Posts

Showing posts from March, 2020

Fall of Babylon Announced

Image
Angels announce the judicial sentence of God on “Babylon” and the “inhabitants of the earth,” but “rest” awaits the faithful followers of Jesus .  Next, “ another angel ” announced the “ fall of Babylon .” He was followed by “ a third angel ” who pronounced the judicial sentence on the men who gave allegiance to the “ beast from the sea .” The passage uses Old Testament language from pronouncements against Sodom and “ Gog and Magog .” In contrast to the impenitent, the “ saints ” look forward to “ rest .” - [ Photo by Jonny Gios on Unsplash ].

Everlasting Gospel - Final Harvest

Image
Whether one follows the Lamb or the Beast, one will reap everlasting consequences in the final harvest - Revelation 14:6-7 .  The preceding sections presented two very different groups - the “ inhabitants of the earth ” that rendered homage to the “ beast ,” and the 144,000 priests of God , the “ first-fruits ” of the earth purchased by the blood of the “ Lamb .” Now, an angelic herald issues the final summons to humanity while time remains before the “ final hour .” - [ Photo by Luca on Unsplash ].

Hastening the Day

Image
In the interim between Christ’s ascension and his return, God has granted humanity the opportunity to repent before that day arrives .  In his second epistle, Peter explained the apparent “delay” in the “ arrival ” of Jesus and the “ Day of the Lord .” In doing so, he linked that day with the final judgment and the new creation. And he argued that the conduct of the church may very well “ hasten ” that day. God is characterized by mercy and has no desire for anyone to perish - [ Photo by  Rohit D'Silva  on Unsplash ].

Has Bible Prophecy Failed?

Image
Peter Confront Simon Magus Has Bible Prophecy or its interpreters failed ?  It is one or the other. Based on successes and failures, either the Bible is an unreliable source about the future or the end-time prognosticators have missed the mark, and then some. In light of the dismal track record of the End-Time Prophecy Industry, the question is legitimate. One can easily assemble a list of the Industry’s failed predictions going back decades. But try to find one it got right. Now that is a challenge!

Beasts in the Church

Image
Throughout the present age, the Church has been plagued with deceivers bent on deceiving the saints and causing their apostasy .  The term “ antichrist ” occurs in John’s first two epistles. In his first, he warns “ it is the last hour, and just as you heard that  antichrist  is coming, even now  many antichrists  have come .” The letter does not deny that an individual “ antichrist ” is coming, but its point is that many “ antichrists ” are active in the church already - [ Wolf Pack - Photo by  Thomas Bonometti  on Unsplash ] .

144,000 Priests on Zion

Image
The 144,000 “males” on Mount Zion comprise the “first-fruit” of the final harvest, the priestly company that “follows the Lamb”  –  Revelation 14:1-5 .  Previously, John saw the 144,000 “ males ” from the tribes of Israel encamped in the wilderness. Now, they appear together on “ Mount Zion ,” a priestly company and the “ first fruits ” of the greater harvest to come. They stand with the “ Lamb ” in contrast to the “ inhabitants of the earth ,” who bowed and rendered homage to the “ beast .” - [ Photo by lovely shots on Unsplash ].

Mark of the Beast

Image
All men and women that refuse to follow the “Lamb” will render homage to the “beast” and take its “mark”  –  Revelation 13:16-18 .  The “ false prophet ” uses economic power  against anyone who refuses to give full allegiance to it. The “ mark of the beast ” is an economic tool. Commerce is the lifeblood of the World-Power and leveling economic sanctions against peoples is its primary enforcement mechanism. And economic restrictions mean deprivation and suffering - [ Photo by Dmitry Demidko on Unsplash ].

