Wow!  What an experience.  Going through the entire Bible is quite a journey.  We see the over-all theme of the Bible from beginning to end is that God wants us to come and be with Him.  He was not content to let us go.  From the moment of the first sin, God had a plan to save us.  That plan is Jesus.  Every chapter of the Bible points us to Jesus.  We see God’s glory as a blazing brilliance of goodness, mercy, and compassion that culminated in the Cross.  The final call of both the Old and New Testaments is to come and give our lives and our hearts to Him.  We have a deliberate choice and God clearly out-lines the consequences of each choice.  It is no secret.  We can choose ourselves and our way or God and His way.  The consequences of our choice are significant.  Who do you choose today?  Do you feel God calling to you?  He loves you.  You do not have to change to be saved.  After you are saved, God will change you.  He wants a relationship with you so badly.  Come and be with Him.


Posted in 67) Conclusion
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Read Revelation 21-22

              Satan has finally been defeated.  The wicked have been judged.  Evil has been removed.  Now we see “a new heaven and a new earth” created by God.  God destroys the first heaven and earth.  In the new earth there is no sea.  There is nothing separating people from fellowship with each other.  The capital of the new earth is a new Jerusalem.  God Himself comes down from heaven to live among us.  It is a common thought that when believers die they go to heaven to live with God for eternity.  But actually, believers only go to heaven until Jesus returns to earth.  Then believers return with Him.  They live on earth during the millennial reign of Christ.  Then they live in the new earth created by God.  God comes to live with us, not us with Him.  When this happens “He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (21:4).  This is my greatest comfort today.  Does it comfort you?

            God tells John to write His words down.  His words are trustworthy and true.  Everything He says will be accomplished.  We can count on it.  We can count on Him.  God says “It is done.  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.  To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life.  He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son” (21:6-7).  The gift of salvation is free.  But the inheritance, or rewards in heaven, can be lost.  It is only for those who overcome.  To overcome is to live faithfully and obediently for Christ, not being ashamed of the gospel, but willing to take a stand for it.  Willing to talk about it.  Willing to choose it every day.  Willing to submit to it every day.  Never bowing down or giving in to Satan, who tempts us today just as he will people in the tribulation.  Entrance into the kingdom is free, available to all who choose to accept Christ.  The inheritance we receive there is earned.  Are you enduring in your faith today?

            John was then shown a vision of the new Jerusalem, more beautiful than we can imagine.  It is surrounded by twelve gates, three on each side.  There is an angel at each gate, and they remain open all the time.  Each gate has the name of a tribe of Israel.  The wall had twelve foundations, each with the name of the twelve apostles on them.  The new city is 12,000 stadia in length, width, and height.  This would be about the distance from Washington DC to Texas.  The wall was made of jasper, or diamonds.  The city was made of gold with a foundation of precious stones.  The twelve gates were each made of a single pearl.  There will never be night, and the city will always be lit only by the glory of God.  Think of Jesus’ words in John 14:2 “In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you.  I am going there to prepare a place for you”.  You have a room prepared just for you in this beautiful city if you accept Christ and live by faith in Him.

            There is a river clear as crystal flowing down the middle of the city.  On each side is the tree of life, inaccessible to humans since the fall of Adam and Eve.  There is no longer any curse.  God and Jesus will rule from the city.  They will reign forever and ever.  Jesus tells us three times in chapter 22 “I am coming soon”.  The first time in verse 7, Jesus says “Behold, I am coming soon!  Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book”.  The second time in verse 12, Jesus says “Behold, I am coming soon!  My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done”.  The third time in verse 20, Jesus says “Yes, I am coming soon”.  The Holy Spirit draws us to Jesus with an invitation in verse 17, “Come!”.  Whoever is thirsty let him come.  Whoever wishes, let him come.  The final message of the Bible is an invitation to be with God followed by the words of Jesus that He will be here soon.  Amen.  Come, Lord Jesus.

God’s attribute:  I Am.  God is the beginning and the end.  He is the sustainer of all things.  His word is more powerful than any person, army, or thing in this world or the spiritual realm.  He does not respond to world events, He creates them.  He saved us when we were completely unable to save ourselves.  He seeks us even though we turn away from Him.  He forgives us even though we sin.  His glory lights the earth.  He prepares us to reign with Him forever by reigning with us now.  God paid a price for us to live in His city- the blood of Christ.  We can prepare to dwell with Him by loving Him, by studying His word, by praying with Him, and by following/ obeying Him now.  What can you do specifically to prepare to dwell with God in His house forever?

Prayer:  Praise God for being the Alpha and the Omega, the great I Am.  Thank Him for preparing a beautiful place for us to spend eternity.  Ask Him to prepare you now to live with Him forever.  Ask Him to show you what you need to do or to change in order to be prepared to dwell with Him.



Posted in 66) Revelation
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Read Revelation 19-20

             What is the response in heaven of the total destruction of the sin capital of the world?  What is the response in heaven of the completion of God’s series of judgments on the world?  Rejoicing!  There is a roar in heaven, the sound of a great multitude shouting “Hallelujah!”  The word hallelujah means “praise to God”.  The multitude shouts “Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, for true and just are His judgments” (19:1-2).  The twenty-four elders and the four living creatures in heaven also fall down and worship God.  Then God speaks from His throne saying “Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, both small and great” (19:5).  Think of the contrast between what has happened on earth and what has happened in heaven.  Destruction versus peace.  Wailing versus praise and celebration.  The wedding of the Lamb has come (19:7).  The prostitute was dressed in scarlet and purple, but the bride of the Lamb is dressed in fine, white linen.  John then falls down to worship the angel and the angel stops him.  Angels are still only created beings, and we are instructed to only worship God, the Creator.  How can we praise God today?  With our voices?  With our hearts?  With our lives?  How do you show praise to God?

