Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Jesus Revealed - Part 6

Today we continue our study on the pre-eminence of Jesus Christ and His revelation from a heavenly perspective found in chapter one of Revelation. If we look at our own lives, who do you look up to? A role model, family member, someone you want to become more like. For most believers, that should be Jesus over anyone else. He is our preeminent focus in life.

Proverbs 30:4 ~ "Who has gone up to heaven and come down? Who has gathered up the wind in the hollow of his hands? Who has wrapped up the waters in his cloak? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name and the name of his son? Tell me if you know!" (NIV).

It's Jesus, and we all need to know Him like that, intimately! We must know Him like that. Going back to Revelation 1:5, "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," (NIV).

We learned in our last study all about the faithfulness of God and Jesus being the witness of that faithfulness through His persistent and perfect obedience to God's will.

Looking at the specifics of what "firstborn from the dead" means, is that Jesus was the first one created before all others and died to be resurrected to never die again. He is the first one to die, be resurrected and will never die again. That is the very reason for Jesus being glorified or begotten meaning He will never see the grave again. People might ask you what proof do you have of this?

The answer is simple, an empty tomb in Jerusalem. The entire Roman empire was present, Jesus's disciples were witnesses of His resurrection again. The book of Hebrews tells us that Jesus died once and for all, never to die again. He is forever and forever faithful.

Romans 8:29 ~ "For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers." (NIV). 

The third thing we pick up in verse 5 is the dominion of Jesus. "ruler of the kings of the earth." (NIV). 

This means the Supreme One, the one who presides over the governments of the world. He is coming back and He will set up his rule and reign of a 1000 years or millennium on earth.

1 Timothy 6:14-15 ~ "to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which God will bring about in his own time - God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, " (NIV).

We learn about King Nebuchadnezzar who was the king of Iraq who later instructs the entire people in the land to worship the God of Daniel, that he made a mistake on whom the people should worship. Imagine that today, of the leader of Iraq said, "Wait, I made a mistake, we shouldn't be worshiping Allah but Yahweh. He is the one true God." Well that is just what had happened in Daniel's day.

The other point to understand in Revelation 1:5 is the love of Jesus for us. "To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood." (NIV). 

Love is just words until it is put to the test. It's not what we here as Christians are, but what we do. It's not just saying we love someone, it's helping them when they are in need. They can then say, they have been loved. To say that someone loved us, means they did it when it counts. It's not just words. In the Greek, the word loves, is translated to "loved" not meaning that God didn't love us at one time, and now He doesn't. It simply means there was a significant event that shows us how much Jesus loved us, and that was when he went to the cross and died for us. Through His death, through the shedding of His blood, to make atonement and to restore a right relationship with us and the Father, through what He did.

When we often hear that Jesus loves us, we might brush it off as no big deal. I mean even some of our family members tell us they love us, but has any of them ever loved you so much that they died for you, in your place? Right when it counted the most in our life. When Jesus died on the cross, He had You in mind, everything you have gone through and will go through, He died for all of our sins. He didn't just talk about it, He did it. Don't let the death of Jesus on the cross become impersonal.

We are ungodly people. Every single one of us. We were all born into sin, the very day we were born. We don't even know we are sinning until we are told, through the law, or through someone telling us from right to wrong. No one had to be taught how to lie, we just knew how to do it. You might be prone to say that no one loves you in this world, because God quite clearly does.

The final point to take away from verse five is the forgiveness of God, "and has freed us from our sins by his blood." (NIV). 

Note the words "has freed us from our sins by his blood." There is no greater promise than this in our entire life. If you add any more to that, you insult the power and grace of God. It's not about being faithful in his commands, because if we break one of them, we break them all. The only way we can get to heaven, is through the forgiveness of our sins by Jesus' blood. It's not about what we do outside of asking Jesus into our life and accepting what He did in that moment. Jesus died for the sins of the whole world.

When you think about the two men on the cross on either side of Jesus, one went to heaven, the other went to hell and Jesus was what separated the two. Don't ever let anyone convince you that God sends people to hell. They make that personal choice on their own to either accept Jesus or to reject him. There is eternal consequences in both.

The final consideration is Jesus' reward, picking up in verse 6, "and has made us to be a kingdom of and priests to serve his God and Father" (NIV). 

Once again it is in the past tense, "he has made us a kingdom and priests" meaning we are in a kingdom of kings and priests, we will rule and reign with Him. We will be learning a lot of great things, we don't know how it will work but that is to come as God works out all the details. Now in regards to "priests" if we look at Revelation 5:9-10 ~ ", And they sang a new song" "You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God and they will reign on the earth." (NIV).

The part of the priests is a mind blower. When it talks about priests, it means our witness to the world and people around us. We have the opportunity to take the peace, love and grace of God, wherever you go. Just like the priests carried the ARK wherever they went, it was taken by the feet of the priests, the judgment, the power, the glory, the mercy, but those who took the presence of God, the ARK into the world. How will people know the love of God outside of the church or the Bible? It is through the witness we have on the way we impact the people we come into contact with us. We are the witness, to carry with us, forgiveness, compassion, love, gratefulness, and thankful to those who need to see Jesus in our own lives.

They will only see Jesus, by us taking it to them, through how we live our lives. Can people watch us in our daily lives and see if we are different from those in the world? Is our life that black and white for God? Can people see our spiritual growth in our life or are we simply just being religious people? We want to make sure it's not about us, our doing, and instead let it be the glory of the Holy Spirit working in us.

Then John gives the ultimate acknowledgment of Jesus in his life, when we see " to him be the glory and power for ever and ever! Amen." John is super excited to know just who Jesus is through His revelation, John is simply exploding with praise for who He is.

Monday we will continue on in our study of Revelation picking up in Chapter 1, verse 7 when we learn about the second coming of Jesus Christ! You won't want to miss this one.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Jesus Christ Revealed - Revelation Bible Study Part 5

I don't think there isn't one Christian who would pass up a blessing if they knew the could get one simply by doing something. To know that simply reading the book of Revelation, God promises a blessing to those who read it and hear it, because after reading the book of Revelation, you can't deny what is going to happen in the world later, what is currently happening and how just by accepting the invitation to know Jesus Christ and to turn your life over to Him, to follow Him, you will be spared from the wrath of God to come upon the entire world. There will be no safe place to run when that time comes. So without further adeiu, let us jump right into our study into the Book of Revelation.

We know that chapter 1, into the Book of Revelation is all about the unveiling of Jesus Christ, thus the reason for the title, Revelation which simply means revealing, and in this case it is all about Jesus Christ. There are only two places where God promises blessings, the first in the book of Revelation for those who read and hear its words and for those followers of Jesus that give from the heart financially God promises to bless those funds and make them multiply. Let us not confuse that with every dollar you give to God, He's going to turn around and give you $10. That is not giving with the right motives in mind, that is giving with the expectation of getting monetary blessings in return. God has quite a few ways He can do that, one is blessing you with more money, but often times it is through other ways.