Extent of the Beast's Reign

Image
In Revelation, rulers and nations refuse to follow the “Lamb”; instead, they render homage to the “Beast.”   In  Revelation , there are no geographic restrictions on the reign of the “ beast .” ALL the “ inhabitants of the earth ” take its “ mark ” and render homage to its “ image .” Not a single government resists the final incarnation of the “ ancient serpent ,” for it is granted “ authority over every tribe, people, tongue and nation .” There is no mention of any exception to the rule - [ Photo by Arpit Rastogi on Unsplash ].

Counterfeit Christ

Image
The “beast from the earth” mimics the Lamb and presents a counterfeit of the true faith  –  Revelation 13:11-18 .  John saw a second “ beast   ascending from the earth ” who caused the “ inhabitants of the earth ” to give their allegiance to the “ beast from the sea .” The first “ beast ” was characterized by political power, and the second by its ability to deceive. It also used economic control to punish anyone who refused to render homage to the first “ beast ” - [ Augustus - Photo by tommao wang on Unsplash ].

Four Beasts into One

Image
In Revelation, the single “beast from the sea” is related to but distinct from the four beasts from Daniel’s vision .  In  Revelation , the single “ beast from the sea ” displays all the animal characteristics of the four creatures that Daniel saw ascending from a chaotic sea. John’s “beast” is from the same lineage as Daniel’s four “ beasts ” but is also something more. It certainly is not identical to the “ fourth beast ” with the “ little horn ,” though it has incorporated some of the latter’s attributes - [ Photo by  Daniel Mirlea  on Unsplash ].

The Mark of the Beast - (Revelation 13:16-18)

Image
SYNOPSIS :    Humanity is divided into two groups – men who have the mark of the Beast, and those who bear the name of the Lamb’s Father – Revelation 13:16-14:5. Photo by  Thought Catalog  on  Unsplash The “ mark of the Beast ” is the Dragon’s counterfeit of the “ seal of God ” that is placed on the foreheads of the followers of the Lamb. The “ inhabitants of the earth ” that take this mark are contrasted with the saints who stand on “ Zion ” with the Lamb and have his Father’s “ name written on their foreheads ” ( Revelation 7:1-3, 14:1-4, 19:2-5, 22:3-6 ). All the “ inhabitants of the earth ” that take the mark of the Beast are legally authorized to engage in commerce, to “ buy and sell .” In contrast, the company standing with the Lamb is comprised of men and women who have been “ purchased from the earth .” Because they bear his Father’s name rather than the Beast’s mark, they may not participate in commerce. This is one of several ways the book of Revelation di

Beast from the Earth

Image
The beast from the earth mimics the Lamb. It is the mouthpiece of the Dragon, and the propagandist for the first beast  –  Revelation 13:11-15 .  The “ great voice in heaven ” pronounced “ woe ” on the “ inhabitants of  the earth  and of  the sea , because the Devil descended to you, having great wrath .” He then launched his war against the “ seed of the woman ” by summoning his own “seed” - the “ beast from  the sea ,” and now, the “ beast from  the earth ” - [ Photo by  Elena Mozhvilo  on Unsplash ].

War Against the Saints

Image
The Beast is authorized to wage war against the “saints” for its overlord, the Dragon  –  Revelation 13:6-10 .  The “ Dragon ” tasks the “ beast ” with the annihilation of the church. To  facilitate this, he receives authority over all nations and peoples. Men are divided into two groups: Those who “ render homage to the beast ,” and those who “ follow the Lamb ,” that is, the “ saints .” - [ Dragon Fire - Photo by  Carlos Cram  on Unsplash ].

Beast from the Sea

Image
The Dragon began his war on the “seed of the woman” by summoning his “seed,” the beast from the sea  –  Revelation 13:1-5 .  The “ Dragon ” was poised to launch his “ war ” on the “ seed of the woman .” Standing on the seashore, he began to summon his own “ seed ,” beginning with the “ beast from the sea. ” Having failed to destroy either the “ son ” or the “ woman ,” he determined to annihilate her “ seed ,” those who have the “ testimony of Jesus .” - [ Photo by Thom Holmes on Unsplash ].