            John then sees what every believer has been looking forward to throughout the ages.  Heaven opens and Jesus appears riding on a white horse accompanied by the armies of heaven.  Jesus is called Faithful and True because he is completely obedient to the Father even when that leads to death.  Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword, His words, which are more powerful than any weapon.  On His robe is written “King of Kings and Lord of Lords”.  He is totally and completely sovereign.  Is this true in our lives today?  Is he our king and our lord?

            An angel then calls to the birds flying in midair- meaning the vultures and scavengers- to come prepare for a great feast.  The outcome of battle is certain before it even starts.  The beast and the kings and armies of the earth gather at Armageddon to do battle against Jesus and the saints.  Armageddon is a real place.  Scholars believe it refers to the plain of Megiddo in southeast Israel that overlooks the Valley of Esdraelon.  It is southeast of the modern-day port of Haifa.  The beast and false prophet are captured before the battle even starts.  They are thrown alive into the lake of burning sulfur.  The rest of the forces opposing Jesus were killed with just His word, the sword of his mouth, and the birds “gorged themselves on their flesh” (19:21).  From the Creation to this final battle, we have seen the word of God to be completely powerful and all that is needed to accomplish God’s plan on earth.  Nothing can stop it.  Not Satan or demons or all the people of the earth gathered together.  God is sovereign.  Jesus is Sovereign.  Why do we worry?  Why do we fear?  God is Faithful and True.  His promises and His plan will be fulfilled down to the last letter. 

            The last order of business is to capture Satan.  An angel comes down from heaven with a great chain and a key to the Abyss.  The Abyss is a special holding place created just for Satan and his demons.  Satan is called by each of his four names so there can be no mistake- the dragon, the serpent, the devil, and Satan.  He is bound, locked, and sealed in the Abyss for a thousand years.  He cannot deceive, tempt, or persecute humans at all during that time.  Why does God not just finish Him off here?  We don’t know.  God graciously tells us His plan but not His reasons.  John sees thrones with those given authority to judge sitting on them.  The thousand years is called the millennial kingdom.  Jesus will physically reign over the entire earth fromJerusalem.  His saints will be resurrected from the dead and will rule with Him in different positions of authority.  The tribulation martyrs will be especially rewarded for their faithfulness through that difficult time.  Revelation 20:4 says that many martyred during the tribulation will be beheaded for their faith.  The rest of the dead, meaning the unsaved souls, will not be resurrected until after the thousand year reign. 

            After the millennial kingdom, Satan will be released from the Abyss.  He will again deceive many on the earth from every area of the earth.  He will then gather them for battle, surrounding the city of Jerusalem.  Perhaps God gave Satan the thousand years as one final chance at repentance.  But there was none.  And even many of those that lived with Jesus on earth in a perfect kingdom will choose to side with Satan.  He must make some powerful promises to deceive them.  He must tell them some powerful lies to convince them.  Ultimately, they choose their own way instead of God’s way.  This time, God gives no further words or time.  He simply sends fire down from heaven until all is completely destroyed.  But death is too good for Satan.  He is thrown into the lake of burning sulfur where he will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

            Then we see the second resurrection, this time of all the unbelievers through the ages.  They will stand before God’s great white throne and be judged for their actions.  It does not matter what their station in life was.  There is no one righteous.  Without accepting Jesus’ sacrifice, they will be sentenced as sinners, found guilty, and thrown into the lake of fire.  They do not cease to exist.  They continue to exist in a state of torment for eternity.  This is God’s ultimate warning to us.  If this does not make you choose God I don’t know what will.  We each have a choice.  We can choose to die to ourselves now, accepting Christ as our Lord, and live forever in heaven, a wonderfully, unimaginable place.  Or we can choose our own way now and live forever in eternal torment and suffering.  What do you choose?  Is this life worth sacrificing in order to be blessed for eternity? 

God’s attribute:  final.  After waiting for centuries for more believers to be saved, God has finally acted.  The battle is over.  The saints have been resurrected to be with Jesus.  The non-believers have been eternally condemned and thrown in the lake of fire.  The choice you make now has eternal consequences.  The choices you make today may be your final choices.  What will you choose?  How will you live?

Prayer:  Praise God for providing a way of salvation.  Thank Him that we do not have to be thrown into the lake of burning fire and suffer torment for eternity.  Ask God to show you what daily choices you need to make in order to obey Him, to know Him, and to serve Him.  Ask Him to seek your heart and to show you the sin in your life so that you may repent from it.  Ask Him to show you how to live each day as if it is your final day.



Posted in 66) Revelation
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Read Revelation 17-18