Today we will pick up our study back in Revelation 1:4-11 but will be focusing on primarily verses 5 and 6. But let us take the entire message into context first and it helps to refresh where we were at in our study.

Revelation 1:4-11~ " John, To the seven churches in the province 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."

I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. On the Lord's Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, which said: "Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea." (NIV). 

The entire intent in this chapter is that through John's letter, the intent of God, the Father is revealing the deity, the reality and the ministry of His Son, Jesus Christ. Far too often we tend to view the Bible wrongly due to our Western influence. We perceive the Son, to be someone quite less than the Father, because that is our culture. It's our fault and unlike that in anywhere in the world. When you want to talk to someone, you want to speak with someone in charge, you want to talk to the Father. That is our culture, or society. But if you go to the Middle East or the Far East, and the son, has equal rights to that of his father. The father will often defer to the son, to help to raise him up in the eyes of those around him. But God doesn't need to do that because Jesus has all the authority of God the Father, He doesn't have less authority than God but equal. When you go to someone in the East and ask to speak to someone in authority, you are given the opportunity to speak to the father or son, because each has equal authority.

So when we see God, the Father, revealing His Son, Jesus Christ, He is revealing Jesus' grandeur, this is not the Jesus Christ, walking on the shores of Galilee, not now, this is the glorified Christ, the Christ, post crucifixion. Post resurrection. This is Jesus Christ, enthroned in Heaven. In fact, this is Jesus Christ, post accession. You will remember in the New Testament, when the disciples watched Jesus ascend into Heaven with all the glory surrounded Him, and the angels said the to disciples, this same Jesus you see ascend into Heaven, will be the same Jesus that will return in like manner. He ascended to the throne, in His own seat. When the disciples see Him, he hasn't ascended into the throne room like we see Him in Revelation, He appeared to them as looking similar in ways to the same Jesus they remembered, but this is not how Jesus appears now in the throne room when John sees Him in all His glory.

We see Him described later in the first chapter of Revelation 1, where His eyes blaze like fire and His face is brilliant white, like the sun in its full strength. His beard and hair are white like snow. Spectacular. This is Jesus Christ!!!

From God's view point we see a few things, when we look back at verse 4:  John, To the seven churches in the province 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,"

We see four things. (1) God's accounting. We see him using the number seven in regards to the seven churches in Asia which signify his totality of His churches. The number seven being the number of completion, in the Bible and we know there are more than seven churches, but the ones that collectively representing the churches of that day in proximity to the area of geography. We see how often the number 7 is used throughout the Bible but specifically in the book of Revelation. It is God's completeness. God is including all the churches even the ones today, but we will cover that one later in our study.

(2) God's Geography: We look at the references to the churches in Asia, not the Asia we know today, but Asia Minor, from history or modern day Turkey. We know that there were significantly more churches than the seven listed here in the chapter 1 including the major church in Rome that Paul wrote to in 90 A.D. There was the church at Colossee and Hyeropolis, very famous churches in that day. They are not referred to here because Jesus is referring to the churches collectively. He is specifically writing to the seven churches mentioned here which we will study in more detail later. We will see that those churches existed at that time, but also there is a bit of those churches existing in our hearts and we don't want to deal with those right now. We will see about churches alive today that have strayed, that our persecuted (we see this even today, in fact the greatest atrocity of the world is taking place in the Sudan, where if you are not a Muslim, you are dying at the tune to the last six years of 2 million people dying for not being a Muslim). If you are an athiest, you die. If you are a Christian, you die. If you are a Jew, you die. In Sudan. Killed at the hands of Muslim extremists in the area of the Sudan. 2 million people plus. Colin Powell said it is the greatest extermination of people in modern times, and it has fallen on deaf ears of the U.N. because they have their own agenda. You can read up on that one later in regards to how this is affecting the European Union and what is taking place in the Sudan. Jesus is going to talk about churches in Revelation who are carnal and have walked away from His witness.

(3) God's Nature: "from him who is, and who was, and who is to come." - Revelation 1:4
He is the one that extends to us His grace, His unmerited favor, that He would single YOU out and make YOU the object of His affection. Is that incredible? God says, "I LOVE YOU!"

(4) God's Position: The Bible says that there are seven spirits before His throne. We saw yesterday how those are seven specific angels designated to the work of God.

So today, we begin in verse 5 with our second point, from Jesus' point of view. "from Jesus Christ," Verse 4 is predominately from the Father's view point, and now in verse 5, from Jesus Christ. It gives us titles of who Jesus is. (1) He is the faithful witness, meaning this, that Jesus Christ is forever faithful. He will NEVER be unfaithful.  This is important to us because when Jesus says, I am the Resurrection and the Life, and no man comes to the Father, but through me, you want to be sure. When Jesus says that when a man dies, believing in Him, he shall live. You want to know that as a fact. What are you afraid of? Question Him? He's not afraid. Find out for yourself. We have the promises of the Bible in Him and that He is the faithful witness, which in the Greek, is "martus" which is where we get our word, martyr. He is the one, that is presenting a faithful witness even to death, which we all know that Jesus died for our sins, but what else? Jesus Christ, died on the cross for us, but also for the Father, as a witness, not that God needed Jesus to die. But the prophets foretold that Jesus would come. That Jesus Christ, would be offered up on the cross. So when Jesus Christ died for us, He died for our sins. When He died on the cross, He died for the Father's testimony, throughout history. God the Father, said His Son would come. What did Jesus do? He came! What else did He do? He died on the cross. The faithfulness of God.

Jesus Christ has come to set us free. When He says what He says, and when He does, what He does, it is to liberate us. When we look at Jesus, we learn about the faithfulness of the Father.

John 14: 8-9 ~"Philip said, "Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us." Jesus answered: "Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you for such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father?' (NIV). 

What Jesus was saying is that this is the way the Father acts, this is what the Father says, this is how the Father is. When you hear me speak, I speak the things of the Father. When I turn and do, I do the things of the Father. So why is this important? Because Jesus Christ, without error, is 100% faithful to the will of the Father. If you want to know what God, the Father is like, if you want to know what the Holy Spirit is like, look to Jesus Christ, and you will see what they are like in their totality.

John 4:21-24, "Jesus declared, "Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet, a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and truth." (NIV). 

That was Jesus' witness. He talked to us about worship.

In John 10:9 ~ "I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture." (NIV). 

What does this mean? Jesus is saying, "I am the door! If you come on in, you will be saved. and you'll be able to go in and out and find comfort, or pasture." In the towns of Israel, Bethlehem or Jerusalem, there are these areas for shepherds that are holding pens with a gate just big enough for a man to lay down in the entrance. They are scattered throughout the pastures so that when the sheep are in for the night, the shepherd can lay down in the entrance way to guard and watch over the sheep. They are safe. He guards and protects his sheep. The only way they can get out is over him and with him laying down, they can't get out. That is the same picture Jesus is presenting here. Once you give your life to Him, He becomes your shepherd and watches over you day and night. No one can snatch you out of his hand without His knowledge and He isn't going to let that happen. Not on His watch which is eternal and 24/7. You can't question your salvation because Jesus is faithful. If He says YOU will be saved through Him, You can trust in that promise, no matter how you feel, because our feelings are not faithful.

