Monday, August 31, 2020

The Warning Signs Are Here!

As we open our study today into the Book of Revelation, people might ask the question, "Is God happy as He is unleashing the judgment upon the earth?"  God never wants to unleash harm upon His creation but remember, this is a world now that wants nothing to do with God. They have begged, pleaded and shook their fists as God and said, "Get out!" This is a Christ-rejecting world at the point we find ourselves today. Just like any good parent, it never pleases a parent to discipline a wayward child. The Bible even addressed this in Proverbs that a wayward child brings reproach to his mother. God is the same way, everyone He loves He corrects, chastens, and because He cannot sin, He has to execute judgment against evil because He is righteous, Holy and just! He wouldn't be God if He didn't judge evil.

Our culture believes that they can sin up a storm and there will not be any ramifications. He is Holy and just in His judgments and while most people believe that since nothing has happened yet, God must be passive, doesn't exist or is simply looking the other way. We can fathom God's understanding in His plans but we know this, He is just in His loving and He is just in His judgments. Therefore, He has to execute judgment on evil. We, as humans, are all for justice and that is why we can appreciate this as long as it is the other person, getting the justice administered to him. God doesn't have to make any apologies because He is Holy.

God will exercise His judgment and wrath on one group of people alone, a Christ-rejecting world. He takes no delight in what He has to do, but He has to execute judgment on evil and those who do it. Jesus died for all the sins of the world, no matter what you have done, that alone will not condemn you to hell despite what you may have been told. No murders, adulterers,  homosexuals, liars, thieves, fornicators, you name it. None of those gets you into hell. There is only one sin that condemns you to hell. It is rejecting Jesus Christ as your redeemer. That is it. Jesus died on the cross for your sins. If you don't make it to heaven it will be because of one reason, you have repeatedly day by day, neglected to come to Christ as your Lord and Savior.

There is no other religion in the world that can take a book and stand in the very places in history like believers of Christ can with our Bibles and relive those moments standing in the actual places, because they are still there today. We can stand in the valley of Megiddo and read Revelation and know that one day, the culmination of all wars will take place there. Even Napoleon said that in that place alone could the greatest battle on earth take place. That alone should make you excited as a believer in Christ! Only a Christian or Jew can open the Bible and say, "We are standing in that place!" Our faith is founded upon fact!

Neil Armstrong when taking a personal tour of Israel said to his tour guide he wanted to stand on the very same steps of the temple that Jesus did and the tour guide explained that the steps that they were at were the very same ones that Jesus walked up and down. He said, while he may have been the first man to step on the moon, it wanes in comparison to standing where Jesus stood! (Neil Armstrong Walks on Jerusalem). Funny how you won't read that in Time Magazine!

There will a pause in heaven because silence shouts the righteousness of God! The Bible warns over and over to be silent before the Lord because He is holy. When the judgment of God comes, solemn preparation must be made.

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

Trumpets were used to call God's people for worship in the Old Testament. Trumpets were used, for calling God's people to war in the Old Testament and even in the 18th and 19th century. They were also used to call God's people together for announcements as well as the tolling of the church bells in many cultures more so in the Midwest and East coast today, not so much in the West. The angels will pull out their trumpets and these are NOT rams horns by the way. These are trumpets of judgment. Great ominous warnings! Solemn preparation must be made because God is holy and He is in heaven.

So why is this even important for us to study. I mean this is a pretty intense and horrible chapter. Because I want to make sure that YOU are NOT here when that time comes. Remember the church is no longer on the earth, they have been raptured to heaven! People these days want miracles and signs before they will be believe in Christ. The greatest miracle of all time wasn't the healing of the blind or deaf, or even the restoration of the lepers or the resurrection of Lazarus. You want to know what it was? It was that God who was not a human being, He was something all together different, came by the way of the virgin Mary, born in Bethlehem as prophesied by the Scriptures. Took on Himself, human skin, and stepped into the world. That to me, is the greatest miracle of all! That God who is not a human, became human to live a life and meet all the requirements of the law He gave, only He could do it. To meet its demands, to show its perfection, and then in association with our imperfection, Jesus who was innocent and we who are guilty, went to the cross and died in our place!

God is holy and therefore judgment must come upon the earth and preparations are needed to make that happen.

Habakkuk 1:13 ~ " You who are of purer eyes than to see evil and cannot look at wrong., why do you idly look at traitors and remain silent when the wicked swallows up the man more righteous than he?" 

You might ask yourself the question, "Why did God create man if He knew He was going to be evil?" Because of choice. You love choice right? Sometimes as parents, we often wish our kids didn't have certain choices in their lives. It would sure make raising them a whole lot easier right? Like when we tell them to clean their rooms. You know they have a choice right?  They may do it eventually, their way, but they have a choice. We all do. In every aspects of our life. From what we eat, what we wear, who we marry, what will want to do for work or school. Choices are available to all of us.

God engineered within the human being the ability to chose. That is the only way to have true love and worship. But man pirated such a privilege and responsibility and decided to go it alone with God. That man was called Adam. And we have been messed up ever since. We can't blame Adam because we probably would have done the same thing. Before God makes things right on this planet, sin has to be judged. Solemn preparation must be made because man sins and deserves judgment. The truth of the matter is that we are all sinners. Non believers love to use the Bible to quote, "Judge not, lest you be judged," but they fail to read the rest or even understand what the context of the word "Judge" means in that portion of the Bible. It means not to condemn. Jesus, Himself, told all of us to be fruit inspectors. Don't forget, "All of us have sinned and come short of the glory of God." ALL OF US. We are all in the same boat!

It's human nature to practice sin! It's in our blood and that is not a popular thing to say. Even from birth, no one taught us how to sin, we automatically know how to do it. Babies refuse to listen when you tell them No, you can't have another cookie. We have to remind our children, NOT to do certain things, because inherently we all know how to do them. When you tell your kids not to do something, what do they do? They do it anyway. When you call them on it and ask if they did it, they will lie about it. Not me! Where does that come from? The Garden of Eden. Adam. Eve.

Exodus 23:a~ "You shall not fall in with the man to do evil, "

2 Samuel 12:9a ~ "Why have you despised the word of the LORD, to do what is evil in his sight?"

2 Kings 17:17 ~ "And they burned their sons and their daughters as offerings and used divination and omens and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking him to anger." 

Genesis 6:5 ~ "The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually."

Solemn preparation must be made, because evil is about to run its course. We are a people and a race that wants its own way, without God, and when we get it, we mess it up. That is what Utopia is all about. It's man creating a world without God thinking he can govern himself. Not matter what your political affiliation or gender, we can not do it! It's flawed from the beginning. We need Jesus. He begins that when He comes into our life and makes us new. The greatest government of all is a theocracy, when God rules and reigns in men's hearts. That is how the world is changed. The Bible says, it won't be changed until Christ comes.

Didn't Jesus remind us in the pattern to prayer, Matthew 6:13 ~ " and lead us not unto temptation, but deliver us from evil." 

Why? Because evil is forever around us.

John 3:15-19 ~ "that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. for God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and the people loved thee darkness rather than the light because their works were evil."

This means that men schemed and looked forward to doing evil rather than following God. For each of us that knows Jesus now, knows exactly what that means. When the judgment of God comes, the prayers of the saints will be heard.

Revelation 8:2-6 ~ "Another angel (an 8th angel), who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all the saints, on the golden altar before the throne. The smoke of the incense together with the prayers of the saints, went up before God from the angel's hand. Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake. Then the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to sound them."

This is the answer to prayer but more specifically the answer to the prayers found in Revelation 6:9-10 ~ "When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice, "O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge the earth and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?"

Remember they had died earlier during the first 3 1/2 years of the Tribulation period. Remember what the answer was to their question? Wait! We now come to Revelation 8, and their brethren have died and so the prayer is answered. Throughout all history both in the Old and New Testament, the last thing you want to be is an earth dweller. The word in both the Greek and Hebrew means those who live for the earth. It is in direct agreement with Romans 1 about those who worship the earth and its creation. Those who say the earth is their mother. The earth is our home. The earth, not God, has given us forth.