             God has finished His series of judgments on the earth.  He has punished sinners and those who have tormented His children.  Now we will see the fall of the greatest city on earth at the time of the tribulation.  No one knows exactly which city this will be.  Some believe it will be in the ancient territory of Babylon.  Some believe it will be Rome, the headquarters of Christian persecution in the day of John when this was written.  Still others believe it will be a new city to rise to prominence during the last seven years.  Regardless, it will be recognizable at the time as a center for commerce, trade, and world-wide influence.  One of the seven angels comes to John and offers to show him God’s punishment of the great prostitute, the city that has sold herself to idols and turned from God.  It will be the center of evil, sitting on “many waters”, meaning much worldly influence and power.  The kings of the earth commit adultery with her, meaning they sold out God in order to have a relationship with one of power and influence.  The inhabitants of the earth were intoxicated with her adulteries, meaning their actions were embraced by the people who live there.  John was then carried away in a spiritual vision.  He saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns.  The woman is a city, Babylon the Great.  The beast is the multinational political confederation of the last days.  She is dressed in purple and scarlet, reflecting her sins.  This is compared to the white dress of the forgiven saints.  She was gaudy in her material excess, glittering with precious stones.  She held a gold cup filled with her many sins and she drank of it until she was intoxicated with it.  She was drunk with the blood of all the saints that had been killed in her streets (17:6).  The beast is described as “once was, now is not, and yet will come” (17:8).  Some believe this refers to a fatal wound, such as the head wound of the antichrist, that will kill him and then he will rise from the dead, prompting the nations to worship him as god.  Some believe this is Satan or another demon that was held in the Abyss and then let go for a time before being thrown back into the Abyss.  Either way, it is a sorry comparison to the one “who is, and who was, and who is to come” (Rev 1:8)- Jesus Christ. 

            We are specifically told that understanding this passage takes a mind with wisdom.  Let us pray for the wisdom to understand it from the source of all wisdom.  The seven heads are seven hills.  This possibly may refer to Rome, which is situated on seven hills.  The seven heads also refers to seven kings.  Five have previously fallen, one is (the Roman Empire of John’s day), and the other one has not come yet.  The beast, or the antichrist, is the eighth king.  Five empires previous to John have persecuted the Jews- Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Media-Persia, and Greece.  The Roman Empire persecuted God’s people, the Christians, in John’s day.  Has there been a ruler or Empire that has persecuted God’s people between John’s day and now?  Hitler, maybe?  Just a possibility.  If not, there may be another yet to come before the tribulation begins. 

            The ten horns probably refer to the ten toes of Daniel’s vision.  This also corresponds to the ten horns on the beast in Daniel, a different vision, that showed one of the horns swallowing up, or conquering three of the horns, reducing the number to seven.  They will make war against Jesus, maybe referring to a battle at the place named Armageddon.  But Jesus, the Lamb, will win because “he is Lord of lords and King of kings- and with him will be his called, chosen, and faithful followers” (17:14).  Let us all pray that we will remain faithful until the end so we can be counted among that group.  It will take wisdom, determination, and perseverance.  God will then turn the peoples, multitudes, nations, and languages against themselves and they will actually be the ones to destroy Babylon the Great. 

            In chapter 18, we see an angel coming down from heaven proclaiming again that Babylon the Great has fallen.  The angel calls for all of God’s people to come out of the city so that they will not share in her punishment.  God plans to give back to her double for all the pain she has caused.  The kings of the earth will mourn at her destruction because they thought nothing could bring her down.  They will be terrified.  The merchants of the earth will mourn over her destruction because now they will have no more fine cargoes.  All the riches and splendor will vanish in one hour (18:17).  Every sea captain and sailor will mourn her destruction.  Could it be a city on a coast somewhere?  The city of Babylon will never be found again.  There will be no more music, no more work, no more family (18:22).  There will be no more light, no more future, and no more joy (18:23).  Her two great sins were leading the whole world astray, and killing God’s followers.

            The fall of Babylon the Great is not just a story about the fall of a great city- it is the story of the fall of individual sinners who rejected God.  The result?  Total desolation and silence.  No laughter or joy or weddings or families or jobs.  Nothing.  Let us strive to keep our minds focused on what is important- living a life worthy of the call of God.  It does not matter how things look on the outside- money, beauty, possessions, homes, power, influence.  The only thing that matters is what God will think when we stand before Him.  Where is our focus?  Once everything else is gone, will we be left with only silence?  Or will we be left with the fellowship of our Creator, Lord, and Savior?

God’s attribute:  deep.  A relationship with God is found deep within us.  Yes, people can see outward evidence in the lives of believers by their obedience.  But the benefits of a relationship with God cannot be seen by the naked eye.  It is not found on the surface.  It is found deep within- the peace, joy, love, hope, and confidence that God is who He claims and that He loves us, died for us, and is coming back for us.  There is no silence in the lives of believers, even if there is quiet all around them.

Prayer:  Praise God for judging the sin on the earth.  Thank Him for sending Jesus back for us a second time.  Ask Him to help you resist the propaganda of the world and resist the temptation to be sucked down into a materialistic and self-gratifying culture.  I will do the same.



Posted in 66) Revelation
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Read Revelation 15-16

            Just as breaking the seventh seal earlier led to the opening of the scroll and the seven trumpet judgments, now the sound of the seventh trumpet calls out seven angels holding seven bowls.  These are the final seven judgments of God on the Earth.  With them, God’s wrath against sin and against those who persecuted His believers will be complete.  The sea of glass seen earlier before the throne of God in heaven is now seen mixed with fire.  This is a picture of God’s fury and His judgment.  Standing beside the sea were those “who had been victorious over the beast and his image and over the number of his name” (15:2).  These are the martyred saints of the tribulation.  They are standing before God’s throne in heaven, in God’s presence, singing and playing harps.  They are rejoicing.  They are at peace.  They are filled with purpose and their purpose is to praise God.  They praise God in song, describing Him by His attributes- great, marvelous, just, true, King, holy, above all people and nations, worthy of worship, righteous.  Why don’t we all try praying this same prayer back to God?