You're either in the family of God or your not. You have either given your heart to Jesus or you haven't. Are you born again? Then you are in the sheep-fold. Maybe in life, no one has been faithful to you. Maybe He is trying to tell you that this morning. He's telling you, "I will be faithful to you." He is the only one.

Maybe you have been hurt by someone, perhaps even a pastor or friend, but the only person who is faithful and perfect is Jesus. Man or your friends will disappoint you and won't be faithful, because we are looking at the wrong things. We don't follow people, we follow Jesus. God never asked us to look at people but to Him. Perhaps the best advice for Christians, is to keep your eyes, 6 feet and above.


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Peace Found in Revelation

You would hardly believe that peace could be found in the final book of the Bible as it deals with the culmination of Jesus and the wrath of God poured out on the earth as sin comes to an end, but that is just what you will find. Because peace can be offered and found by those who trust and believe in Jesus Christ before we get to this point.

Picking back up on our study in Revelation 1:4 with "John, To the seven churches in the province 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.

Peace here is referred to as Shalom. We have the peace of God to those who have accepted Jesus as their Savior. God never gives us grief, but we can cause Him grief or that we get from others. Let us be cautious not to blame God for that grief either. He will return one day to right all the wrongs and woe to them who continue to shake their fist at God. He will not be mocked. The things that happen in this life are natural to a fallen world, but one day God, our Redeemer will return to fix all that is broken. God is eternal as is referred to in verse 4, "from him who is, and who was, and who is to come." This verse speaks of an eternal God.

Isaiah 57:15, ~"For this is what the high and lofty One says - he who lives forever, whose name is holy; "I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite." (NIV). He inhabits eternity!

He is the Alpha and Omega, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty, from verse 8, it tells us about his eternity. He will never have a birthday or a death because He doesn't live in a time line. He is beyond all that. He isn't subject to time. So when you find yourself dealing with a fiery trial you would love nothing more to have removed, remember these things, God dwells in eternity and we live in a time line. Time passes for us, as days progress, but not for God, time doesn't relate to God. It's a 7 day week, 24 hours in a day. God doesn't see things this way but we do. What is happening to us, is new to us, but it isn't new to God. He dwells in eternity. God has always known about this problem that is impacting us, He has always presided over it. It didn't catch Him unaware. He knew it was coming. As the trial arrives to us, He has already known about it. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He never changes.

The situation you are dealing with today, as well as the answer has always been in front of God, you just stumbled on this problem today, so give me the problem. Sometimes it's too simple for us to wrap our heads around that because we want to spend too much time arguing with God about it. So what is your problem today? Remember, we just happened upon it today, because we travel along a timeline, but God has known about it since the beginning of the creation of the world, and trust me, He isn't panicking. He's not wringing His hands in heaven, crying out, "Oh no! what are we going to do?"

It's always been before Him, the situation you are going through, but then again so has the remedy.

1 Peter 5:7 ~ "Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you." Cast means to push, heave, He has big shoulders. People will fear that God isn't there for them during their situations, that he must not care, and they'll tell you that God is no where. Yet often times within 24 hours, God will rearrange that word "no where" and move the space to between the "w" and "h" to now read "now here" instead and He will reveal Himself to them. The truth was that God never left that person in their fiery trial. He was simply waiting for them to call out to Him and turn that problem over to Him. The problem was that the person was swallowed up in self defeat and doubt instead of realizing that God has always been here with them.

But when God intervenes, it make that person shut their mouth when God intervenes because they can't argue and they realize what they were saying about God. Thankfully He is so gracious and doesn't hold that against us.

Matthew 6:8 ~ "Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him." (NIV). This is referencing those who worry and panic about things that are going on in our lives. God doesn't want us to worry because He already knows about it. It's not new knowledge to Him. He knows about this situation in advance so ask God in boldness. We approach Him like we don't believe like He will answer you. Ask boldly. Tell God what you need.

Revelation 4:8 " Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come." (NIV). 

Unlike Revelation 1:8, where it reads "who is, and who was, and who is to come." the terms are interchangeable. Just like in Revelation 11:17, ~"We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was, and who is to come, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign." (NIV).

It is based on the application how the order of God's eternal persona is described. Revelation 16:5, ~ "Then I heard the angel in charge of the waters say; You are just in these judgments, you who are and who were, the one who is to be, the Holy One, because you have so judged: (NIV). 

God's position, is addressed in verse, 4 continuing from Revelation 1, "from the seven spirits before his throne." (NIV). 

So what are the seven spirits referred to here? We have some options, it could be, in reference to Isaiah 11:1-2 ~ "A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear the fruit. The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him ` the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD." (NIV). 

We remember from earlier in our studies that the number 7, is a reference to completion. Some will say this is a reference to the Holy Spirit from Isaiah 11:1-2, and counting all the references to the Spirit, from the Spirit of the Lord (1), the Spirit of wisdom (2), of understanding (3), the Spirit of counsel, (4), of power (5), the Spirit of knowledge (6) and of the fear of the LORD (7). Could this reference from Revelation 1:4 referencing Isaiah 11:1-2 is the seven Spirits in the totality of the ministry of the Holy Spirit? It could mean that but, the problem is in the original Hebrew, what is put forward is only six of them. in the way it is put together is the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him. And it then reads, "the Spirit of the wisdom, (1), of understanding (2), the Spirit of counsel (3), of power (4), the Spirit of knowledge, (5) and of the fear of the LORD (6).

So which one is it? Is it a reference to the Holy Spirit? It could be the Holy Spirit.

In Zechariah 4:1-7 ~ Then the angel who talked with me returned and wakened me, as a man is wakened from his sleep. He asked me, "What do you see?" I answered, "I see a solid gold lampstand with a bowl at the top and seven lights on it, with seven channels to the lights. Also there are two olive trees by it, one on the right of the bowl and the other on its left." I asked the angel who talked with me, "What are these, my lord?" He answered, "Do you not know what these are?" "No, my lord," I replied. So he said to me, "This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: "Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit," says the LORD Almighty. "What are you, O mighty mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become level ground. Then he will bring out the capstone to shouts of "God bless it! God bless it!" (NIV). 

It could be a reference to the Holy Spirit.

The other view is this, because according to scripture that the Holy Spirit is singular, that would go against what we see in verse 4, the Holy Spirit, by the way does not dwell in front of the throne room of God. He's not localized. What we know from the Bible is that the Holy Spirit dwells everywhere, all at once. So one of the arguments is that this is not the Holy Spirit because the Holy Spirit can not be localized.

So then what is or what can be the seven spirits?

Revelation 5:6 ~ " Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. He had seven horns (speaks of His absolute kingship)  and seven eyes (speaks of His complete knowledge), which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth." (NIV). 