I believe that Christians should be the greatest custodians of nature on the planet earth. Just don't worship it. There are those who worship it. There is a balance and never are we called upon to worship the earth. Earth dwellers are those that live for the earth and worship planet earth. It's what they live for. It's your life, what you can extract from the earth. Gold. Power. Money. Prestige. Place. Position. It's what you live for. The earth dwellers.

Isn't it interesting that to counter that, the Bible says to those of us that are Christians, our citizenship is in heaven! That we are ambassadors for Christ! Diplomats sent into a dangerous world is what ambassadors means to the Christians.

People might look around today and ask if we are seeing God's judgment on the earth. No rain in California. Laws being passed that are contrary to the Bible. I believe what we are seeing is God's warning signs right now, not judgments. God warns, and He warns, and He warns and then once we make the final rejection, the final time we push Him off, remember the Bible says in Genesis, my Spirit will not always strive with man, I hate to tell you this, but we haven't seen anything yet. God is warning us. Here in California, we are under a severe drought and have been below our needed water levels for 9 years. Is this the judgment of God? No, we are not going to get away that easy. Violence and racial division, even political division, makes you wonder what is really going on in the world today. Even with CoVid 19, we wonder if that is a biblical plague. No, far from it. These are warnings based on Joel 1. The rains begin to stop, crops begin to fail. It's almost like you're reading the newspaper today. Read it later.

The culture is suffering because of the decisions we have made. Not because God is judging us. He is simply telling us to turn back to Him. He is asking the Christian, the believer, to turn back to God. That is what he is asking us to do. There is no judgment from God happening on the earth just yet, but it is coming one day. Will YOU choose Him today?

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

The Silence You Can Feel

We know that when the Rapture of the church happens, there will be plenty of left over Bibles laying around. If someone were to pick up your Bible, what would they find highlighted? You might be pleasantly surprised when you open your Bible and take a look at what has been important to you over the years and when you consider the things that are highlighted with the foreknowledge that one day someone will be opening it and reading what you highlighted, what will they think?

As we open up our study today into Revelation, Chapter 8, we find silence in heaven according to the Apostle John for about a half an hour. Whatever is coming is announced by silence in the heavenly realm. Then we see God's implements and instruments being gathered for the coming judgment He is about to unleash on the world. These various angels are appointed with specific packages, certain aspects of judgment to be delivered, to planet Earth during that time. Why? Because both earth and mankind had rejected God and because of that sin, these instruments and actions are levied to a Christ rejecting world.

The seventh seal unveils the seven trumpet judgment of God. When we get to the seventh trumpet it will open the seven bowl judgments. In the Book of Revelation as we get to Chapter 8, it should not concern you if you are trusting in Jesus Christ, because we will not be here at that time. The church has been removed from the earth in the Rapture before the Tribulation period began. Some of you might be thinking, well if we aren't going to be here, why even study the Book of Revelation, because we need to know the whole Bible not just parts that pertain to us from cover to cover.

Revelation 8:1-13 ~ "When he (Jesus Christ) opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets. Another angel (an 8th angel), who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all the saints, on the golden altar before the throne. The smoke of the incense together with the prayers of the saints, went up before God from the agel's hand. Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake. Then the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to sound them. The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was hurled down upon the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up. The second angel sounded his trumpet and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea. A third of the living creatures of the sea died, and a third of all the ships were destroyed. The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water - the name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter. The fourth angel sounded his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon and a third of the stars, so that a third of them turned dark. A third of the day was without light, and also a third of the night. As I watched, I heard an eagle that was flying in midair call out in a loud voice: "Woe! Woe! Woe! to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels!"

When you hear the use of the words "Woe!" it is not about stopping a horse but a warning that is coming, Danger! Danger! Danger! or simply Damnation! Damnation! Damnation! is coming to the inhabitants of the earth! We have to remember that no matter where we look at in the Bible in the Old Testament or the New Testament that God is a God of love, mercy and forgiveness. It is hard when you read chapters like this one in the Bible, because we don't want to spend long reading about what is coming to the future of this world one day. We'd love to skip it in fact. These are not the chapters that cause prolific church growth. Believers and non-believers do not want to hear about judgment, unless we understand the Scripture and why it is given we will see answered prayer and we will see God answer prayer, and the prayer that He answers will be His vengeance upon the earth.

There is a prayer that is a holy righteous prayer and I am not saying that we should pray it, but I am saying that we often feel it. We just need to make sure that our will is yielded to the will of God. and that God is the One who exercises judgment and not us. We don't like to admit to the fact that one day God will bring judgment. We are living in an age of grace right now and we should be thankful for that. There will come a time when God consummates His grace and then the time of judgment will come. God will then answer the prayers of those who have prayed for God to avenge their blood. That is what the Bible teaches even if you disagree with that. God is a loving God, a Holy God and a Just God. It is God in His perfect love, holiness, and righteousness is the only one to exercise judgment. Did you know that? Keep that in mind.

Psalm 86:5 ~ "For you are forgiving and good, O Lord; abounding in love to all who call to you."

Jeremiah 31:3 ~ "The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: I have loved you with an everlasting love, I have drawn you with loving kindness."

Hebrews 7:25 ~ "Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them." 

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," 

When we hear about God's judgment, we are tempted to see Him as an old man, with a sandwich board walking around that says, "Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand." But we need to understand that God is righteous and holy in his judgment of mankind. He is doing everything he can to give us an opportunity to be saved through our faith in Jesus and not have to face the coming judgment. Sometimes we are mistaken in thinking that God is judging even right now in the age in which we are living. He is not.

John 16:33 ~ "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

But there is a time of God's judgment and wrath that is coming to this world that will be like no other time in all of history or the future! God will allow evil to have its day for a time, and then God will bring judgment. This is exactly what Jesus was warning about in Matthew 24.

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

We see Jesus now as He opens the seventh seal. When the judgment of God comes there will be a pause in heaven. This section is of great preparation. What is interesting is that in the very nature of eternity there is no concept of time, but here the Bible says, there is silence for about a half an hour. How can we reconcile that where God dwells, time is eternal but John says a half an hour. Easy! John is seeing a vision. John is seeing the unveiling of things to come in heaven and in earth to come. It is announced or shown to John that there is a pause in time for about half an hour. The word in the Greek for silence is that it is a silence that can be felt. Have you ever felt a silence like that? You might be tempted to say, No. Have you ever been on a jury? When you are called back into the court after the jury has deliberated and you are seated there, and the judge turns to the jury and asks, "Have you reached a verdict?" If you have ever been there, it is an ominous moment. There is dead silence. It is a silence that can be felt. Why? Because a verdict is about to be given. The defendant stands, the judge asks the jury if they have reached their verdict and they respond that they have. There is silence until it begins so to speak, until the verdict is given. There is a silence at that moment that you can feel.

There is a time of silence before all of this judgment comes, that in that moment of silence, God does not delight in judgement. Do you know that? The Bible says that God created Hell for the devil and his angels. Not for humans. God doesn't want anyone to go there. This is an ominous moment, there is a pause, a silence. We have seen that up until this point, we have been reading that in heaven, there is great noise, great praise, great adoration going on. Now there is a great moment of silence. Why? Because God does not delight in judgment, but judgment must come. There is a pause. There is a silent pause in heaven because of what Jesus Christ is about to do. Jesus is the one who will preside over the judgment of God. It is Jesus that opens the seventh seal.

Luke 4:14-21 " Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised him. He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue as was his custom. And he stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."

This was Jesus' first sermon of Isaiah 61. It has a direct connection to Revelation, chapter 8. Notice that in the scripture of Isaiah he read, he ended on a comma before he sat down. This was the prophecy of the Messiah and Jesus was announcing that He was the one the prophecy was speaking about. Why did he stop at the comma in the midst of the book of Isaiah? What comes next in Isaiah 61:2 is ":and the acceptable day of vengeance of our God," He didn't say that, the very next statement. This is significant because at the comma in Isaiah 61:2 it correlates to Revelation 8 all the way out to Revelation 19.