            John then sees the heavenly temple again.  It was opened and the seven angels came out with the seven bowls of the last seven plagues.  God was then alone in the temple and smoke filled it.  The glory of God filled the temple.  At that point “no one could enter the temple” (15:8).  God will no longer be accessible to sinful man.  Think about who we have seen in the temple before.  Revelation 6:9 tells us that around the altar were the souls of those who had been martyred for the Word of God.  They refused to give up their testimony.  The 24 elders held golden bowls of incense that were the prayers of the saints asking how long until their blood would be avenged.  Now God has filled seven bowls with judgment and the prayers of the martyrs will be answered.  Ever since the Fall of Man, man has asked “how come evil men prosper and godly men suffer?”  That question is about to be answered by God.  God waited so that as many could be saved as possible.  But the day will come when the door to the heavenly temple is shut and the bowls of incense will be filled with wrath.  God will avenge His people.  God will punish those who have caused them to suffer.

            When the first angel poured out his bowl on the land, ugly and painful sores broke out on the people who had the mark of the beast and worshipped his image.  The second angel poured out his bowl on the sea and it turned the water into blood, killing every living thing in the sea.  The third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs and they became blood.  Then the angel of the waters tells us why God is doing this.  God is just in these judgments because these people “have shed the blood of your saints and prophets” (16:6).  They shed the blood of God’s people and now they will have nothing to drink but blood.  The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun and the sun became so hot that it scorched people with fire.  But the people still “refused to repent and glorify Him” (16:9).  The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom was in total darkness.  Men were in agony but they refused to repent of what they had done (16:11).  The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the River Euphrates and dried up the water. 

            Three evil spirits then came out of the dragon (Satan), the beast (antichrist), and the false prophet.  They performed miraculous signs to deceive the people of the world and lead them astray.  It appears they will lie and give false propaganda in order to lead all the nations of the world into battle against Israel.  They will be gathered to a place called Armageddon.  Jesus then speaks in verse 15 “Behold, I come like a thief!  Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed”.  We are to be living in obedience.  We are to be living the way we want Jesus to find us when He returns.  It will be sudden and unexpected.  If Jesus came back right this minute, would He be happy to find out how you are living at home, at work, at school, in ministry, or socially?

            The seventh angel poured out his bowl and God spoke from the temple “It is done!” (16:17).  There was lightening, thunder, and the most severe earthquake of all time.  The great city of Jerusalem was split into three parts.  Other cities were destroyed.  Islands were submerged and the mountains were leveled.  Huge hailstones of 100 pounds each fell from the sky.  Could this possibly be a meteor shower?

            Does it help you to endure persecution now because you know you will one day be avenged by God Himself?  We are to pray for our enemies because the hope is that during this time they will be saved.  And if they are, then we must forgive them.  If they are not saved, then it is not for us to avenge.  God will handle it.  We have just had a very vivid picture of how He will handle it.  God takes the persecution of His believers very seriously. 

God’s attribute:  wrath.  As the time draws nearer for Jesus to return, there will be more and more Christian suffering and martyrs in the world.  Did you know that there were more Christian martyrs worldwide during the 20th century than in all the other centuries combined?  God will pour out His wrath on those who have persecuted His church.  Do you tease Christians about being “goody-goody” or “too good”?  Let us be careful that we are not part of the problem.  If the goal is to be like Christ then how can anyone be “too good”?  If you are suffering physical or verbal persecution then pray for the people who hurt you and know that God is in control.  He will punish all unrepentant sinners in His time.

Prayer:  Praise and thank God for defending you.  For avenging you.  For loving you enough to punish your enemies.  Ask God to change those who hurt you.  Ask Him to save them.  Ask God to help you forgive them.



Posted in 66) Revelation
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Read Revelation 14

              We have seen that half-way through the Tribulation that things continue to escalate.  Satan unleashes the brunt of his fury, knowing that his time is limited.  The antichrist and the false prophet have been filled with Satan’s power.  An alliance of Gentile rulers and nations are following them.  Everyone is required to worship an idol of the antichrist and receive a mark, most likely an implanted computer chip, in order to buy and sell commercially.  Those who do not worship the idol or receive the mark face certain death.  John then sees an image of the Lion, or Jesus, standing on Mount Zion.  This could literally mean Mount Zion or it could mean Jerusalem.  With Him are the 144,000 converted Jewish Christians.  They were standing before the throne in heaven.  At some point they were either martyred or taken up to heaven.  They were singing and playing harps and worshipping God with a song that only they knew.  John then says “These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they kept themselves pure” (14:4).  This could mean that they kept themselves from sexual immorality or it could mean that they did not give in to the evil of the world around them but instead obeyed God.  They were offered to God as firstfruits, meaning the best of the sacrifice or the harvest.  It is important to notice that not one of the 144,000 have been lost.  They were sealed unto God by their faith.  Whether they were martyred or taken by Jesus to heaven, they were protected by God from the perspective of eternity.  They are with Jesus in heaven.  We have also been sealed with the Holy Spirit.  No matter what happens to us physically, we are protected by God for eternity.  Not one of us will be lost by Him.  How confident are you in God?

            In chapter 13 we saw many Gentile believers who had probably been martyred standing before the throne in heaven.  Now we have seen the 144,000 Jewish believers possible martyred and standing before the throne.  There are not many left on earth to proclaim the gospel.  But God does not give up.  He sends an angel in 14:6 to proclaim the gospel to everyone who lives on the earth.  God gives an opportunity for repentance up until the very end.  A second angel follows closely behind and proclaims to the earth “Fallen!  Fallen is Babylon the Great, which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries” (14:8). Babylon is symbolic for opposition for God and His people.  God will crush His opposition and judge them.  Some believe Babylon in Revelation refers to modern-day Rome.  Some believe it will be the sight of Babylon in the Bible, which is present-day Iraq. 