Revelation 3:1 ~ "To the angel of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God"

Revelation 4:5 ~ "From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God." (NIV). 

Let's look again at Revelation 5:6 ~ " Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. He had seven horns (speaks of His absolute kingship)  and seven eyes (speaks of His complete knowledge), which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth." (NIV). 

Notice that the spirits are sent out into all the earth. These could be special assigned or ordained angels found in Revelation 8:6 ~"Then the seven angels who have seven trumpets prepared to sound them." (NIV). 

Remember that the seven spirits are sent out into all the earth, so the seven angels, with the first being found Revelation 8:7 "The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood and it was hurled down upon the earth..." and it goes on and on until Revelation 10:7 ~ "But in the days when the seventh angel is to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets."(NIV). 

Revelation 8:2 ~ "And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets." (NIV). 

The seven spirits before the throne of God. We find the references to the seven angels because they are before the throne of God. Where are they sent, to the ends of the earth. The Holy Spirit presides over all. Everywhere. Isn't that consistent with scripture?

Hebrews 1:14 ~ "Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who inherit salvation?" (NIV).

This is the same scripture reference to those looking for biblical scripture for guardian angels. Remember that God has foreknowledge of those He knows will come to salvation at some point in their lives and when we do, he has angels dispensed to help us get there and to guide and protect us as He calls them to do in our lives as heirs of salvation found in Jesus.

The Bible reminds us that we will be greater than angels in eternity, so while it's nice to dream that when we die, we become angels, that is not biblical. Angels are God's creation designed to serve His purpose only. In the Book of Corinthians we will be judging angels for all eternity. We will be given so much knowledge when we get to heaven, that God is going to give us that job.

I know that today's study didn't accomplish much in the way of getting through the first chapter of Revelation, and God willing He will give me more time to go through this study with you before He returns for His church or this will remain for someone else to pick up after we are gone. I only hope it has blessed you in some way to grow in your spiritual walk that much more.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Who are The Seven Churches in the Province of Asia?

We have all seen the many depictions of what some might imagine Jesus to look like, but isn't it interesting that out of the writers in the New Testament, not one of them happened to mention what Jesus looked like? NOT ONE! Except in the Book of Revelation in Chapter 1.

It is here we get the only description written as to what Jesus looks like. The Bible tells us more than 500 times in the Bible that Jesus is coming back again and that in 1 out of every 25 verses in the New Testament refer to the Second Coming of Jesus. This gives us hope in a hopeless world, that Jesus is who He said He is, and He will be coming back to us in his glorious Second Coming.

So what does it mean that Jesus is coming in the clouds from verse 7, in Revelation 1? "Behold, He is coming with clouds and every eye will see Him." It means He is coming again in the sky and the air. Jesus also said in Matthew 24:27, ~ "For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man." (NIV).

The description we see of Jesus Christ in the Book of Revelation is s culmination of  all the rest of the books of the Bible in their unveiling of who Jesus Christ is. It is at this stage we see Jesus in His glory, in His resurrected state and strength, as the Son of God, in his righteousness. That when we see Him, his face is like the sun, in full strength.

Now that it is summer it is easy to understand the strength and power of the sun. How it can get extremely hot. The interesting thing to note is that for Christians, this is as hot as it will ever get for us. Heaven will be perfect. It's hot because the sun is shining in its full strength. The Scriptures state that when we attempt to look upon the face of Jesus, it will be in its full strength, brighter, and stronger than if we were to attempt to look at our own sun.

The scriptures tell us that looking into His eyes, they are like flames of fire, speaking of his righteousness. He has a brilliant white beard, shining, draped in white linen with bands of gold across his chest and His feet are polished like brass. He is awesome!!! This is the Jesus Christ in His resurrected glory.

In Revelation 1:4, "John, To the seven churches in the province 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." (NIV).

This is taking place from God's view. We have John, Christ, God and angels referenced in this verse alone. We must first consider God's accounting. When it states, "John, to the seven churches" we know that there were more than 7 churches during 70 A.D. So why is the letter written to only 7 churches. When you look at those 7 churches geographically, it is encompassing the region of Christianity at that time. These are the 7 in an oval, the bulk of the churches that existed at that time remained in that circle. The number 7 appears in the Bible more than any other number. In the Book of Revelation, the number 7 appears 54 times. The number 7 in both Greek and Hebrew has a numerical value. It has spoken of God's completion or totality. The number 8 according to God is the number of new beginnings and there is a long list of those numbers and what they mean according to those who study those things in relation to the Bible.

We are confronted with the number 7 in relationship to the churches and it grabs our attention because there were more than seven churches at that time. Not only does the number 7 represent the number of real churches at that time, because each of the churches mentioned were real in that time, but there are a reference to the types of heart of those that are religious who have a relationship with God. These churches relate to the churches of the church age. We can see some of these qualities in the lives of believers, but we will save that for when we get into the letters to the seven churches later in our study.

So back to the number 7, and this is referring to the completion or totality of the churches from God's accounting. It is interesting that it is addressed to the churches seven times beginning in Revelation 2:7, ~"He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the seven churches."  You can find all seven references in Revelation 2:11, 17, 29, 3:6, 3:13, and 3:22. The Spirit here is the Holy Spirit, don't approach the Bible with a gunshot mentality, like Russian roulette, we can't get anything out of the Bible like that. We need to pray that when we open for example John 1, we ask God to speak to us while we read. Write down in your Bible or notebook what He has revealed to You in your daily reading. You know what the Spirit is saying to you, because You are the Church. If you have never heard God speak, you aren't waiting on Him with your Bible open. Ask God, "Lord, speak to me." The Holy Spirit, speaks to those who have ears, so ask for God to give you ears to hear.

God's geography, Asia isn't the continent of Asia but Asia Minor. The churches are found in what is today, as Turkey in modern times. It once had a strong Christian base before the spread of Islam but it does still retain Christian foundations and it will be prominent in the end times as Turkey has a role to play.

In John 10:16 ~ "I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice and there shall be one flock and one shepherd." (NIV).

We know that the one shepherd referred to here is Jesus Christ. He was speaking to the Jewish nation first, to the nation of Israel first, but they rejected it. It wasn't until Acts that we learn that they turned to the Gentiles to preach the Word of Christ. We were grafted in. Gentiles simply mean non Jewish. If you are not Jewish, you are Gentiles. But because the Jewish people rejected the gospel, in Romans, it was offered to the Gentiles. We were grafted in like wild olive branches, we were aliens in this world, grafted into the root of Christ. But let us not get cocky like Gentiles trying to rub it in the Jew's faces that they rejected it. See Romans 9-11. Israel is the tree, and we humbly accept Jesus' sacrifice to us, otherwise we would be left out. Be thankful for that.

 God has done this all around the world. Where the gospel is preached, people accept it and a church is formed and it flourishes. It began in Asia Minor however. Now we look at God's nature, who he is at all times. " who is, and who was, and who is to come." God never changes. He is the same forever. "Grace to you", is the good news for us.