Jesus paused at that comma, closed the book, because for the last 2000 years it would be time to preach the gospel of grace. Do you understand that? And so the gospel has gone out into the world. There is a day of vengeance of our God that is coming. God's judgment is the day of vengeance. It will come upon a certain group of people not believers. You might think you are under God's judgment now, but trust me you have no idea what God's judgment is! He is not doing that right now. God may discipline. God may chastise. God may scold you. But the truth is that right now, God is not operating in judgment or wrath or vengeance. There is also a pause in heaven for what they are about to see.

The grammatical picture that is painted here is very awesome and quite frankly it is frightening. Heaven is in awe of what is soon about to take place on the earth. I would venture to say that it is quite difficult to impress heaven. Heaven is where angels dwell. Heaven is where the saints have gone. Heaven is an awesome, wonderful and holy place. Yet heaven is aware of a future event that just before it happens John says that there is silence for about a half an hour. Heaven is about to witness the wrath of God.

This silence underscores a sense of foreboding, fear on earth as it were if you are a Christ rejecter, you're shaking your fist at God. Remember John said there was silence in heaven, not silence on earth. Apparently it is not very quiet in heaven until this very serious silence comes. This should underscore for us the terror and horror and awfulness of what comes to a Christ-rejecting world. We are heading in that direction. We are living in a country that was founded on Judeo-Christian values if you have read the letters of our founding fathers, the Mayflower Compact, and understanding what the believers believed in before they came to America. Now to see how far our nation has fallen from God. Imagine God saying, "You know, I have had enough. You don't want Me in school. You don't want Me in court. You don't want Me in your government any longer. You don't want Me in your culture. So I'll get out." People have no idea what this world would be like if God just got out. There is coming a day when He will get out. There won't be anything left for man to experience, except the wrath of his own sin.

Monday, August 24, 2020

No Waiting for Believers!

Every day we have trouble on this earth. Someday all that we are doing and living for will no longer be important at all. Our time here on the earth will have been completed. Man's attempt has always been to create some type of Utopian culture and society, from Marxism, Mao, Saddam Hussein to even Hitler had dreams of creating a perfect place yet they have all attempted it without the help of our Creator. There is no heaven, no Utopia without the very Creator of the Universe being involved in it. No matter how valiant man's efforts are, there will never be that Utopia until Jesus Christ returns at the end of the Tribulation called His Second Coming.

The one thing we can never know with absolute certainty is who will be in heaven of those who have gone before us. We can never know what their heart condition was like and if they called out to Jesus in their final moments, like the thief on the cross did. Only God does. There will also be those who inherit Hell. Jesus said that there are a lot more going to hell than going to heaven. The bizarre thing is that is not by His design. Everyone who winds up in Hell goes there by their own choice. There are people going to Hell because they don't want anything to do with God or heaven. Everyone gets a least one prayer answered in life, either choosing to accept Jesus and have Him as part of your life, however brief that is, or to have nothing to do with Jesus. We are now in the concluding verses of our study into Revelation 7, known as a parenthetical pause.

Revelation 7:13-17 ~ "Then one of the elders asked me, "These in white robes - who are they, and where did they come from?" I answered, "Sir, you know." And he said, "These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore, "they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them. Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, not any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."

It seems hard to fathom that the world one day might all come together to create a unified government, a unified church and a unified economy, yet that is just what the Bible says will happen during the Great Tribulation Period that will last for 7 years. That the nations of the world would destroy their borders and usher in peace and prosperity so we could all become one family. The concept is beautiful but the means to obtain that is different than what God has decreed. Once Eden was lost, man attempted to recreate that kind of Utopia here on earth. That was the whole inspiration behind the driving force of Nimrod and the creation of Babylon. That God could be brought down and man could create a Utopia on earth. It is the very doctrine behind the New Age movement. That somehow Utopia could be created by man. But as long as man attempts to govern himself, there will be a separation of nations, and of races, and of powers. There will be those that have, and those that have not. It will be that way until Christ comes and establishes His kingdom. That is the answer.

If you ever take the time to read the Communist Manifesto, what Stalin, Marx and Lennon preached in concept, was great! If you look at it very carefully, it sounds almost biblical. That you would be loving with one another, sharing with one another, yet in the deviousness of man's heart is someone who creates such a thing that is skimming off the top. We know that a man will come, we know him as the Son of Perdition or the Antichrist, who will have an idea to create a one-world government, a cashless society where man does business with numbers globally, and that this man will establish this Utopia under his rule and his reign. All things will be going along well, except for the preaching and presentation of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

We have been learning how 144,000 Jewish men that will come to know Jesus as Messiah, and these guys will be spiritual tornadoes throughout all the earth. There will be a vast amount of people brought to the knowledge of Christ through their efforts, and salvation will be happening on such a grand scale during this time than during any other crusade in the history of the world. Whenever the gospel is preached, decisions are made. Some people will say yes to Jesus and others unfortunately will say no. When this happens during the Tribulation Period, it will make every crusade up to this point look like an attempt compared to what God is going to do during that time.

Revelation 7:3 speaks of the assignment and sealing of the 144,000, 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes of Israel. Revelation 7:9 speaks of their successes as a multitude were saved that went beyond anyone's ability to number them. We will get a sneak peek at the efforts of those 144,000 that those that are saved during the Tribulation period who die during that time will go into the everlasting arms of God, the Father in heaven.

The Bible says" to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord" in 2 Corinthians 5:8! No where in Scripture is there a waiting period or a place of holding. No where is Scripture is that a biblical truth. There is no doctrine of purgatory, it doesn't exist. It was created after the year 600, it doesn't exist. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord, is a wonderful promise to anyone who believes in Jesus, especially if you are called to be a martyr for Jesus Christ. That is our assured hope and our guarantee!

When those that suffer and die for their testimony during the Tribulation, they go immediately into the presence of God. There is no waiting zone, place of purgatory, no, they go immediately into the presence of God and that is exciting.

Jesus says that heaven rejoices when people come to their faith in Him.

Luke 15:4-7, 10 ~ "Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.' I tell you in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who do not need to repent."

Repent simply means to change your mind. When it says that the shepherd places the sheep upon his shoulders, shows that this sheep was wayward. It's prone to wander. When a lamb goes astray he will be paying for a little disobedience. In the days, shepherds would break the leg of a lamb that continued to go astray. It teaches the little lamb that it must be dependent upon the shepherd if it's going to survive in this evil world. Jesus reminds us how much He loves us despite how much we have wandered away from Him. Maybe God is trying to get your attention today to bring you back to Him. What circumstance are you going through right now, that has you here today? It is the work of the Lord. It is God's desire that our minds need to be changed. That we need to look to Jesus Christ for adoration and worship! We want to look toward Him as our shepherd.

We are taking a sneak peek at what believers of the future shall see. The church remember has already been long removed from the earth during the rapture. Heaven will be well attended.

Revelation 7:13-14 ~  "Then one of the elders asked me, "These in white robes - who are they, and where did they come from?" I answered, "Sir, you know." And he said,"

Where is John right now? He is in the Spirit in heaven seeing these heavenly revelations. John is a member of the church. Remember in Chapter 4 in Revelation, the church has already been caught up into heaven. John is watching this future event and one of the 24 elders, that represent the church, asks John a question. John doesn't know who these people are and where they came from because they are not part of the church.

We as Christians, live in a doctrine of immanency that Jesus could return at any time, the Bible says, without any warning. This is something that we, as a church, await! We live every day of our lives in anticipation of that. Heaven will be well attended by those who have suffered for Jesus Christ. I'm not talking about those who are suffering right now. It is alarming to see how many people are suffering right now in the world for Jesus Christ. There are statistics all over the world that there are people that today will die for their faith in Jesus from North Africa, to China to areas in the deep South Pacific, that if you are a Christian, you will die for Christ! I am not talking about those that are dying for Jesus today .