            A third angel is then seen proclaiming that anyone who receives the mark of the beast on their hand or forehead “will drink the wine of God’s fury” (14:10).  The mark could be the name of the antichrist or a number.  “There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name” (14:11).  It appears that God draws a line in the sand here.  To take the mark is to declare your allegiance with Satan and the antichrist and there is no turning back.  It is not that God won’t forgive a repentant sinner- it is that God will quit trying to reach you so there will be no repentance, or change of heart.  Christians must not take the mark!  Many will be martyred for this.  Those not martyred will not be able to buy or sell anything in the open market- no food, clothing, or any supplies.  Christians will be fugitives.  “This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus” (14:12).  Are you prepared to be patient?  Are you prepared to endure?  Will you continue in obedience when things get really rough?  Will you remain faithful?  Why wait until then?  What about now?

            John then sees Jesus sitting on a cloud holding a sickle.  An angel relays a message from God the Father to Jesus the son that the time to reap is now because the harvest is plentiful.  Jesus gathers His people to Himself.  Jesus does the work himself, fulfilling I Thessalonians 4:16 – the Lord Himself will come down from heaven, gather His people to Him, and they will be with Him forever.  John then sees an angel coming out of the temple in heaven and holding another sickle.  This angel gathers the unbelievers and they are thrown “into the great winepress of God’s wrath” (14:19).  It was a very bloody process (4:20). 

            Much in Revelation can be interpreted literally or figuratively.  Let us be careful not to become too dogmatic about our own interpretations.  When Christ came to Earth the first time, many people missed Him because they interpreted Old Testament prophecy different than what actually happened.  They were looking for the wrong thing and so missed the very thing they were looking for when it came.  They did not recognize Him.  We need to keep our minds and our eyes opened to the different ways prophecy concerning Christ’s second coming to earth can be interpreted.  Every letter of God’s prophecy will be fulfilled but only the way God plans, not what we have decided will happen.

God’s attribute:  harvesting.  At God’s command the entire earth will be harvested.  One harvest will go to heaven to be with Jesus forever.  The other harvest will be confronted with God’s fury and wrath.  Taking the mark of the beast is a no-turning-back point.  We absolutely must refuse, even to the point of death.  Will you be harvested with the believers or the unbelievers?  Your choice is reflected by how you live.  Without obedience there is no love.  Are you obedient to God?

Prayer:  Praise God for giving us so many opportunities in this country to worship Him whenever and wherever we want to.  Thank God for not losing a single one that belongs to Him.  Ask God to help you live in such a way that everyone around you will know to which harvest you belong.



Posted in 66) Revelation
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Read Revelation 12-13

              With the sound of the seventh and last trumpet, we have heard the declaration that the kingdom of the world has now become the kingdom of God.  In these two chapters we will see the desperation of Satan as he knows he is defeated.  His evil and power on the earth are at the end, and he unleashes all he has on God’s people in one final desperate attempt to punish the followers of God.  John sees a woman clothed with the sun and the moon under her feet.  She had a crown of twelve stars.  She represents the nation of Israel.  In Genesis 37 Joseph has a dream where his father, mother, and eleven brothers are represented by the sun, moon, and eleven stars.  The woman is pregnant and about to give birth.  Then an enormous red dragon appeared with seven heads, ten horns, and seven crowns on his heads.  His tail swept a third of the stars from heaven to earth.  The dragon represents Satan and the stars are his followers thrown out of heaven with him.  Revelation 12:9 tells us specifically that the dragon is Satan.  Daniel 7 tells us that there were originally 10 horns and then one horn took over three others resulting in seven.  Daniel tells us that these heads, horns, and crowns represent a political alliance of Gentile rulers/nations.  Satan stood ready to devour the child born of the woman, or Jesus born of Israel.  We know this child is Jesus because Revelation 12:5 tells us that her son will “rule all the nations with an iron scepter”.  This is a direct reference to Psalm 2:9 which is a prophecy concerning the Messiah.  The child was “snatched” or ascended up to heaven and God’s throne.  In anger and frustration, Satan unleashed his fury on Israel.  We have seen their persecution through the ages, from Titus in Ad70 to the Crusades to the Inquisition to Hitler.  In 2 Kings 11 we see the entire royal line depending on one little boy, Joash.  But Satan has never succeeded, nor will he in these last days.  The woman, or Israel, will flee into the desert to a place prepared for her by God for her protection for 1260 days- probably the last 3 ½ years of the tribulation.

            At this time, there is a great war in heaven.  It is a consummation of the continuous battle that rages in the spiritual realm between good and evil.  We know from Job that even after Satan was evicted from heaven the first time, he still had some access to God.  Satan would accuse sinners before God and only those covered by the blood of Jesus could be defended.  However, now Satan will be evicted from heaven finally and forever.  He will no longer have access to accuse people before God.  God’s people defeated him “by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death” (12:11).  We can overcome Satan today by the same method.  By having faith in Jesus, by speaking out about our faith, and by not being intimidated.  We should not be afraid to die physically.  But we also need to die to ourselves every day.  We are to be living sacrifices daily for God.  We obey Him and we love others even when we do not want to or feel like it.  We do it to give glory to God and to aid in the victory of His kingdom.  Do you obey God when you don’t want to?  Do you show love to others when you don’t feel like it?