God's grace in the Greek means charis or khar'ece, which means the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life, making one acceptable, bestowing benefits, applying favor, the giving of gifts, having pleasure in, favoring someone = to the divine degree.

God does all of this for us that believe in Him. Being the object of God's affection, like you are the only one! He loves us all the same, despite what we might think. It's because of His grace upon us, He has targeted us with His favor. But he speaks to us, like we are the only one. He has put His favor and divine grace upon you. Don't you want to be the object of God's affection? If we do that, it will be white knuckle ride until God calls us home. When God is allowed to do His work in our life, things work perfectly but too often WE get in the way. We are a lot like Pepe LePew affection for the cat, we are the cat with the strip down our back. God is like that love, and we keep pushing him away.

Tomorrow we will continue our study into the Book of Revelation a bit more in-depth with more of Revelation 1:4. I hope this study is blessing you and you have a desire to know more. Remember, ask God to speak to You as you read through this with me and hope that you can a much deeper understanding of who Jesus Christ truly is.  I am taking this book slow because there is so much more than simply reading through 22 chapters in this book. I hope you'll stay with me and it blesses your life immensely!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Spoiler Blessing - Revelation Study Part 2

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).

Picking back up from our study yesterday, we have learned the reasons why Jesus must come back. In these references from Scripture, just in the first chapter of Revelation, there are eight references to Jesus Christ alone.

In Revelation 1:5, He is the faithful witness and the firstborn from the dead. In verse 8, He is the Alpha and Omega, the One who was, who is, and who is to come, the Almighty!

The book of Revelation is amazing in that it contains it's own outline. In Revelation 1:19, it says, "Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this." So there are three sections to the Book of Revelation.

1. There are things which are seen. That is what John describes in Chapter 1 as he views the glorious and resurrected Christ who is in complete control of everything that is about to happen.

2. There are the things which are. This is a reference to the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3. This describes not on the seven real churches but gives us a chronological look at church history from the beginning up to the present day.

3. There are the things that are after these things. These are the future events to follow that are found in Chapters 4 to 22. It is this simple outline that gives us a brief overview of the contents of the Book of Revelation.

Another unique thing about the Book of Revelation it is the only book that was sent and delivered by angels. In Revelation 22:16, "I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches." In fact, Revelation is full of angels from beginning to end, and appear in every chapter with the exception of chapters 4 and 13. This book was given from Jesus through the angel to the apostle John.

John was one of the three special disciples who was often singled out from the rest along with Peter and John on special missions, to witness the glory of Jesus on the hilltop along with Moses and Elijah, as well as being asked to pray with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. John was the only one who stood at the foot of the cross when Jesus was being crucified along with Mary, Jesus's mother. At one point, Jesus sets aside a special task to John from the cross, when he says to John, "Behold your mother!" The Bible clearly states that from that moment, John took her home and cared for her in John 19:27.

When they were told the tomb was empty, both Peter and John ran to the tomb, and John arrived first. He was the one to look in and saw the tomb was empty and the grave clothes folded where the body had been but the body of Jesus was gone. We read that he saw and believed. He seems to be a bit more spiritually perceptive and was always close to Jesus, calling himself, "the disciple that Jesus loved." He was the one leaning his head on Jesus during the last supper, perhaps as not to miss a single word Jesus was saying. After Christ, had risen from the dead and was calling them from the shore while they were on the boat fishing, it was John who realized it was Jesus, and said, "It is the Lord!" (John 21:7).

We know that Patmos was not the tropical island location but it was cold, windy and barren. This was during a time when the church was facing extreme persecution in the Roman Empire. It began with emperor Nero and continued with other emperors, most notably Diocletian. Many believers were losing their lives and families were being torn apart as they were arrested, imprisoned, tortured or put to death in the Coliseum.

They thought that by exiling him to the island of Patmos, they would never hear from him again. It was on this wind swept island that God gave the incredible revelation to John which is contained in the book of Revelation. In many ways the Book of Revelation reads like an action-packed thriller. If you love a great novel, you will love this book. It has drama, suspense, warfare, horror and mystery. It contains rebellion, unprecedented economic collapse, and the ultimate war of all wars in the world. But is also a book of hope and joy and comes with a dramatic climax where sin and death are destroyed forever and those of us that believe in Jesus Christ will live with Him forever. It reminds us that we win in the end, and there is no better hope than that.

Revelation 21: 3-4 ~ "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away." 

When we read in verse 3 of the special blessing that accompanies those who reads, hears and keeps the words of the book, we need to understand what that means.

"Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near." ~ Revelation 1:3. 

In order to receive the promised blessing you must:

1. You must read it. By the way the term in the Greek for "read: means to read it out loud. Sometimes when we read it out loud when hear it with our ears and it becomes not just words on a page. We hear it as well as read it. The impact on retaining this is much greater when you do that.

2. You must hear the words of this prophecy. Jesus would often say, "He who has ears, let him hear!" If the Holy Spirit opens your spiritual eyes and ears to see and hear what the Word is saying, it will make all the difference in the world.

3. You must keep it. It means keeping the truths of what you read. It means applying these truths to the way we live our life. It should motivate us to live our lives in anticipation that Jesus could be coming at any time and thus we should be doing the work He has called each of us to do. The reason we want to learn about the future is to help us live right in the present.

So what can we learn from Chapter 1? First of all Revelation reveals that the events of the last days are closely linked. Verse one speaks of "things that must shortly take place." or better stated might be, what must happen rapidly. Some might argue that this book was written over 2000 years ago, so how is this rapidly beginning to happen. But John wasn't referring to how quickly these events would happen in his lifetime, but once they happen, whenever that is, it will be in rapid succession. In other words, once the first domino falls, the rest fall in succession quickly.

Verse 5, speaks of Jesus Christ, the faithful witness. Who better to reveal Himself to us than Jesus? It means that He is the faithful witness, there is no lies about who He is, He is 100% authentic and true. It is followed up by "to Him who loved us," or better stated, "to Him who always keeps on loving us." There are some who believe we must do something in order to earn our way into Heaven, but this is not the case. God loves you the way you are, defects and all. He knows you intimately inside and out.

Jeremiah 31:3 ~ "I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with loving kindness I have drawn you." (NIV). 

What a contrast between the love Jesus has for us, and the love we find in our culture today. The world's love in conditional based, if you are pretty enough, popular, wealthy enough. God loves you when you are unknown and a complete nobody. God loves you when you are penniless and weak, offering nothing in this world. The world loves the extraordinary while God loves the ordinary. He showed this kind of love for us by his death,

"Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends." ~ John 15:13. 

Jesus showed us this kind of love which brings us back to verse 5, in Revelation 1, "He washed us from our sins in His own blood." Did you notice the past tense "washed?" Meaning it has been done. He paid the price for all of our sins, past, present and future. There is no other option in this world for someone to forgive you of everything you have ever done, are doing or will do in the future. No other god offers the power to forgive all sins, based on a love for us, like Jesus.