There will come a time, where the bulk of those who are Christians at that time, must die for Christ. You and I are called to live for Christ in this age. There will come a time during the reign of the Antichrist, where all those who pledge allegiance to Jesus Christ will suffer persecution and the bulk of them will die for their faith in Christ. They will suffer for their identification with Jesus Christ. This group is not the church though the church suffers at this hour. There will be a time when the rapture will take place, the gospel will be preached,  by 144,000, skipping ahead to Chapter 14, Jewish men who are virgins, we speak Hebrew and all kinds of languages, 12,000 from each tribe of Israel.

The people dying for Christ today are different from those that will die for their faith during the Tribulation period. Don't confuse the two groups. Voices of the Martyrs,, there are a number of Christians today being persecuted for their faith to death more than any other time in recorded history. Globally, 100's of thousands are dying for their faith annually now. In the past 21 generations, there has always been a percentage of people who have died for their faith, they're martyred and we are seeing an increase in that today globally.

Those we are studying about in the Book of Revelation in Chapter 7 are not church age saints. These are not Old Testament saints. These are Tribulation saints, these are those that come to faith that are not part of the church , the church is in heaven. These are Tribulation saints, the ones who in future studies, Revelation 13 for example, they will not bow to the demands of the global leader, that we refer to as the Antichrist, they would not receive the mark of the beast. They would not pledge allegiance to his regime. They chose to give their faith to Jesus and honor the Lord. These are the Tribulation saints that will die for their faith, in that period of time. You don't have to be a Tribulation saint. You need Jesus right now and skip all of that. No one is guaranteed tomorrow. You don't know when your day is. Accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and the only way you are getting out of here alive.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Only One Way to Heaven. Just One!

Some of you might be pretty good in math, but in heaven one day there will be a multitude of people that no one can number, from all nations, tribes, peoples and languages. These will be those that come out of the great Tribulation Period, that even John can't count them. They are all giving glory to the Lamb, standing before His throne, dressed in white robes with palm branches in their hands. What this means is that people from all different kinds of religions will hear the gospel during the Tribulation and accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. That means Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Atheists, Jews, New Agers, and every other group under the sun will respond to the gospel and be saved. They will make it into heaven because they have been born again.

You can only get to heaven by being born again in John 3 and these people have put their faith in Jesus to save them. They will wake up to the fact that Jesus Christ is Lord. Only one religion is the right one and that is faith in Jesus Christ. There will be a mass of people enter into heaven, declared righteous by the blood of the Lamb.

Revelation 7:9-10a ~ "After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:" 

Remember these are the converts that are in heaven that have come from the Tribulation Period thanks to the efforts of the 144,000 evangelists. We will never get the whites and blacks together in peace, the Asians and the Hispanics together in peace, it will never happen no matter what kind of program we implement. There is only one way to crush racial division and ethnic divides. Jesus Christ is the only way. If you understand the gospel you know that Jesus died for all. There is no race that is greater than another one. Racial division is a form of satanic thinking, a form of evil and hatred, because those are not present in the life of a believer in Jesus Christ. Racism is satanic to its core.

The apostle Paul spoke to churches that were converted Jews and Gentiles, there were no churches that were exclusively Gentile, unlike some churches in the world today. That is wrong. It is an affront to Christ and an insult to the gospel when you have that kind of division on a church. If you are a born again Jew or a born again Gentile, why are you divided? Isn't that what the Book of Galatians was, to stop it because it's immature? That's carnal, that's division and it's wrong. There is no one better than anyone else in this world. Aren't we one in Jesus?

We will see that the Apostle John does not recognize who any of these people are. They are not from the church age. He doesn't know who they are. They are believers who have come out of great Tribulation. They are not part of the church, they are the Tribulation Saints. We know that there are the Old Testament Saints, there are the Church Age Saints and there are the Tribulation Saints. There are three groups throughout all of history. The Old Testament saints ended with John the Baptist, whom we often attribute with the Church Age saints. He was the last Old Testament prophet. John was of the old economy of God ushering in the Church Age. Is John in heaven or Daniel? Yes!

The Church Age saints are those from the moment the church was born until the rapture. That is called the Bride of Christ. Saints. The church. Once the rapture happens until the Second Coming of Christ, during the 7-year Tribulation Period, there are the Tribulation saints. These three are distinguished in Scripture that we will see as we continue in our study.

What a perfect ending to it all when we know our destination is heaven and it is God who saves. How do we know?

Revelation 7:10 ~ "And they cried out in a loud voice: "Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb."

Who are they? John asks the question.

Revelation 7:14 ~ "I answered, "Sir, you know." And he said, "These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."

Salvation belongs to our God and to the Lamb. Why does it say, "And?" Even though God the Father sits on the throne, there is no salvation outside of the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

So how does a man get to heaven?

By bowing his knee or heart so to speak, and accepting Jesus as the sacrificial Lamb. God sent forth His Son to be the sacrifice for our sins. Remember Jesus loves us. He willingly died for us.

Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, and no one comes to the Father, but through Me." ~ John 14:6. Nobody gets to the Father but through Jesus, the Son. It doesn't matter what you believe, there is no other way, but through Jesus. If you don't like it, take it up with God, He wrote the Bible and created you.

1 John 5:11-13 ~ "And that is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life."

Acts 4:10-12 ~ "Then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, who you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. He is "the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone." Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved."

Philippians 2:9-11 ~ "Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth an under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

John 3:35-36 ~ "The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him."

What a perfect ending when It's God who is.

Revelation 7:11-12 ~ "All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying: "Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!"

We already know who the elder and four living creatures are through our previous studies. They worshiped. Everyone who is saved worships! Angels are worshiping, four living creatures are worshiping, Christians are worshiping. It is the one thing we get to do here that we get to do there! Worship.

How do we worship? Singing is one form of worship. When we mean what we sing!

All the inhabitants of heaven are servants of God. Service is the heart of the matter. There is enthusiasm when they worship God. We should all be drunk with the Holy Spirit in our lives. We should be worshiping God because of all He has done for us. When life ends here, it doesn't end for us. He forgives us from all our sins, that should be a reason to worship. We are saved. We should worship God because of His goodness and His ability to promise. There are no promises He denies from us. All God asks from us, is just to walk with Him today. He is the God of ever lasting life. Until we come to see God face to face, we need to ask for God to guide and lead us in the will He has for us.

We will be surprised by those who will be in heaven and then again those who are not. There will be one giant victory celebration in heaven that we will all be a part of because we are believers in Jesus Christ and are born again! It only takes a nano second to accept Jesus into your life. It's just a change of heart.

Do you want that assurance that when you die, you will go to heaven today? It doesn't matter what you have done up to this point, you can have that eternal assurance today. Simply change what you believe in your heart and say this simple prayer:

Jesus, I see You as my Lord and Savior. That You are the Lamb of God who takes away my sins, and I'm asking You right now to forgive me. Make me Your own child. Thank You for dying for me and rising from the dead. I know place my life and my future in Your hands. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

No Second Chances for Jesus!

We must never forget that the Lord knows those who are His, much like you know which children belong to you. Jesus said in John 10 and 17, that His sheep know His voice. I know His voice, thank God that I know His voice and I hope that if you have found your way here today, you also know His voice or if you don't, by the end of this message, I will show you how you can. The Lord knows those who are His. Who doesn't love the feeling of belonging to someone who really loves us? There is something we all love when someone we love gives us a big hug and puts their arms around us from our children, to our spouses or even family members and friends. It makes you feel like you belong, you are worthy and you are loved.

We can see how powerful this is, when people all over the world are being persecuted, murdered, beheaded, killed in every manner you can think of, and they are not afraid. They are singing songs, praising the name of Jesus because they are secure in the knowledge of knowing that despite all these things, they belong to God. No other religion in the world gives you that sense of belonging like trusting in Jesus does. How is that possible? Because He is the only one that is real, He is the only one alive and He is the only one who loved you enough to die for YOU! He is the ONLY Way, the Truth, and the Life! You can't get to God any other way, despite what you might have heard. Remember Jesus Christ died on the cross for all of our sins, not some of them.