            Satan is hurled to earth and he is filled with fury.  Again we see that Israel, or the woman, was taken to a place prepared for her by God for her protection.  She stays there for a time, times, and half a time, or 3 ½ years, according to Daniel.  Satan, or the dragon, then goes off to make war against “those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus” (12:17).  This means Gentile believers.  We then see Satan summoning a beast out of the sea with ten horns and seven heads, and ten crowns on his horns.  This is the antichrist.  The antichrist is Satan’s version of a messiah.  It is Satan that gives the antichrist his power.  It seems that he will have some type of fatal head wound that will then be miraculously healed.  Because of this miracle, the people of the earth will be deceived and will worship the beast.  He blasphemes the name of God for 42 months, or 3 ½ years, the last half of the tribulation.  He is given authority over all the earth.  He is given power to make war against God’s saints and to conquer them.  God has pre-determined the fate of His tribulation saints.  Some will go to prison and some to death for their beliefs just as when the church was founded.  “This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints” (13:10).  How can believers resist him?  With the full armor of God.  How can believers keep from being deceived?  By studying the Bible and through prayer.  Are you ready?

            Another beast is then seen coming, this time out of the earth.  This beast is the False Prophet- one who points everyone to the antichrist, much as John the Baptist did for Jesus.  He has two horns like a lamb (imitating Christ) but he speaks like the dragon (imitating Satan).  The false prophet brings praise to the antichrist.  It is the healing of the fatal head wound that will be used to deceive the world into worshipping the antichrist as God.  That has always been Satan’s desire- to be worshipped as God.  He will set up an image, or statue, of the beast.  Everyone will be required to worship the statue or die.  This also happened in the day of Nebuchadnezzar when Daniel refused to stop worshipping God and was thrown into the lion’s den.  His friends also refused to worship a statue and were thrown into the fiery furnace.   Christians will have to make a choice at this time- worship Satan or be killed.  Would you be willing to take such a stand and not to love your life so much that you would shrink from death?  Everyone will also be forced to receive the mark of the beast, whatever that may be, in order to buy food and supplies in the market-place.  Whoever takes this mark makes their allegiance with Satan and the antichrist.  Christians will have to make a choice- be willing to be persecuted or turn against their faith.  This will be a very difficult time for Christians.  We will be fugitives living on the black market.  “No one can serve two masters” (Matt 6:24).  Who do you choose?

God’s attribute:  serious.  God’s message is serious.  Our choice is serious.  It affects our eternity.  We have serious choices and decisions to make every day concerning how we live our lives right now.  God is serious about sin and His judgment of it.  How serious are you in your commitment to and your obedience of God?

Prayer:  Praise and thank God that He has given us a blue-print about what is going to happen.  Ask Him to help you make choices every day that prove your faith in Him and will draw you closer to Him.




Posted in 66) Revelation
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Read Revelation 10-11

             Between the sixth and seventh trumpet blows, John sees a powerful angel descending from heaven.  He is a picture of strength with a face like the sun and a rainbow over his head.  He plants one foot on land and one foot on sea, showing dominion over all the earth.  He holds a little scroll in his hand.  His shout sounds like the roar of a lion.  He challenges any to oppose him.  He is answered by the “seven thunders”.  Thunder usually is a sign of God’s judgment.  John must understand them because he prepares to write down their words until He is stopped.  The mighty angel then says “There will be no more delay!  But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets” (10:6-7).  God will abolish the world system and establish His kingdom.  The mystery of God is how He over-throws the world system.  Much insight concerning this was given to the prophets.  God’s Word will be completely fulfilled at last.  Forever.

            The voice from heaven then told John to take the scroll from the hand of the angel.  John was instructed to eat it.  The angel told John it would taste sweet but would then turn his stomach sour.  God’s words are always sweet to believers.  The sourness refers to the other side of the coin- God’s judgment of sin.  Too often people want to focus on the grace and mercy while ignoring God’s holiness.  Thankfully, God is gracious and merciful because we depend on that for forgiveness.  But God is also holy and He will judge sin and sinners not covered by the blood of Jesus.  They will be banished forever from His presence.  God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked and wants everyone to repent and be saved.  That is why He waits so long to bring justice.  But make no mistake- it will come.  God has told us it will and His word always stands as true.  Does God’s word bring sweetness to your life?  Do you heed the words of His justice as well as His mercy?

            In chapter 11, John was told to get a reed and measure the temple of God and the altar, along with counting the worshippers there.  There will be two witnesses of God, clothed in sackcloth, signifying repentance.  They will witness for 1260 days or 3 ½ years (the Old Testament calender was based on 360 days per year- see commentary on Daniel 7-12).  The outer court of the temple will be trampled by Gentiles.  This probably refers to the last 3 ½ years of the tribulation.  Remember in Daniel 9, the Antichrist makes a treaty with Israel and then breaks it after 3 ½ years.  The Antichrist then sets himself up as god to be worshipped in the temple (2 Thessalonians 2).  The witnesses are God’s lamps on the earth shining the light of the Holy Spirit on an otherwise very dark world.  Many will try to harm them, not wanting their wicked ways denounced.  The witnesses are protected by fire that comes out of their mouths and consumes their enemies.  They have  the power to stop rain (like Elijah) and turn water into blood (like Moses).  Many believe it will be Elijah and Moses returned to earth to do the work of God.  God determines a set time for their witnessing to end and they will be killed.  Their bodies will lie in the streets 3 ½ days and people will rejoice that they are gone.  They no longer have to listen to God trying to reach them.  After 3 ½ days, they will be raised from the dead and ascend into heaven in a cloud.  At that time, there was a severe earthquake and a tenth of the city collapsed with 7000 people dead. 

