw their dedication to him. This man is the Antichrist or instead of Christ, impostor Christ, he is Satan's son in a horrible, unholy trinity. You have the first 3 1/2 years, deception, prosperity and world peace. The last half is terrible demonic infestations upon the earth.

I don't believe that man will actually see these demonic entities that are coming upon the earth, I believe that God gave John the spiritual insight to see these things so he could write about them to us in the Book of Revelation. That would just make things worse to the people dwelling on the earth at that time, who have rejected Christ, they won't see these entities but will be inflicted by them, and now as we read this morning 1/3 of the earth will perish at their attacks, but mathematically it brings us from the beginning of the Tribulation to now, half of the world's population will be dead by the elements of judgment during the Tribulation period. 

Who wants to read a message like this? This is the reason many churches, pastors and the like don't even bother with the teaching of the Book of Revelation. But God put it there for a reason for us to read it, understand it and share with others what awaits the world when they reject Christ. It will not be a happy place to be. If you are a Christian this morning, Revelation 9, will not be your fate. You will NOT see these events. If you're not a Christian, you'd better be careful and become a Christian today. Here is one of the reasons why. Every day you keep getting older and you keep saying "No" to accepting Jesus. Everytime you say "No" while God is watching, you begin to pour concrete. Every day you say "NO" that concrete begins to set, until you've reached an age and had so many opportunities to say "Yes" to Christ but you continue to say "No" to Him. Now you are standing in cement that is so hard, because you have rejected Him for so long, that now the preaching of the gospel makes you angry. makes you mad and you won't repent. We will see what happens to those who continue to reject Jesus for too long in our study today.

Revelation 9:13-21 ~ "The sixth angel sounded his trumpet, and I hard a voice coming from the horns of the golden altar that is before God. It said to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, "Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates." And the four angels who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind. The number of the mounted troops was two hundred million. I heard their number. The horse and riders I saw in my vision looked like this: Their breastplates were fiery red, dark blue, and yellow as sulfur. The heads of the horses resembled the heads of lions, and out of their mouths came fire, smoke and sulfur. A third of mankind was killed by the three plagues of fire, smoke and sulfur that came out of their mouths. The power of the horses was in their mouths and in their tails; for their tails were like snakes, having heads with which they inflict injury. The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood - idols that cannot see or hear or walk. Nor did their repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts." 

When hell is unleashed upon the earth, we see their is a demand for judgment. You might not like it but it is holy and it is right. We have a hard time with it because man manipulates judgment and he creates his own form of judgment but judgment is God's divine prerogative. Judgment comes from the hand of God. God exercises judgment. It is His right.

We see that the fifth, sixth and seventh angels are the worse because they deal with spiritual entities that are being released upon the earth. We can say, "that person has judged me or that church has judged me, and quite frankly no human has been given the authority to judge, according to the biblical definition. You need to understand that. We do have a judicial system in this land, established from the Bible by our founding fathers, based on the Word of God. That is why Scripture often says that judges in the Old Testament will name them gods with a little "g." They sit in judgment over people in the place of God. They are not God, they act in the place of God as judges. As believers, when we say we are Christians, we place ourselves in a category in which our lives must be evaluated.

It goes this way, if someone says that they are an Athiest, what do expect from them? Nothing. We can't expect anything out of them. If you tell your kid he is an animal, that he is a by-product of the evolutionary process. It is wrong for you to lay upon him a morality. What's wrong with you? Are you trying to impose an ethic upon an animal. You don't tell your dog to sit in the corner and then tell him, "It's wrong for you to do that. You lied to me. Wagging your tail all the while eating my cookies! You don't expect that out of a dog because he is an animal. If the evolutionary theory is right, and we are all just animals, you can't tell someone what is right and what is wrong.

The truth is that we are not products of an evolutionary process, the truth is that God has revealed to all mankind, that He is holy and He is Judge. You and I look at one another and evaluate each other based on our belief systems, athiest, evolutionist, and we don't expect anything out of them except animalistic practices. But when someone says,  "I believe in God," you put yourself in a category where I do now expect things out of your life. Why? Because you have put your title out there as one who knows God. Now you have an identity. The truth is now, I can evaluate my life and I can evaluate yours. We inspect the fruit of one another's lives. And so we should. That is acceptable.