I believe that when we read of God's sealing of the 144,000 tribes of Israel, that He is providing them with the Holy Spirit, but it's only a guess, which imparts upon them a sense of ownership that no matter what happens in the Tribulation, they belong to God and can't be harmed. They will walk in the power of the Holy Spirit and their ministry will be like that of 144,000 Billy Grahams throughout the world. As the four angels are getting ready to wreck havoc upon the earth, another angel comes to tell them "Time Out, we have to seal these 144,000 first before you unleash the wrath of God!" They will be walking in a bubble of protection and nothing can harm them that God does not allow.

Now we look at salvation and the wisdom of God.

Revelation 7:4-8 ~ "Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel. From the tribe of Judah 12,000 were sealed, from the tribe of Reuben, 12,000, from the tribe of Gad, 12,000, from the tribe of Asher, 12,000, from the tribe of Naphtali 12,000, from the tribe of Manasseh 12,000, from the tribe of Simeon 12,000, from the tribe of Levi 12,000, from the tribe of Issachar 12,000, from the tribe of Zebulun 12,000, from the tribe of Joseph 12,000, from the tribe of Benjamin 12,000. "

This is not the church. These are not Gentiles. These are Jewish men from the tribes of Israel. God knows those who are His. The "Church Age" and the age of grace is what we are in right now. That will end the very moment of the rapture and the Day of Christ will begin! God's eye will be focused on the nation of Israel and 144,000 Jews will be sealed to begin evangelizing to the entire world.

Isaiah 49:5 -6 ~ "And now the LORD says - he who formed me in the womb to be his servant to bring Jacob back to him and gather Israel to himself, for I am honored in the eyes of the LORD and my God has been my strength - he says: "it is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth."

God is not done with the nation of Israel. You need to come to terms that the nation of Israel is not going anywhere. It was brought back as a nation for the second time on May 14, 1948 and it will continue no matter who threatens to destroy it. God has put His hand on that country and He is doing a work in them.

Romans 11:25 ~ "I did not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in."

Isaiah 43:5-6 ~ "Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. I will say to the north, "Give them up!" and to the south, "Don not hold them back." Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth -" 

God is not done with the nation of Israel and one of those reasons is that He is going to call out 144,000 of them to be preachers and evangelists. There will be two groups of people saved during the Tribulation period. (1) Many Jewish people will awaken and to see Jesus as the Messiah, and (2) those non-Jewish people who come to believe in Jesus due to the preaching of the 144,000. God has an awesome plan for the Jewish people and the nation of Israel! It's time to choose God and move on!  If you try to share God with most Jewish people right now, they think you are nuts, did you know that? They just don't see Jesus as the Messiah! The Bible says that they can't, that there is a veil over their eyes according to what we just read in Romans 11:25. God has blinded them.

The Bible says that Satan has blinded the minds of those in this world that do not believe, did you know that? That is one group of people in the world. The second group is those that does believe in Jesus, called Christians, and then there is also a third group of people, they are not blinded by Satan. Did you ever think of that? Who are they blinded by? God! He has blinded the Jewish nation until He is ready to open the blinders. Satan hasn't blinded them. Isn't that interesting?

God in all His wisdom has a great plan during the Tribulation, besides the 144,000 sealed, there will be an untold amount that will choose Jesus both Jewish and Gentile alike during this time. They decide to choose Jesus and move on. There are those in the world today, that haven't yet made that decision to choose Jesus, and if you are one of those people, you are walking a fine line, kinda of like sitting on an ice cube right now over hell. It's bad enough to sit on an ice cube, but have you ever slipped on ice? No matter how great you look, in a second you are humbled when you slip on that ice. You are finally brought down no matter how much you think of yourself, just like the rest of us.

You might be thinking to yourself right now, "I'm not sure I'm ready to make that decision just yet, I still have a few things left that I want to do first." Watch out and beware. Right now during this time of preaching the gospel during the time of grace, the call is upon you right now to choose. We will see in 2 Thessalonians 2 in future studies that once the rapture happens, those people who just prior to the rapture who played with the idea of the gospel and didn't accept Christ and put Him off, the Bible says that God, Himself, will turn upon them, and send them strong delusions so that they will not believe the truth, they will not come to the knowledge of the truth, because they would not during that time of the gospel of the Church Age.

So then who will get saved? The multitudes of the Jews and Gentiles during the Tribulation Period who did not have opportunity to respond to this age of preaching this gospel. Did Jesus not say to go unto all the world and preach the gospels to all the ends of the earth? Not only that at the end of the Tribulation Period or near the end of it, the Bible tells us that there is going to come a time when God will send an angel to flew through the midst of the atmosphere, not the stars, and it will not be a satellite message either, that does not answer what the Bible tells us. It will be an angel sent from God out of heaven, and it will proclaim the everlasting gospel to the entire world and then the end will come upon the earth.

The church is to do it now. Israel is to do it during the Tribulation Period, and when God is done with both, God is going to say, "Angel, one last time, preach it all around the globe, and then that's it. It's over." If you are playing around with the gospel today, you'd better stop playing. You better receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. If you are having a hard time seeing that, speak to God, open your Bible and He will show it to you. If you want to kill about an 1 1/2, go see the Passion of the Christ. If you need to see something about what Jesus did for you, go see Mel Gibson's rendering of the Passion of the Christ. I stress this rendering because as accurate as it is, it is not accurate enough. In that movie, Jesus is shredded in that and you'll walk away disgusted, changed hopefully, but in the book of Isaiah, it says that Jesus was mutilated so much so that you couldn't even tell who it was or if it was human or not. All you saw was the silhouette of a human being. Can you imagine putting a human being in a blender, turning it on, pouring it out into the shape of a human being and having it stand up? Marred more than any other man for our sins, He loves us that much!

Did you know that while He was on the cross, He was accepting you? All of the sins of the world we could ever commit past, present and future by every single person who had been born, was born and will be born, He paid the price of all it, just for YOU! He accepted it all willfully. That is why He said, "Father if this cup be taken from me, may it pass." The answer was no, it may not. Salvation knows no other way, but for Jesus to go to the cross. And He took upon Himself, what you and I deserve.

John 4:14 ~ " but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."

Do you know what this verse means? It means that when you taste of what Jesus offers, you will not be like a little bumble bee. What do they do when spring comes? They go from flower to flower sampling all the nectar. They don't build a house on just one flower. There are a lot of people who come from religion to religion to religion, sampling everything that there is to offer, and try to build their own little life from what they like from each of them. Jesus says that when they sample from what He offers, they won't want to go anywhere else!

John 6:51 ~ "I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."

John 5:39 ~ "You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me,"

Remember that salvation has a perfect ending. As we look back to the first three words of Revelation 7, "After these things," I had you circle them in your Bible, to make a special note about them, and now we come to verse 9, "After these things," again! In the Greek it is "meta tauta" and means that same as Hollywood filming a scene and when they get to the end, they say, "It's a wrap!" Simply put verses 1-8 in Revelation, "It's a wrap, it's complete! Stop! Change of scene! Bring in the new set! Get ready to film!" Do you get that?

Beginning in Revelation 7 in verse 9, there is insert, still a parenthetical insert, but now there is a shift change. It's all about a God who loves.

Revelation 7:9-10a ~ " After these things, I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, tribe, people, and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:"

Why is this important? It is an interesting group of people, who they are and where they come from. Who are they? They are obviously converts by what they say in a moment. We know that they have the white robes that were given to them. They are before the throne of God and before the throne of the Lamb. Notice where they are at and who they are? Some of them are Jewish but not limited to Jews, these are the converts that comes from the preaching of the 144,000. The verses says that they come from all nations, tribes, people and languages.

You might be well versed in knowing about the Bible, but it doesn't mean you know who Jesus is. He is not only the author but He is the One who the Bible says He is. That is why you need to read the Bible and understand it is all about Jesus Christ. If you don't understand something, pray about it and ask God for understanding and remember, it all points to Jesus Christ.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Can You Lose Your Salvation?

We all handle trouble differently when we encounter it, we either run to God or run from God. Here in the Book of Revelation, we see quite a bit is happening from angelic ministries and how they are involved and what their duties are, to the trouble that is about to befall those left on the earth. What do you do when you find yourself in trouble? From that pink slip your boss hands you, to that call from your doctor. Where do you run?