Tomorrow, we will pick back up with our study and detail Jesus's arrival in the clouds, how the entire world will see him and that Jesus is in fact God incarnate and that this chapter of Revelation is the only book in the Bible where we get a detailed description of what Jesus looks like. Hope you will join me tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Welcome to Patmos - Revelation Bible Study Part 1

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 once 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. n 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.

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.

Monday, July 13, 2015

The Book of the Bible That Comes With A Blessing

Everyone undoubtedly has heard to the Book of Revelation, but to be honest, how many of you have read the entire book? Have many of you have understood what you have read? It is the only book of the Bible that promises a blessing on those who read it or hear the words read to them. Did you know that?

I do have a question, have any of your churches taught on the Book of Revelation, not merely quoted a few scriptures from the book here or there, but a chapter by chapter, verse by verse study of the Book of Revelation? For ten years, our church has not. Which is disappointing considering where find ourselves sitting in the world currently. Who wouldn't want to know how it is all going to turn out, what's next, and how can we survive? Trust me, there is no doomsday prepper show that can prepare the world for what is coming, and the last thing you want to do is be here when hell literally is unleashed on earth, like the world has never seen before.

The Bible is flawless in its ability to predict future events with such clarity and detail, it is downright scary. Now more than ever, as chaos, violence and crazy lawlessness prevails in the world, you need to be prepared and I'm not talking stockpiling silver, gold, and food supplies either. In order to survive what is coming, you need to be spiritually prepared. To enter into the Tribulation without knowing where you stand in regards to your eternal salvation is just plain crazy, who would want to.

Hard to believe that the book of Revelation is just 22 chapters long. But in it, holds what will happen just prior to the Tribulation Period, but also during and after. Some people think things are crazy and chaotic now, but it is nothing compared to what we will see in the future. Now before you go thinking I am predicting anything, I am not, I am simply stating what the Bible says to be true, step by step and it begins with knowing just who Jesus Christ is. To deny Him, is to set your choice for an eternity in hell unfortunately, there is no other choice by rejecting Him.

That is why I am going to showcase my blog for as long as it takes to walk you through the Book of Revelation, in a study beginning tomorrow that will outline what is going to happen and what the stage will begin to look like before it does.

Jesus warned us to be aware of the signs just like looking at a tree can confirm what type it is, and what season we are in. It will be that apparent, but only for those who are looking. It will be a study you don't want to miss out on, and I am not sure how long it will take, but I want to help you understand what most are missing and I've been reading about the book of Revelation for most of my Christian life. It was what drew my into a relationship with Jesus in the first place and being a huge lover of Bible prophecy and future events, called eschatology I thought I would invite you to join along with me. I hope to create such a desire to read this book in your heart and hope you share these insights with others and perhaps open up your own study in the Book of Revelation among your church and friends.

Most people shy aware from this book simply because they don't understand the meanings behind what John is writing about, and believe it's a code book of sorts that many can't figure out believing it to be a bit symbolic in nature. Some parts of it are, but most are quite literal in interpretation as well. The one thing for sure, is you don't want to be here when it all begins to unravel and I believe we are beginning to see the stage being set and the players lining up to assume their roles in this event. I hope that by going through this book, you might see the urgency in getting the word out to a dark and fallen world, that unless we turn back to God, these plans of God's will move forward.

Revelation 1:3 ~ "Blessed is the one who reads the word of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near." (NIV).

Friday, July 10, 2015

A Real Education on The Founding of Schools in America.

I began yesterday's post about the foundation of our great nation and in discussing it's Christian principles, I alluded to the fact that today I would be talking about public schools and how they were first formed and found myself getting an education but also an enlightenment on where things began to go wrong, and trust me history doesn't lie. The moment we began to question removing God and the Bible from our schools, our children and society have suffered. But don't take my word on it, see for yourself. 

As far back as 1680, the basis for teaching students and what would become the standards for public school was a little known called The New England Primer. It was the number one text book used for early America. (You can still pick up a copy by the way on Amazon.)

The mode of education at that time until you went to college for children was home schooling. There was no public schools back then, but there was a home school standard used in all homes. The New England Primer. One of the most interesting things is that the alphabet was taught using simple memories verses derived from the Bible. Children were learning the Bible by learning the alphabet in early America in homes.

A - In Adam's Fall we sinned all.
B - They life demand, God's book attend.
P - Peter denies His Lord and cries.
S - Samuel anoints whom God appoints.

By 1780's, most American's could read and write more than those in Europe. In Europe, only the high class or wealthy could be educated. It was illegal in Europe and American to teach your slave to read and write, because they were afraid that if they learned, they would be educated and want their freedom.

Most of our founding fathers by the way, refused to have slaves. Benjamin Franklin, Benjamin Rush, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington, we just a few. Most simply inherited them from their families and this began the disruption of the slave trade. Thomas Jefferson taught his slaves anyways, despite the law, because he believed that one day, they would be set free.

Before schools could be built, however, church buildings were used during the mid week to allow children to come together and for a more standardized instruction to be facilitated in the early `800's. The Puritans believed that learning to read was critical for understanding and being able to read the Bible. They felt it was not only a religious duty but an obligation.  However since most one room school houses couldn't address all families especially those living on the outlying areas that children were needed to help provide for their families on the farms, Thomas Jefferson addressed this need in the Constitution, putting the schools in the hands of local cities and states to help provide an equal education for all, even though at this time, education for all would still be evolving. Those laws wouldn't come until the 19th century.

It wasn't until the Second Great Awakening that people like Horace Mann pushed for a traditional education system that would be the birth for what we have today, creating grade levels, common standards and mandatory attendance so everyone had the right to an education. It is interesting to note that in 1844 there was an argument to remove the Bibles from the classrooms but the Supreme Court overturned that verdict and order that Americans be taught Christianity using the Bible (Videl v. Girard).

In 1890- The Supreme Court also ruled that America is a "religious people...this is a Christian nation" as such as it is fitting that its people would teach their children the Christian faith.(The Trinity Case). In 1892, the Pledge of Allegiance was written for children to recite in school. The American Teachers Union declared that teachers should continue to teach morals from the Bible and many state Constitutions mandated the teaching of religion, morals and knowledge.

Of the first 108 colleges and universities in America, 106 were Christian schools. Of the first 126 colleges, 123 were Christian with ones like Yale, Harvard, Princeton being based on their Christian principles which sadly they have long since died away. In 1925, Florida legislators passed a law requiring the daily reading of the Bible in school. But the tide began to change and soon public school and religion were under attack from those that felt it should be removed.

It is interesting to note that in 2008, a study was conducted and found that Christian schools and home schools produce students with higher academic test results than those over secular public schools. Just goes to show you how far we as a once blessed nation have truly fallen in our moral values and the education we place on our children. Something that is missing from teaching our children the history of this great country.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

United States of America Founded on Christian Principles Fact!