            Finally, the seventh trumpet is sounded and a voice from heaven declares the kingdom of the world is over and has become the kingdom of God and Christ.  Even though the end has not happened yet, the outcome is sure.  It is certain.  It has already been proclaimed from heaven.  The 24 elders worshipped God.  The temple in heaven, which the temple on earth was mirrored after, opened.  The ark of His covenant was seen there, along with lightening, rumblings, thunder, an earthquake, and a hailstorm.  God’s power is visible on earth.

            The ark is a sign of God’s covenant with Israel.  A covenant that will not be broken, even with Jesus bringing in a new covenant.  Saved Gentiles are grafted in to Israel, not the other way around.  The new Jerusalem will fulfill the old and new covenants in perfect harmony.  Chaos may be reigning on the earth at this point, but peace and certainty are reigning in heaven.  God is sovereign.  His plan will be carried out.  He determines the time for everything.  We can give glory to God just as the elders did.  We can have peace in our lives even in the midst of seeming chaos.  God reigns supreme.  Is He reigning in your life?

God’s attribute:  supreme.  God is the supreme commander of His creation.  He is in complete control.  Despite terror and destruction on the earth, God is on His throne and all is exactly as it should be.  God will defeat evil.  He will over-throw this world.  He will establish a new kingdom.  He will judge sin.  It is His plan and it will be carried out by His power.  Is God supreme in your life or is something else sitting on God’s throne?

Prayer:  Praise God that we never have to worry if He is still ruling.  Thank Him for being the supreme ruler, always on His throne.  Ask Him to help you make Him the supreme ruler of your life, ahead of everything and everyone else.



Posted in 66) Revelation
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Read Revelation 8-9

              After having a brief interlude in chapter 7, we pick up with the seventh and last seal being broken.  This allows the scroll to open up so all can see what is written on it.  “When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour” (8:1).  No one knows exactly why this occurs.  Perhaps there is preparation for what is about to happen.  Perhaps they are hearing the prayers of the saints.  There are seven trumpet judgments written on the scroll.  The breaking of the seventh seal ushers in this next set of seven judgments by God on the Earth.  Trumpets are used in the Jewish culture at times of solemn worship, as a sign of impending danger, and as celebration.  Seven angels are each given a trumpet to blow.  Before the trumpets are blown, another angel comes to stand by the altar.  The same altar where the prayers of the saints are heard.  The prayers asking how long before God will judge the world that persecuted and killed them for believing in Him.  The angel takes a censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and throws it on the earth.  God answers those prayers and His judgment on the earth begins.  God begins to avenge the innocent blood of His people. 

            The first trumpet judgment brings hail and fire mixed with blood down upon the earth so that one third of the earth was burned up.  The second trumpet causes a huge mountain to be hurled into the sea, turning the water to blood and killing a third of the sea creatures and destroying ships.  The third trumpet brings a great star, named Wormwood, down from the sky and a third of the rivers and springs turned bitter.  Wormwood is the name of a plant with a strong, bitter taste.  The fourth trumpet darkens a third of the sun, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of the day and night were without light.  God is gradually destroying His creation.  Order is replaced by chaos.  Living plants, bodies of water, the sun and the moon have all been affected.  Before the last three trumpets, an eagle is seen flying over the earth saying “Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels!” (8:13).  God’s judgment has just begun.  The worst is yet to come.

            At the sound of the fifth trumpet, John sees a star that had fallen to earth- most likely an angel.  The angel was given a key to the Abyss.  The Abyss refers to a deep place where demons are held and Satan resides.  This is the center and origin of evil (2 Peter 2:4 and Jude 6).  When the Abyss is opened, evil is unleashed in full force on the earth.  Demonic forces take the appearance of locusts with a scorpion tale that can sting.  The locusts are given power to torture, but not kill, people who do not have God’s seal on their foreheads.  They have a leader whose name is Apollyon, or Destroyer.  The sixth trumpet results in four angels being released that have been waiting for this exact time and purpose.  They release a demonic army of two hundred million that kill a third of the people on the earth with plagues of fire, smoke, and sulfur.  Perhaps these refer to supernatural forces.  Or perhaps it is a human army that initiates nuclear war resulting in fire, smoke, and sulfur.  Since the start of Revelation, one half of the earth’s population has now been wiped out.  No area is spared.  We still see that God never loses control.  Evil is only allowed by God’s decree.  He is sovereign.  God has told us what will happen so that when it does happen, we may know and believe that He is the one and only God, exactly as He says.  God hopes that men will repent and be saved.  However, the rest of mankind that was left still did not repent (9:21). 

            We see here the graphic effect of sin on the earth.  So often, sin is disguised as looking pretty, fun, or harmless.  Sin seems sometimes like it will make us happy.  But the effect of sin on the earth is total destruction and it destroys those that are drawn to it without repentance.  God will punish sin.  Jesus tells us in Luke 21:36 “Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man” (21:36).  Maybe the church will be raptured before the Tribulation starts.  But why would Jesus tell us to pray to escape?  Are you an inhabitant of the earth?  Where is your heart, your priorities, and your obedience?  Is it to the world or to God?

God’s attribute:  trumpet.  God blows a trumpet to get our attention.  God gives us every warning and sign imaginable, including the specific events that are set to happen.  Everything will happen exactly as God has said.  Do you listen to the sound of His trumpet?  Do you pray that you will escape all that is about to happen?  Are you an inhabitant of the earth or of heaven?

Prayer:  Praise God and thank Him for telling us exactly what to expect.  Thank Him for avenging the blood of His saints.  Thank Him for hearing the prayers of His children.  Ask Him for the faith to wait on Him.  Ask Him to help you focus on the next world and not on this one.  Ask Him to give you the boldness to tell of His love and the salvation offered through Jesus so that as few as possible will suffer His wrath.