Now more than ever I believe we are seeing more and more troubling things in this world from global economies in trouble to trouble with meteorological conditions in America. We have racism in trouble, violence in trouble, doctrine in trouble, marriages in trouble, and even government in trouble. I believe this is unprecedented for the first time in the history of the world. Why? I believe it is so we can call out to God in the midst of our troubles, but if we, as believers, don't call out to Him, repent from what we've been doing, and seek revival, then the troubles will only continue and get much worse. I believe these are all warning signs from God. If you doubt what I am saying that's fine, but I would encourage you to read Joel 1 to see how God allows things to happen to get our attention. He allows things to happen so that we might call out to Him.

As you might remember when we picked up our study last week about Chapter 7 in the Book of Revelation that this breaks up the chronological events for us to gather a bit of very important information derived directly from God before we can move on. Kinda of like pressing the pause button in the middle of the movie to give you some background information that helps you understand what will be happening before we move forward through the rest of the Book. We know that the information we read in Revelation is all about the future insights into what is coming to the world. John sees the Revelation of End Times.

When we left off on Friday, we learned that God has ordained four angels to hold back the very elements of earth and has assigned them that very duty for this time.

Revelation 7:1-3 ~ "After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree. Then I saw another angels coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea. "Do not hard the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God." 

We learned that salvation is being prepared to be delivered to the world at this terrible and dark time. We saw that there is an angelic ministry relating to the powers of nature. These angels have the power to hold back the things we take for granted. Do you know when the weather is about to change, the wind will always blow first? It's making an announcement that a change is coming in the weather if you have ever studied up on weather events. Imagine God will command the angels to hold back the winds. There will be horrific fall out because of that.

We then learned that an angel has been given the duty to place a seal upon 144,000 Jewish Hebrew-speaking virgin men from each of the 12 tribes of Israel and this has to happen before the wrath of God continues. No one knows what the "seal of the living God" means but we have speculated on what it might be. Whenever you look up the word "seal or sealing" in the Bible it is a very strong word of authority. When anything of value was purchased or owned it was sealed by its owner. It has hot wax poured over it, like a knot and then embossed with a signet ring from the owner until the time of redemption. That means it was sealed until such time as the owner came and took it. Kinda like a layaway program. They put your stuff away with a small deposit and no one can purchase it because it has your name on it. When you pay it off, it's yours to take.

Esther 8:8 ~ "And a decree shall be written concerning the Jews, (1) as it pleases you, (2) in the king's name and (3) seal it with the king's signet ring; benefit = for whatever is written in the king's name sealed with the king's signet ring shall no one revoke." 

This means that anything that has been sealed has been accepted, approved and marked on the authority of.

2 Corinthians 1:20-22 ~ "For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ. And so through him the "Amen" is spoken by us to the glory of God. Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come."

For those of you that struggle in your salvation, questioning whether you have it one day and then cover yourselves with yet another altar call just to make sure, never quite knowing if you are truly saved or not, trust in the assurance of this verse that you have been sealed by the Holy Spirit the moment you said "Yes" to Jesus and asked for forgiveness of your sins, and Jesus came into your life, how did God do that? How does God the Father implement the salvation of His Son worked out upon the cross, in the life of a believer today? God the Father sends forth the Holy Spirit in the name of God and according to the Bible, you are baptized into the body of Christ. The Greek implies strongly that it is a once and for all thing. You are either saved today or you're not.

You're either going to heaven or you're not. You either have the Holy Spirit in you or you don't. If you don't by the way, that can all change by the hearing of the Word of God. It is very important to be sealed by the Holy Spirit. It means to be stamped approved, accepted and under the authority of God.

Ephesians 1:13-14 ~ "And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession - to the praise of his glory." 

I don't know about you, but I am going to heaven and it has nothing to do with what I have done. It has nothing to do with what I have said or didn't say. It has nothing to do with what I have given or haven't given. It has to do with the fact that I recognize that Jesus died on the cross for me, and that at that moment according the Bible, the Holy Spirit sealed me. The moment we come to faith, we are sealed! The moment any of us does it, the Bible says that angels rejoice in heaven over that! There is no where in Scripture does it say at any time you will be unsealed. The angels wouldn't rejoice if we kept getting our seal broken. That should be a comforting thing. If you have been saved, given your life to Jesus, been born again, the Bible strongly suggest that you will never been unborn again.

You may believe in Jesus just like you believe in George Washington, but you may not be trusting Jesus just like you don't trust George Washington in history. You believe in Jesus, you are religious, but you might not be going to heaven because of that. Have you come from that place of knowing all about Christ, and all the personal history of Christ, but have you come to personal know Christ by relationship? It's a big difference! To believe in Christ and then to come to trust in Christ! The Bible warns us that Satan and his demons believe in Jesus, and they tremble when they think of Him, but they are not saved are they? Have you put your faith in Christ?

Ephesians 4:29-30 ~ "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption."

The Holy Spirit seals us and with that sealing that He does, there will be no break in it. You've been accepted by Jesus, regardless of how you feel. How many of us, really feel worthy of what Jesus has done for us? He loves us. He died for us all personally. You are THE one! It's not the righteous or self righteous. Do you think anything you have done is more powerful than Christ? He died for all of our sins not just some of them.

God adores us. He has numbered the very hairs on our head. He tells us these things so we know what is coming. Remember as a Christian, our vantage point is from heaven. We will not be a part of this time that is coming. If you are not a Christian now, it's not too late for you! You can be a Christian today, because Jesus wants a personal relationship with Him. He is waiting for you to come to Him.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Did You Know That Angels are Assigned to Nations?

If you have been following this study, we learned that Chapter 7 in the Book of Revelation is a pause in the story to provide us with some relevant information that we need to know to understand the remainder of the book. It's called a parenthetical pause. The one thing we need to understand when we read our Bible is understanding the validity of the nation of Israel, where most people would like to simply wipe them off the face of the earth, or say that because Israel rejected Jesus the remainders of the promises of the Bible no longer relate to Israel or the Jewish people, but the church age believers. That is just not true.

God promises that in the last days He will gather together the nation of Israel, not any other nation! All of the ancient prophecies that are foretold by the prophets said that before God establishes His kingdom, or the Messiah returns back to earth, He will again bring Israel back into her promised land. We are living in a time where this has begun, first with the Zionist movement where Israel as a nation was created in a day for the second time on May 14, 1948, we still see Jews emigrating back to their homeland which they have never been to before, no other nation in the history of the world has had a second birth, and for the first time, the church and Israel exist on the same timeline. What does that mean? That means that Jesus, for us, can come back at any moment. We don't have salvation, unless God keeps His promises to the nation of Israel! He told them His covenant with them was everlasting, if He breaks that promise, than we have no hope of eternal life. The same Jesus that died for our sins, died for us all, the Gentiles and the Jews!

Remember if you are not Jewish, you are a Gentile. I am a Gentile. We know that God has a certain number of Gentiles that need to come to believe before Jesus returns for His church and only He knows when that number will be complete as we learned from Romans 11:25 yesterday. Each time someone gets saved, the number increases and moves us ever closer to the end.

Isaiah 43:1-6 ~ "But now, this is what the LORD says - he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in your stead. Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give men in exchange for you, and people in exchange for your life. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east, and gather you from the west. I will say to the north, "Give them up!" and to the sound, "Do not hold them back." Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth - "

In fact the Bible promises that there will be a great revival of Jews who come to know Jesus as Savior during the Tribulation period.

Ezekiel 37:12-14 ~ "Therefore prophesy and say to them: "This is what the Sovereign LORD says:"O my people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. Then you, my people, will know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the LORD have spoken, and I have done it declares the LORD."

I believe when that happens, the church will have a bird's eye view from heaven. We already see a great movement happening as millions of people continue to move there from all over the world, in record numbers never before seen in the history of man.

Revelation 7:1-3 ~ "Revelation 7:1-12 ~ "After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree. Then I saw another angels coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea: "Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God."