You've heard the argument over and over about how some people believe that the United States of America was NOT founded on Christian principles and that it is NOT a Christian nation. But if you really want the truth, you have to do the research. Even our own president Obama, denies this very fact, which is sad to those of us that know the truth or want to know the truth. You can't dispute historical facts.

So in order to look at what happen we have to go back to those who first came to America and I'm sure you remember back in grade school during Thanksgiving when we learned about the Pilgrims who arrived here on the Mayflower.

There were only 102 people who arrived that made it to dry land and of those 52 were Christians or believers in Jesus Christ, the remaining 50 were not. Since no law existed in the land, they used the Bible as their basis for establishing law and order.

They wrote the Mayflower Compact, which in its first opening paragraph declares:

"In ye name of God, Amen. We whose names are underwriten, the loyall subjects of our dread soveraigne Lord, King James, by ye grace of God, of Great Britaine, France, and Ireland king, defender of ye faith, and haveing undertaken, for ye gloried of God, and advancemente of ye Christian faith, and honour of our king and countrie, a voyage to plant ye first colonie in ye Northerne parts of Virginia, doe by these presents solemnly and mutaully in ye presence of God, and one of another, covenant and combine ourselves into a civill body politick, for our better ordering and preservation and furtherance of ye ends aforesaid; and by vertue hearof to enacte, constitute, and frame such just and equall lawes, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meete and convenient for ye generall good of ye Colonie, unto which we promise all due submission and obedience."

So as you can see based on the facts, our first American's, those who arrived here on the Mayflower, founded this country on a belief in God. The one thing we must remember is that none of us are born American. We must choose to be an American.

Proverbs 22:28 ~ Do not move an ancient boundary stone set up by your forefathers." (NIV). 

What this means is our heritage! When you face troubles, we have to look back to our history to find our success, to see where we went wrong and regain them back.

Our liberties and freedoms can be lost in one generation. We want to ensure that we will not be guilty of letting this happen on our watch. We need to stand for our beliefs.

America won't have freedoms in the future, if we don't stand for them today.

We have to stand for them now. It must be defended.

Karl Marx once said, "that if you take away a people's landmarks or heritage, it is easy to persuade people." We can see the shifts of this beginning to happen around us even now.

Today America is losing it's roots in history and we are becoming victims by letting that happen. Even our own president denies where our country, the land he believes he runs in the highest office in the US isn't founded on Christian foundations and has stated so publicly. Our history books are being stripped by the facts we were once taught as students. 

We must remember that Christianity never forces people to become Christians. It has to be a personal choice and that is what our founding fathers were all about. It is why the people arrived here in America to worship as they saw fit, a freedom for religion not a freedom from religion. Don't get me wrong, there were times in church history where leaders forced people to make a choice and they were wrong for that, but it was not something that Bible instituted, that was man's choice.

The roots of the Bible were the very basis for the law in this country and tomorrow I will take us back to a look at where the beginnings of public education began and you might be surprised at what you might truly learn! But I'll save that for another day.

As long as people are willing to pray and stand up for their beliefs, change and hope are still possible. Will you allow it to get worse or are you willing to stand up and defend it?

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

What Will Your Final Words Be?


It's something none of us like to talk about, but it is an absolute fact that one day with a 99.9% guarantee we will all die. The only reason, I didn't make it a 100% is that some will escape this life during the rapture of the church without having to ever face death. Oh how I hope I am one of those people.

But why is it something we fear?

Because according to the Bible, God, did not create us to die. We were meant to be eternal. Yet once sin entered the world, it brought with it the curse of death. Humans were meant to love life. It is why we have such an appreciation for everything all around us. It was created from inside us. But is that same sin that keeps us separated from God, for the Bible says in Romans 6:23, "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (NIV).

So once we get past the payment part, our death is required because we ALL sin! There is only one who lived life as a man and never sinned and that is Jesus. He didn't even have to die to pay for His sin, because He was the only one without sin. He died to satisfy God's requirement that the payment of sin was death. He died for all the sins of every single person on the face of the world, past, present and future sins. Sins we haven't even committed yet. He took it all for us.

Hebrews 12:2-3 ~ "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." (NIV).

Jesus was the only one who met God's demands and not only took our place on the cross and dying for our sins, but restored the rightful relationship with God through his sacrifice so we can have eternal life. But that comes with a choice.

To choose Jesus or to reject Him.

Contrary to what the world would have you believe, that there are many paths, roads and ways to get to God, there is only one. ALL others are a LIE!

Jesus offers us a life that is greater than what the world can offer. The one Jesus offers is so much better than what the world can promise. The things that matter most in our life are the things that can not be bought - health, love, being together with those we love in this world.

What do you have in this life that is worth dying for?

Or should I say, what do you have in this life that is worth living for?

Most people will say, their loved one, parents, family, and spouses, which is great, but eventually they too will die, then what? What will you have then?

The one thing the world can't provide for you is forgiveness of your sins, it merely reminds you of them instead.

Jesus came because He loved each one of us so much, He wanted to bridge that connect between death and eternal life, found only though Him. He can give you what this world can't. A life worth living is one that is sold out to Him, body, mind soul and spirit.

1 John 2:1 ~ "My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense - Jesus Christ, the Righteous One."(NIV).

John 10:9 ~ "I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture." (NIV).

Acts 2:21 ~ "And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." (NIV).

Romans 5:8-9 ~ "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him!" (NIV).

Face it, one day we will face death.

But for those who have their faith sealed in the life and atonement of Jesus Christ, when they breathe their very last breath here, will take their first one in Heaven, and what a glorious eternal life awaits those of us that believe in Jesus.

For those that refuse Him or simply won't accept Him, now, know this. No one is guaranteed a tomorrow or for that matter the very next hour. We read all the time, of people dropping dead or dying instantaneous in an accident. Still think you have time to cry out for Jesus to save you in the end. Perhaps, but why chance that?

There are those that say there is nothing at the end of this life. Well if that is the case, than you're all good and people like me are wasting our time living a life of faith. But what if, there isn't. Are you willing to take that chance? If you are, there won't be an opportunity once you die to ask for salvation at that moment. It will be too late and your fate is sealed. I'd much rather error on the side of Jesus, plus it makes my life so much more at peace when you see the state of things in this world, because we are merely visitors passing through this life. One day we will return home and Oh what a day that will be!

If you are ready to give Jesus a chance, consider this simple prayer from your heart, it's all that it takes. It's a gift from Him, to give you the gift of eternal life. He has already paid the price for you, so that all you simply have to do is accept it.

Father, I come to You, confessing my sin and asking for Your forgiveness. I thank you, Lord, for You have promised that if I will confess my sins, You will be faithful to forgive me and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I want to turn from my sins and live in Your will. I ask that You give me the power through Your Holy Spirit to live the right way.

I thank You that Jesus Christ died on the cross, paying the price for my sins, and then rose from the dead. I accept Him now as my Savior, my Lord, and my Friend. Thank You for giving me new life in Christ. I surrender myself to You; make me what You want me to be. In Jesus' name. Amen!