Posted in 66) Revelation
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Read Revelation 6-7

              Chapter 6 begins with Jesus opening the first of seven seals that hold the scroll together.  The scroll contains information about the events that will culminate in God’s judgment on the earth and the restoration of God’s creation to conditions prior to man’s fall into sin.  The first four seals mirror the four horsemen of the apocalypse prophesied in Zechariah 1 and 6.  The first seal unleashes the first horse, which is white, and its rider, holding a bow.  He represents a spirit of conquest.  The military leaders of the earth will have a desire for military conquest.  This desire is initiated by God.  Aggression by the rulers of this world will be the first sign of its end.  There is debate whether this aggression is military, as the rider holding a bow seems to suggest, or perhaps it is political since no arrow was ever shot.

            Then the second seal was broken.  This released a second horse, a fiery red one.  Its rider was given the power to take peace from the earth.  War is the natural outcome of the spirit of aggression and conquest released upon the earth by the first rider.  The Greek word for “slay” here actually means “slaughter”.  This will be no small war but a particularly savage one. 

            Next the third seal was broken.  This released the third horse, a black horse, with a rider holding scales in his hand used to measure food.  We are told a quart of wheat will cost a full day’s wages.  This means a worker will only be able to buy what he or she needs and not be able to provide for their families.  This horse represents famine, another natural out-come of the devastation brought on by such a severe war.  This is also prophesied in Ezekiel 4:16 as actual physical hunger.  However, Amos also prophesies in Amos 8 of a spiritual famine that will be present on the earth.  People will long for His word but they will not find it.  Are you taking advantage and reading God’s word now while you have the chance? 

            The fourth seal is broken next and releases a pale horse with a rider named Death on it.  He was given the power to kill a fourth of the earth’s population by sword, famine, plague, and wild beasts.  As horrible as this is, we still see God’s complete sovereignty.  Nothing is out of His hands or His control.  He specifically only allows for ¼ of the population to be killed.  Nothing can happen, even with Satan and His followers, that God does not allow.  God’s limits are always obeyed because they are upheld by the very power of God. 

            When the fifth seal was opened, John was allowed to see the souls of all those martyred around the world and through the ages for the blood of Christ.  They ask the age-old question: “How long”?  How long will God wait to return, to bring justice to the unbelievers and to bless the saints?  Each of them was given a white robe to put on, symbolizing their acceptance into heaven.  These souls were seen “under the altar” of God.  They were close to God.  They were protected by God.  They sought God.  How close are you to God’s altar?

            The opening of the sixth seal results in a huge earthquake.  The sun turns black, the moon turns red, and stars begin to fall to earth, probably in a great meteor shower.  The earthquake was so large that it changed the topographical map of the world.  The people were afraid,  But instead of turning to God with their fears, they ran and  tried to hide.  But no one can hide from God.  Believers don’t fear God- they trust Him.  Believers run toward God, not away from Him.  Where do you run when things get tough or scary?

               In chapter 7, we move away from a picture of God’s judgment, death and destruction to a picture of God’s grace and provision for those that persevere in faith despite tremendous trials and upheaval.  Four angels are standing at the four corners of the earth holding back a fierce wind bringing further destruction.  Then another angel comes and says “Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the forehead of the servants of our God” (7:3).  The number of people sealed is 144,000 from the 12 tribes of Israel.  This is specifically a remnant of Jewish believers that are saved.  There will be a seal on the forehead of each believer which is recognizable.  That person belongs to God.  However, it is not their seal that saves them.  They are sealed because of their faith.  Every Christian through the ages has been sealed unto God.  That seal may not be visible on the forehead, but it is visible in the way their life is lived (Ephesians 4:30).  Then and now, our seal protects us from God’s wrath, but we still suffer the same persecution and trials and even sometimes martyrdom that God’s church has always suffered.  Have you moved from believing in Christ to living for Him?  Is He the Lord of your life as well as your savior?  Are you sealed with the seal of God?  Is your seal evident by the way you live your life?

            John then sees a great multitude of people from all over the world standing before the throne of God.  They were wearing white robes, signifying they are believers and their sin has been washed away and forgiven.  They, along with the angels, elders, and living creatures praise God.  These people are referred to as “those coming out of the great tribulation” (7:14).  They are Gentile believers.  Christ is still in heaven now so it is before His return to earth.  They have either been raptured or martyred or killed in the devastating wars, famine, or earthquake.  Our eternity in heaven will be spent in service to God, not in idle boredom.  We will be under God’s tent.  We will never hunger or thirst again, either physically or spiritually.  We will have shade.  God will wipe every tear from our eyes.  After the suffering of the tribulation, God and Jesus will personally care for and minister to their own.  Do you believe, in light of this, that your present sufferings are not worth comparing to the glorious riches that will be revealed in us at God’s perfect time (Romans 8:18)?  Do you believe all things work for the good of those who have been called according to God’s purpose (Romans 8:28)?

God’s attribute:  seal.  God seals every true believer with His seal.  This seal may be visible physically on the forehead of believers during the tribulation.  But His seal should be visible on believers today as well.  When we accept Jesus as our Lord and our Savior, we receive the Holy Spirit to live inside of us.  This is a sign of our salvation.  It is God’s seal that He has placed in us showing that we belong to Him now.  Have you been sealed with the presence of the Holy spirit in you?

Prayer:  Praise and thank God that He seals us unto Him the moment we believe.  Ask Him to allow His seal on you to be seen by the way you live.  Ask Him to change you so that the world can see by the way you live that you belong to Him.



Posted in 66) Revelation
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