Friday, May 8, 2020

Not Your Typical Island Paradise

Imagine a world where there are no cars, no telephones, all the modern conveniences of the world haven't even been invented yet. The mode of transportation is still walking or perhaps a cart pulled by a donkey, goats or camel. There are no drive thru fast food places, in fact the place you are confined to is a small rocky island in the middle of the Aegean Sea called Patmos. This isn't your idyllic island paradise. This place was meant like Alcatraz Island, to be a place of punishment, removed from anyone and everyone you could speak with.

That is how the apostle John was dealt with. As being a follower of Jesus Christ, they had tried everything in order to keep John silent, to keep him from preaching and sharing the good news, of what it meant to follow Jesus. They had tried boiling John in oil but it has as much effect as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego did in the fiery furnace. So they resolved to exile him to the Island of Patmos where he was given a vision by the Holy Spirit which was later written into the Book of Revelation. The first century church was just beginning and they faced a slew of problems one of which was the persecution and murders of Christians for their testimony. They had hoped if they killed all those who had witnessed the teaching of Jesus Christ, they would simply fade away, but as you can tell, it did not. It only grew.

Knowing the background of the setting for John and the time in which he lived, most people believe that the Book of Revelation took place when John was on the island of Patmos in 70 A.D to 90 A.D.. Imagine how a person of John's time might attempt to describe the events he is shown such as nuclear war, or an atomic bombs, or even modern military technology and machinery of his time, how would he have put it into words if he didn't really know what he was seeing. It is important to understand this when reading the Book of Revelation and thus not everything is an exact view of what something might represent, but in comparing what John knew to what he was being shown, we can make some pretty good estimations or possibilities.

Some of the Book of Revelation is written in figurative language, symbols, metaphors or other techniques to describe what he is witnessing and those will be defined as we come across them as well as possible interpretations. I would encourage you as we venture into this study together, to have your own Bible out and follow along. I am in no way an expert but thought you might like to join me in this endeavor and hope we can explore the book together.

The title of the book Revelation means an "unveiling." That those that seek understanding in this book will find it. Taken as a whole, the Book of Revelation reveals quite a bit more than it conceals and those who understand what it is talking about will be blessed by what they find.

Before we begin our study, I would ask you to join me in a word of prayer:

Heavenly Father,

We know so many people fear what is found within the pages of the Book of Revelation, but it isn't meant to cause fear as it is to unveil the very nature of both Jesus Christ, as a loving and just Son of God, the one alone who accomplished what no man could ever hope to do by dying for our sins, leaving behind all His powers in Heaven and coming to earth as a man. After He was crucified, He didn't stay dead, but rose again as both the Scriptures and prophets foretold, on the third day and now awaits his return for His church as well as coming back to Earth. Lord, as we walk through this study together, bless those who journey with us, open and reveal to us all that You want us to see. Let nothing be hidden from our eyes and let this cause us to move, think and act differently in knowing what await us in the very near future for we seek these things in Jesus Name, AMEN!!!

We need to understand that the Book of Revelation is all about the unveiling of Jesus Christ, who He was, who He is, and who He will be, as well as giving us a look into heaven, the Tribulation Period and the wrath of the judgment of God on the world. The primary objective isn't to reveal the antichrist, but to reveal the one true Christ, Jesus Christ.

He is the star and the theme of the entire book of Revelation. Let's begin in Revelation 1:1-8 ~ "The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who testifies to everything he saw - that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near. 


To the seven churches in the providence of Asia:

Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. 

To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father - to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen. 

Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen. 

"I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty." (NIV).

The Book of Revelation is about things that will culminate in the future of the world and the book of Revelation reveals the kingdom of Jesus. It is interesting to note that out of all 66 books of the Bible, this is the only one with a blessing for those who read it and hear it. So why do so many churches avoid teaching on the book of Revelation? I believe there are three reasons.

1. They're scared to teach on it.
2. They don't understand its meaning, so they avoid it.
3. Some believe it's a closed book.

It's put at the end, because it assumes you've read the rest of the Bible. Don't get me wrong, it is important, but not as important at understand Jesus Christ and the message He has brought to a fallen world. In fact, if you haven't read much of the Old Testament, you might not fully grasp what Revelation is about.  It's the reason, most people don't understand what they read. God restores what is lost in Revelation. It glorifies Jesus.

So why the Book of Revelation?

The Bible is so perfect it drives people crazy! All the details are 100% accurate. In the mind of God's eye, everything is now! We can't understand it, because we live in a timeline.

Isaiah 46:9-10 ~ "Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please." (NIV).

We need to understand that Jesus Christ is coming back!

Acts 1:7-11 ~ "He said to them, "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth." After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. "Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken away from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven." (NIV).

Why do some people get so excited, and so many people get fearful when they hear that Jesus is coming back?  The apostles knew it:

Titus 2:13 ~ "while we wait for the blessed hope - the glorious appearing of our Great God and Savior, Jesus Christ." (NIV).