If you prayed that prayer, you might not "feel" anything at all. But trust me, when you invite Jesus into your life, change will begin to take place on the inside. I would encourage you to pick up a Bible and begin reading out Jesus in the Book of John first, then read the rest. His Word will begin to come alive to you in a way you have never known before, even if you had read parts of the Bible before.

The best part, is now you have that guarantee that when this life is over, yours will continue. Jesus it the only life worth dying for!

Here is an article from Erma Bombeck from 1979 called If I had to Live My Life Over Again.

Someone asked me the other day if I had my life to live over would I change anything.

My answer was no, but then I thought about it and changed my mind.

If I had my life to live over again I would have waxed less and listened more.

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy and complaining about the shadow over my feet, I'd have cherished every minute of it and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was to be my only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained and the sofa faded.

I would have eaten popcorn in the "good" living room and worried less about the dirt when you lit the fireplace.

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

I would have burnt the pink candle that was sculptured like a rose before it melted while being stored.

I would have sat cross-legged on the lawn with my children and never worried about grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television ... and more while watching real life.

I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband which I took for granted.

I would have eaten less cottage cheese and more ice cream.

I would have gone to bed when I was sick, instead of pretending the Earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for a day.

I would never have bought ANYTHING just because it was practical/wouldn't show soil/ guaranteed to last a lifetime.

When my child kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, "Later. Now, go get washed up for dinner."

There would have been more I love yous ... more I'm sorrys ... more I'm listenings ... but mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute of it ... look at it and really see it ... try it on ... live it ... exhaust it ... and never give that minute back until there was nothing left of it. "

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Atheists Are Becoming Extinct!


It's something we all have to face at some point in our lives.

When we were kids it might have been fear of the dark, fear of the monster that we truly believed lived in our closets or beneath our bed. It might have been from strangers or thunderstorms or even death.

Now that we are older, our fears have matured a bit. We know that monsters don't live under our beds or closets. We may still fear the dark, thunderstorms or other phobias. But now we fear things like will we get married, fear that we won't be able to protect our family and children, fear of death becomes more prevalent the older we get, especially when it begins to claim our friends and family unexpectedly one by one.

Death is perhaps the biggest fear and that is when in all likelihood that atheists will cry out to God or some other gods to save them. When the diagnosis from the doctor comes back with a death sentence that informs them they are living on their last days.

Just yesterday, my 21-year-old daughter entered her first day as an extern for cardio sonographer, meaning she takes ultra sound pictures of the heart. When she called on her way home, I asked how it went. She said she would talk to me about it when she got home.

When she walked in the door, sat down and explained how her day went, her first words were, "I watched someone die today."

Apparently this 18-year-old teen died when his heart became so enlarged that it was only providing his body with 10% of the blood it needed. The heart was the result of heroine use since he was 12. Both the mother and grandmother were there, when the cardiologist told the young man he was going to die and there wasn't anything he could do to help. Both the mother and grandmother were also heroine users and it was something they participated in together. They were confused that they were still alive but that their teen was going to die?

As they took more scans of his heart, his heart rate began to fail and within minutes, they all attempted to do what they could to bring him back, but in the end, he died.

A preventable death.

A life wasted because he made the wrong choices in his life. That is the tragic thing, because we don't know when our time is up. God does. But it's how we live through the dash in between our birth and death that matters.

Trust me, atheists are the first to argue against a belief in God. Why argue against anything if nothing exists. Isn't that point mute? Why do you care what others do, what they chose to believe in?

The funny thing I don't understand is how people can say Christians, are trying to force their beliefs on everyone?  Isn't that the pot calling the kettle black?

Christians are only sharing what they believe, that the Bible is 100% God inspired, and that Jesus Christ is the only one who has managed to accurately predict his death and resurrection defined by the life of love he lived and the power to cure the sick, heal the blind, deaf and lame and cure the demon possessed men. Christians can't force you to accept Jesus. It has to be a personal choice.

No one is holding a gun to your head making you make that choice. It is a free will to accept or deny what we are sharing is truth.

When Christians share it, it is because it changes lives for the better. It gives hope to the hopeless, power to the weak, strength to the weary and eternal life at the end of this life.

How again are Christians forcing anyone to do anything?

When you find God, you find His blessings, because He blesses obedience, you will find peace, hope, joy and love. When faced with fear or worry, we make a conscience choice to focus on the world, or what is ailing us, or we can choose to focus on Jesus, and the promises He provides. We need to consider that the next time we are facing something that is causing us to worry or to fear? Where are we focused?

There comes a certain point in all of our lives, when we think about eternity. In disasters, terrorist attacks, or like this young man yesterday, who suddenly faced death. Wonder who he cried out to in his final moments. I hope it was God and that God answered his prayers to usher him into a eternity with Him. The only other option is an eternity without God and that is a choice when you are in your final moments of breathing your last breath, that you don't want to be without God.

What will your choice be? Either you choose God and eternal life, or reject Him and face a possible eternity in hell. Remember God doesn't choose for you, You Choose for Yourself.

Jesus reminds us in John 6:37-40 ~ "All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day." (NIV).

John 6:47 ~ "I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life." (NIV).

John 3:36 ~ "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him." (NIV).

John 10:27-30 ~"My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one." (NIV).

John 11"25-26 ~ "Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"(NIV).

John 14:6 ~ "Jesus answered, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one come to the Father except through me." (NIV).

If you want to choose Jesus today, simply pray this prayer from your heart. You have to remember that in life there are no coincidences, only divine appointments. So if you found yourself here today, please consider the life with Jesus as Your Lord and Savior. I can promise you this, it will be life-changing.

Father, I come to You, confessing my sin and asking for Your forgiveness. I thank you, Lord, for You have promised that if I will confess my sins, You will be faithful to forgive me and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I want to turn from my sins and live in Your will. I ask that You give me the power through Your Holy Spirit to live the right way.

I thank You that Jesus Christ died on the cross, paying the price for my sins, and then rose from the dead. I accept Him now as my Savior, my Lord, and my Friend. Thank You for giving me new life in Christ. I surrender myself to You; make me what You want me to be. In Jesus' name. Amen!

If you have prayed this prayer, you might not feel any different, but you will begin to see and feel a difference in how you live your life from this point on. I would encourage you to do 4 things.

1. Get a Bible and begin reading in the Book of John. From there continue to the end and then start at the beginning. 

2. Find a church that preaches the Word of God straight from the Bible. In these days there are unfortunately some churches that are more focused on gaining popularity and have compromised on what they teach. 

3. Tell others about your commitment. You will need the encouragement and support of other Christians to help you move forward in your new life. Be prepared however that those that aren't Christians will likely make fun of you and your new commitment. Welcome to the world of living for Jesus now and not the world. 

4. Pray. God loves nothing more than to hear from you about everything in your life. It is also the greatest weapon we possess as believers in Jesus. It causes definite things to happen in the spiritual world and you will now have God's protection over your life, and you will know with certainty that when this life is over, your new eternal life in heaven awaits! It's going to be great!