We learned that the words "After this" means directly after the final verse of chapter 6. There shouldn't be a period in our Bibles, but a comma or a pause in the story as we have been reading it by God, to inject some important information we need to know before continuing in the Book of Revelation.

Chapter 7, verses 1-8, let's refer that as Phase 1. Chapter 7, verses 9-17, we will refer that as Phase 2. Phase 1 is a division after these things or "After this." These are the things that John saw on earth before the Second Coming of Christ happens. That is verses 1-8. It is clearly Jewish, this is where Jehovah's Witnesses are deceived. They are not of the 144,000 that this chapter refers to. This also does not refer to the 7th Day Adventists. They are not these people. They think they are. They believe that if the Lord raptures the church on a Saturday and the 7th Day Adventist who is keeping Saturday holy, they are the ones that get to be raptured. Anyone who has slacked off that day or the rest of us, don't get to go. I got news for them, it won't be them. None of the 144,000 get raptured.

They are all Jews from the tribes of Israel. So the next time some one knocks on your door, ask them what tribe they are from. When we get to Chapter 14, we will learn that they are all virgin men, who speak Hebrew and have the gift of Evangelism. Chapter 7, from verses 9-17, are what is called Phase 2, that will be discussing in the future, this is what John saw on earth, after the Second Coming of Christ. Verses 9-17 are clearly Gentile in context and it relates to earthly worship. Verses 1-8 clearly Jewish in context and it relates to the ministry during the Tribulation of the 144,000 Jewish evangelists.

In Revelation 7:1, we see the angelic ministry relating to the powers of nature. These angels are given  powers to hold back certain elements that have to deal with the natural course of nature. Notice the grand authority given to these angels. It says that these angels are given the power to hold back the wind. God grants them that authority. There are angels of varying degrees of ministry, if you didn't know that. There are certain angels who have assignments to specific nations. Imagine there is an angel assigned to the nation of the United States. We know from the Book of Daniel that there is an angel assigned to the nation of Iran. There is an angel assigned to the region of Babylon. There is a specific angel you should know by name that is assigned to the region of Israel, do you know his name? He is known for getting into a fight every time there is a battle? Michael! Gabriel is assigned to make announcements. He must have a great voice! Every time Michael shows up in the Bible, he has gloves on!

There are angels assigned to judgments, remember the angels assigned to Sodom and Gomorrah? There are specific angels who levy judgments against those who sin against the Lord. Remember Balaam when he was riding his donkey? Balaam is not obeying God, and God dispatches an angel to kill him, but then God calls him off. Then there was 186,000 Assyrian soldiers and in one night an angel sent by God kills them all in a moment. That's power!!! You can't do that with any smart bomb. There are certain angels assigned to announcements as we have mention, certain angels assigned to spiritual warfare, and there are certain angels assigned to God's people, both Jews and Gentiles. The Bible tells us in Hebrews 1:14 ~ "Are not angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?"

Angels for us. That is a very powerful thing. So many people have written books about the verse in Revelation 7:1 about the four angels that hold back the winds in the four corners and with that they attempt to prove the Bible is wrong. They use this verse and claim on scientific terms, meaning that people have accused God for more than a 1000 years of being limited in His scientific understanding because according to Revelation 7:1, God, they think, is declaring the world is flat, because it has four corners. Isn't that stupid?

If you have any understanding of maps, topography, astronomy, and if you want to study the heavens, you have to lay it out on a single page. The problem is that the page is flat. You have to unwind it. Don't get lost in that. If you ever go online to some place like NASA, and lets say you want to track the progression of the shuttle, do they present a globe on the website and you have to keep clicking on the globe so it turns around so you can watch it as it goes over Africa? No! What do you do? You click on NASA, and you see what is called a surface map, because it's the only way you can see a circle, or the globe in one moment. You have to unwind it and lay it out on a flat page, so you can see it all in one moment.

The words in Greek "gonia," which means quadrants, angles, sections, or divisions,  and Hebrew "kanaf" which means to the extremity of, or to the very ends of the earth", are used here and its fantastic because God is so smart that it takes a while for us to catch up. God has determined that when you lay it all out flat, there are four corners. That is why the US Marines have boasted that they can respond to any crisis anywhere in the world because they come from the four corners of the earth. They're not stupid. They understand that if you want to monitor the world, you lay it out on a flat page. God is saying, "I'm watching it all!"

You can't even think about having a North, South, East and West unless you apply God's law of Him viewing the earth laid out with four corners. There is no such thing as an East, West, North and South without God.

Isaiah 40:22 ~ "He sits enthroned about the circle of the earth." 

What is amazing and scientifically accurate is the fact that our earth and its weather patterns are totally dependent on complete interaction, meaning that what is happening in China weatherwise will impact California in about 2 weeks, plus or minus 3 days. What happens today in Africa weather wise will impact the entire eastern seaboard in about two weeks, plus or minus 3 days! The creation will be effected by the impending judgment of God to soon come.

Now lets look at the angelic ministry relating to the Jewish remnant.

Revelation 7:2a ~ " Then I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God." 

John sees this angel and they have a very specific ministry assigned to them, and he has the seal of the living God. No one knows what this seal is, the only thing that is the popular view is that when God saves someone the Bible says in Ephesians 1 and 4, that He seals you with the Holy Spirit unto the day of redemption. It means we are put on lay away now until He comes back! The word in Ephesians 1 and 4 is that that seal can never be broken! For those of you that want to struggle with your eternal security, go ahead. I, for one, am saved! I know it. It has nothing to do with what I have done, in fact it is in spite of what I have done. But I know this, the Holy Spirit is in my life. I've never heard of Him audibly, but I know He is with me.

It says here that He will apply that seal upon those 144,000 preachers, and they will (1) be immune from the judgments that will come upon the earth. They will be divinely protected. (2) They will be protected against the antics of the Antichrist. He will have no power over them until God grants him power. Many scholars believe that when the Holy Spirit raptures the church out of here, He will resume back to His Old Testament type of ministry once the church is gone. Meaning that He came upon people like David, and others, and when the church is taken out of the earth, He will once again come upon people like He did back in the Old Testament economy. There will be an outpouring of the Holy Spirit that we will talk about next week, of such power that will come upon the Jewish remnant, 144,000, and God will make them His great servants during that period of time.

Revelation 7:2-3 ~"  Then I saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea: "Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God." 

God is telling them not to harm the land or the sea or the trees during the Tribulation period, until I have sealed the servants of God upon their foreheads.This is a divine sealing that will take place upon them and that is a very important thing. God knows those who serve Him and He places a seal upon them in that period of time. We are NOT living in these days that we are studying today, but that time is coming. But God knows you who are Christians! He knows who is real and who is playing games. He knows those that are His. Paul said in the Book of Romans, "that we are justified by faith in God."

James comes along and accents, doesn't contradict. By the way, the Book of Romans is written to believers and non believers alike to anyone who will listen. The Book of James, is written to believers, exposing nonbelievers. The Bible says, "believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved." James reminds us that if we have faith, we will have Christian service in our life. You're going to be ministers if you are saved. You're going to be servants if you are saved. That's the fact of Christianity. It's a verb. Don't mistake it for a noun. Christianity does.


Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Do You Know About a Parenthetical Pause in Revelation?

We have just finished up the first six chapters of the Book of Revelation and we come to what is called a parenthetical insert or pause as we begin Chapter 7 today, it's God's way of pressing pause as it were, and provides us with some background information. Despite what you may hear that is going on around the world with regards to the Jews and Israel, that somehow God has abandoned them, here you will see what God's plan is for them, and how He enumerates 144,000 Hebrew Jewish believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, to present the gospel to the world. There are 12,000 from each tribe, they are Hebrew speaking, Jewish virgin men that are called by God for this special evangelistic event ministry as salvation is brought in the midst of trouble.