But we should never judge one another as the Bible says. Why? Because the word "judge" means to condemn. You and I do not have the authority or ability to judge anyone with condemnation. You know what that means condemnation? If someone is on their way to hell by virtue of their belief and practice, we can not say to them , "You are going to hell!" We can say to them, "If you continue like this, according to the Bible, if you die like this, you will wind up in hell!" They can't say to you, 'Stop judging me!'  "I'm not judging you, this Word is judging you. And the Word says that if you die in your sins, then you will inherit hell. That is what the Bible says!" That is a very important thing to keep in mind.

God is the Judge and it is His Divine Prerogative.

Revelation 9:13 ~ "The sixth angel sounded his trumpet, and I heard a voice coming from the horns of the golden altar that is before God."

Do you remember where this is at? That is in heaven, before the throne, do you remember the souls under the altar, remember they are the Tribulation saints who have died for their faith in God in the preceding 3 1/2 years?  Those are the souls that are under the altar, but a voice comes out of the altar. What is this voice? It is none other than answered prayer from Jesus Christ, Himself.

John 5:22 ~ "For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son." 

Revelation 6:9-11 ~ "When he opened the firth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, "How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?" Then each of them was give a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was complete."

These souls are crying out from under the altar, how long Lord before you judge the earth? There is a response, that judgment will come to the earth, your brothers and sisters that are still upon the earth, believing in Christ, during the Tribulation period, they must also die as you have died. Here are white robes of righteousness, wait just a little while longer.

Revelation 8:3 ~ "Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of the saints, on the golden altar before the throne."

We now already know what that altar is all about. Now comes a voice from the golden altar and that voice has instruction.

Psalm 2:2-7 ~ "The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the LORD and against his Anointed One. "Let us break their chains,"they say, "And throw off their fetters." The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the LORD Scoffs at them. Then he rebukes them in anger and terrifies them in his wrath saying, "I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill." I will proclaim the decree of the LORD: He said to me, "You are my Son, today I have become your Father."

Can you imagine governmental leaders setting themselves against God? Who would do that? They gather together in a little huddle from hell thinking about ways to overthrown God. Let's get away from God and remove Him from our society. Kinda of like Nimrod who built the tower of Babel thinking he would reach heaven to talk to God. God's going to laugh at their plans. When people draw lines to battle against God, don't panic Christian! In the end, the LORD gets the last laugh!

The ACLU can remove the Ten Commandments out of a courtroom in America. They have aligned themselves against God. God says, "Don't worry, I'll have the last laugh!" It's not American. It's not Civil. There are no liberties, they are taking them away and it's not even a union. They are crazy. They will come after you if you stand for God! It's normal. But remember that God will have His last laugh. Do not take counsel against God.

Psalm 9:7-8 ~ "The LORD reigns forever; he has established his throne for judgment. He will judge the world in righteousness; he will govern the peoples with justice."

God's judgment against those who oppose Him will be worse than anything you could have ever imagined. The Book of Revelation encompasses Old and New Testament and you read about so many descriptions of God's wrath and when you read about God's wrath in the Bible you need to check the context. Many times it will be speaking about the Tribulation period or what the Bible calls the time of Jacob's trouble or Israel's trouble. This is the wrath of God being poured out upon the earth against a Christ rejecting world.

Here are the parameters and the players: (1) Those that make up the Christ rejecting world, the Antichrist and all those that join rank with him. (2) The Tribulation Saints, the believers we read about in the Book of Revelation, who die for their faith in Jesus. (3) There are those who are of the house of Israel, the Jewish people. The Bible says that there will be a remnant of the Jewish people saved. Those are the three groups of people during that time. Without God's mercy for the nation of Israel, and even for the death of the believer, the Tribulation saint, God's mercy will be upon them. There is no mercy for a Christ rejecting world. They receive the wrath of God.

I can give you a million reasons why you should accept Jesus right now, one of them is because He is God. He is awesome. He is holy. He is your Creator. You'd probably expect me to say, "You might want to accept Him so you don't go to hell, or receive His wrath, of course." But the number one reason you should accept Jesus is He is God and He loves you. He is Creator and His attributes are fantastic! He is omnipotent. He is omniscient. He is omnipresent. It's the goodness of God that leads a man to repentance. God is that good! If it takes the wrath of God, that's the hard route. Better to give your heart to Christ today, and get ready to meet Jesus at any time.