Jesus, himself even said it, in John 14:1-3 ~ "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. in my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am." (NIV).

Why is Jesus coming back? What are some of the signs indicating that Jesus must come back again?

1. It is indicated by Political Reasons. 

Matthew 24: 3-7 ~ "As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. "Tell us," they said, "when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?"Jesus answered, "Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places." (NIV).

God oversees all the nations. We now have the unified Europe or U.S. of Europe, trying to mimic the U.S. of America. The Antichrist will rise up in Europe, the old ancient Roman Empire. Geo political problems that become so wide spread that there is no apparent answers.

We have to also consider the major players in the Bible in the Book of Revelation as well. cities like Libya, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq as well as Israel. The nation of Israel fulfilled the prophecy in Ezekiel 37 when on May 14, 1948, it became a nation in just one day. The prophecies of Zachariah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel all concern the establishment of the nation of Israel in just one day.

2.  It is indicated by Societal Events - Global/Social Trends.

A. General Lawlessness - in Matthew 24, people simply stop caring about one another. There was a situation in Seattle, Washington where a women was in a car accident, that you know someone must have seen her, and she remained there for a week. No one reported it, it shows a low concern for the value of a human life. I am sure most people assumed someone else would simply call it in, but no one ever did. She could have lived if she would have gotten help sooner. I believe we are seeing this become more prevalent even now. That there is no value on human life any longer. Instead of people holding you up and asking for money, now they simply shoot you and take whatever they want.

B. Racial Divisions (Matthew 24. This is referred to as nation versus nation) Which in the Greek, nation simply means ethnos, so translated it means ethnos vs ethnos. Ethnos is where we get our word ethnicity from. It's a giant wedge in our country even now. We see racial tensions on the rise from the recent killings of 9 black men and women in the AME church by a white teen. We see the constant racial tensions between white policemen and black suspects. Just look at the news recently and see if these are not increasing.

C. Increase in strange flesh in nature or human sexuality.
Homosexuals means sex against nature, meaning that two men and two women can not create an offspring. They would cease to exist if these relationships were allowed to continue. All human life would end after one generation. There will be an increase in abhorrent sexual nature, that destroys nature and race. We now have seen the recent Supreme Court ruling which has not allowed for same sex marriage in all 50 states to be recognized, so this is just the beginning of what will be an increase in this type of sexual nature and perversion with even more vile things being accepted as normal.

D. Refusal to Recognize History.

We now live in a culture that is redefining history. How many people believe now that the Holocaust never happened? In the world? If you take a look at the history books from 1950 and the ones today, you might be surprised at what is being taught but more so, what isn't being taught to our children. People today are questioning if our country was really founded on Christian principles or if the Bible was even allowed in schools. These are being stripped out of what is being taught to our kids. Grab their history book, they are being taught more about the rise of Hitler, and Islam than our founding fathers.

 3. It is indicated by Natural Events on a Grand Scale. 

Matthew 24:7 ~ "Nation will rise against nation, kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places." (NIV). 

The word "famine" means political famines. People will starve to death based on the ruling and reigning of a few. Pestilence, incurable diseases, earthquakes in various places, Jesus said these would be the beginning of sorrows. There have been an increase in the volcanoes, earthquakes, greater frequency and intensity. There have been more killer quakes world wide in the last 6 years than in the last 200 years on record. The science tells us this is already happening. An increase in weather issues, raging seas, super storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, larger storms that are up by 500% in the last 10 years. Category 5 storms are increasing in frequency and intensity as well. People are attributing this to global warming. Check out the latest information from the Weather Channel and see if this isn't happening. In France alone 3000 people have died just from the heat.

4. It will be indicated by Satanic Events worldwide.

We see that even now in our nation with the satanic agenda trying to push their materials in the classroom as well as displays in public buildings or events alongside the Nativity displays. There will be an increase in the occult and in the fascination with dark things. Whether this is in movies, video games or television shows, we are beginning to see this more readily accepted. A fascination with evil, weird, macabre, death and cults. They begin to live this out in culture as if it were becoming a reality. We see more of this programming on our cable and TV, whereas, a few years ago these shows would have never had a chance of being on public or even cable TV.

5. It will be indicated by a rise in cults or non biblical Christianity more liberal ways of teachings. 

Matthew 24:5 ~ ""Jesus answered, "Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many." (NIV).

They won't necessarily say they are Jesus but will deceive you saying there are other ways to get to heaven besides Jesus. That is not the way to Heaven at all. By saying there are other paths to God besides Jesus. Are we not living in those days now? They all have a different message on how to get to God, who is God really? God doesn't want you religious, he wants you in a relationship with Him.

I will continue more on this study tomorrow and continue more on end time signs on why Jesus needs to return and also what we can do to prepare for this. I hope you enjoyed this study today. Please feel free to leave me comments or to share this study with others. It is a great list to post and watch and see if these things don't continue in frequency and intensity. We will continue more tomorrow. Enjoy and be blessed! Jesus is coming back sooner than we ever thought before.

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