This is going to take us about 6 separate sessions to get through the magnitude of what is going on here as we come to a portion of Scripture that is very technical, not so much for its content but where it is placed in the Book of Revelation. Up to point, we have been walking through the book in a chronological order, and as the chronology goes on, the Lord in revealing to the apostle John futuristic events, puts a comma at the ending verse of chapter 6. In your Bible, there is a period there, but it should be a comma. God takes John's face at this point and turns him to two very specific events, phase one and phase two. things that will happen in a sense that are an overview with chapter 8 commencing the last three and a half years of the seven-year Tribulation Period. It explains some things before Chapter 8 begins. There are the first 3 1/2 years, a pause, God shows John some things which he tells us in chapter 7 and when he is finished speaking with us, then it picks back up again and it goes.

This chapter is very important in understanding the rest of this book. If you miss this chapter, you will never understand the rest of this book, and you will always be misunderstanding eschatology or the prophetic study of God's Word. We will look at the entire proximity of the first twelve verses and then begin an indepth study of just the first few today.

Revelation 7:1-12 ~ "After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree. Then I saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea: "Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God." Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel. From the tribe of Judah 12,000 were sealed, from the tribe of Reuben, 12,000, from the tribe of Gad, 12,000, from the tribe of Asher, 12,000, from the tribe of Naphtali 12,000, from the tribe of Manasseh 12,000, from the tribe of Simeon 12,000, from the tribe of Levi 12,000, from the tribe of Issachar 12,000, from the tribe of Zebulun 12,000, from the tribe of Joseph 12,000, from the tribe of Benjamin 12,000. After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: "Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb." All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying: "Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. AMEN!"

The word AMEN in Hebrew, Greek and English simply means "Let it be so, or let it be true." From the mouth of the prophet Jeremiah, keep this in mind, God spoke in times past. He said, "Thus sayeth the Lord, we have heard a voice of trembling, of great fear and not of peace. Ask me now and see whether a man has ever labored in pains to give birth as a woman does. So then why do I see every man holding his hands over his lions like a woman who suffers in labor? And all their faces shall turn pale from the pain. Alas for is this great and terrible day, it has come and there is none like it. For it is the time of Jacob's trouble, but Jacob shall be delivered out of it." Jeremiah 30:5-7. 

This portion of scripture from Revelation 7, introduces us in verses 1-8, to a dynamic group of people. And it lists them to give us no doubt as to who they are. There is an introduction of 144,000 people whom God will call out from their place in this world. They will be ordained. They will be summoned. They will be called and there will be 12,000 of them coming from the 12 tribes of the nation of Israel. Chapter 7 prepares for Chapter 8, that final 3 1/2 years of the Tribulation Period. It's going to be tough.

Remember the first 3 1/2 years has been the advent of the Antichrist, he will deceive the world through prosperity and demonic peace, he will deceive the world through a restoration or implementation of the environment, and he will be a tremendous politician. The Bible tells us that in the Old Testament, there is no doubt where he will arise, and will come out of what was, the Ancient Roman Empire, was has been affectionately labeled as the revised Roman Empire? The nations of ancient Rome, at the time of Christ and before, will come together in the last days and in that conglomeration of those nations there will arise 10 predominate leaders almost like what we have in the world today, you know like the G-7? Are you familiar with that?

They are the seven global economic powers of the world of which the United States, at least at this time is number 1, and they include Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom. Russia is not included in this list because of the amount of debt it owes everybody. But there is more than 7 nations in all the earth isn't there? Yet these are the 7 that manipulate the world through money, and they meet every year to discuss how things are going to go. It's a very powerful group of people right now but there is a time coming, which I don't think is very far away, where we are already seeing the revised Roman Empire which is called the U.S.E. or the United States of Europe or the EU, the European Union. They will have their own dollar, now it's called the Euro, they will have their own economic base, their own leaders, and the Bible says that out of 10 predominate nations like G7 types, but it will be 10 types and will arise and broker the powers of the world that be. This will happen under the power and control of the Antichrist. Then all the events that we read about in Chapter 6 will happen and all within the first 3 1/2 years of the 7-year Tribulation Period.

Now we come to the pause in Chapter 7, where we see the focus of God on the nation of Israel. Most people who oppose what I am about to say next and it's called heresy, and they are so called Christians, and its damnable heresy to say that it is antisemitic and demonic and there are those that have lived from generation to generation that believe this: that God is done with the Jewish nation. That whatever God promised to the nation of Israel was lifted when Christ was crucified, and is now placed not only on the church but some people have been so arrogant as to believe that those promises have been lifted from the nation of Israel and have been given to the English speaking peoples of the world. That is called British-Israelism. It is a demonic doctrine.

God is not done with the nation of Israel and is in fact preparing the nation of Israel not only for its existence, but it has some horrifically tough times ahead in the Tribulation period before its glorious days that God intended for it to enjoy comes. This is very important. If you don't understand it, you better take some time to study this in the Bible. Don't buy a book on it, just read the Bible and you'll be fine. God has not given up on His people and He prophesied in the Book of Jeremiah in Chapter 30 where they will have to undergo a very tremendous and horrific time. Yet God said He would deliver Jacob out of his trouble, a time known as Jacob's trouble. What was the other name God gave to Jacob after He changed his heart? Israel! When you read about Jacob in the Bible, you are reading about Israel. Yet when God speaks through the prophet Jeremiah about this terrible time that is forthcoming, it is called the time of Jacob's Trouble or Israel's Trouble. Yet Israel shall be delivered out of it.

Psalm 94:13-14 ~ "you grant him relief from days of trouble, till a pit is dug for the wicked. For the Lord will not reject his people; he will never forsake his inheritance."

This is not a promise given to you and I. That is a promise given to Israel. We know however, that God will not forsake us either, but God will not forsake Israel either. This is something you need to keep in mind when you vote too! The first thing we should consider when contemplating any politician running for office is how do they feel about Israel. Why? Because I want America blessed. If you want America to be blessed, vote for someone who will support Israel! You want to see America come apart at the seams? Vote for someone who is not pro-Israel. We don't have to agree with everything Israel does, but God didn't ask us to agree with them with they do foolish things, God simply says I will bless those that bless you and curse those that curse you. You might not like that. It might upset you. Get your heart right with God and understand that it is God that says they, Israel, are His chosen people. God says He is not done with them.

Romans 11:1-5 ~ "I ask then: Did Gog reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. God did not reject his people whom he foreknew. Don't you know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah - how he appealed to God against Israel: "Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me?" And what was God's answer to him? "I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal." So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace."

God's not done with Israel. For the last 2000 years the Lord has placed aside the nation of Israel, the Jewish people, but He has not neglected them. What God is doing at this time is drawing out of the world at this time, a host called the church. A bride of Christ says the Bible. Made up of Gentile believers, but when the church is raptured up out of the earth, and the 7-year Tribulation Period begins, at some point after that, it will be God dealing with Israel again. Did you know that Jesus is espoused or engaged to the church which is a Gentile but God the Father has already married her and her name is called Israel! It's very important to keep that in mind.

But God will turn the nation of Israel during the Tribulation period they will cry out to the Lord and they will find out that not only did they have a Jewish prophet they did not listen to for the last 2000 years who goes by His Greek name Jesus, but He is also their Messiah! We are going to be reading about that in Revelation 7.

Luke 19:41-44 ~ "As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, "If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace - but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God's coming to you."

Jesus is saying all these things are going to come upon you because you didn't recognize me as your Messiah! Has not that been true for the last 2000 years? They have suffered for their rejection of Him.

Romans 11:25 ~ "I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in."

Just think that every time someone accepts Christ, we get one more closer to that number being fulfilled. Only God knows this but there is a number of Gentiles, that during the church age period which we are living in today, that when that number is reached, the fullness of the Gentiles will be complete. When that happens the focus of God shifts to the nation of Israel, to fulfill so much of the Old Testament prophecies. So when that number of believers is reached, the Gentile nations of believers and also those that won't believe, will be complete, God will rapture the church and then take the reins to deal with the nation of Israel and the remainder of those on the earth.

The challenge today is do you know the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior? If you don't, now is the time to meet Him and accept that Jesus Christ, died on the cross for your sins and mine, and He rose again from the dead. He is the God of the Bible, read it and you will fall in love with your Creator!