War on the Earth

Image
After his expulsion, Satan waged war against the “seed of the Woman” – Those who hold the “testimony of Jesus” - Revelation 12:7-17 .  Having failed to destroy the messianic “ son ,” and thoroughly enraged, the “ Dragon ” vents his rage by pursuing the “ woman ” into the “ wilderness ,” and not by waging war against the unsaved " inhabitants of the earth .” Instead, prevented from destroying the “ woman ,” he persecutes her offspring - [ Photo by Bofu Shaw on Unsplash ].

Son versus Serpent

Image
War broke out in “heaven” with the “Dragon” poised to destroy the messianic “son” as soon as he was “born”  –  Revelation 12:1-6 .  John saw a new “ sign ” in the heavens, the woman “ clothed with the sun, and the moon beneath her feet ,” and wearing a “ crown of twelve stars .” She was pregnant and about to give birth to her “ son ,” which was in fulfillment of the messianic promise in the second Psalm - The one who was destined to “ rule the nations .” - [ Dragon - Photo by FĂ©lix Besombes on Unsplash ]

Seventh Trumpet, Third Woe

Image
The seventh trumpet or “third woe” ushered in the consummation of the kingdom and the final judgment – Revelation 11:15-19 .  When the seventh seal was opened, a half-hour of “ silence ” in heaven ensued before the seven angels began to sound their “ trumpets ” when the prayers of the “ saints ” were heard. When the “ seventh trumpet ” sounded, “ loud voices ” in heaven declared the triumph of the kingdom and the “ Lamb ,” for the nations had become his possession as promised - [ Photo by Kristopher Roller on Unsplash ].

Little Scroll

Image
John saw the scroll again, now unsealed and completely open, signifying his call to prophesy once more to peoples and kings  –  Revelation 10:1-11 .  The first six trumpet  plagues  failed to cause the “ inhabitants of the earth ” to repent. Instead, they only further hardened their hearts.  Something more was needed to complete “ the mystery of God .” The narrative now takes a new direction. Rather than another plague, John is commissioned to prophesy to the “ nations and kings of the earth ” - [ Photo by  Timothy Eberly  on Unsplash ].

Sixth Trumpet - Second Woe

Image
The sixth trumpet unleashed the demonic horde from beyond the “Euphrates” to afflict the “inhabitants of the earth”  -  Revelation 9:13-21 .  The sounding of the “ sixth trumpet ” also marks the commencement of the “ second woe .” While the description of the “ plague ” unleashed by the trumpet only continues until the end of chapter 9, the “ second woe ” does not end until the sounding of the “ seventh trumpet ” just before the final judgment. Presumably, the “sixth trumpet” also concludes at that same time - [ Photo by Thom Holmes on Unsplash ].

Fifth Trumpet, First Woe

Image
The fifth trumpet unleashed the first of “three woes,” as malevolent creatures began to ascend from the Abyss  –  Revelation 8:13-9:12 .  When the fifth angel sounded his trumpet, John saw smoke “ ascending ” from the “ Abyss ,” a place ruled by an “ angel ” associated with “ destruction .” The “ Abyss ” is prominent in several of the book’s visions. It is the source of malevolent entities hostile to the “ Lamb ” and his people that “ ascend ” from it to wreak havoc, sometimes on the “ inhabitants of the earth ,” but more often on the “ saints .” - [ Photo by Leon Pauleikhoff on Unsplash ].

First Four Trumpets

Image
SYNOPSIS :   The seventh seal ended with the seven angels prepared to sound their trumpets. A close link between the seals and the trumpets is seen as the first four trumpets sound  - Revelation 8:7-12 .  By  Dominik QN  on  Unsplash The first four trumpets parallel the  first four seals . Both seals and trumpets afflict within defined limits. The first four seals harm a fourth of the earth, the first four trumpets a third of the earth, sea, rivers and heavenly luminaries. Both series are preceded by the prayers of the saints that ascend as incense.

New Covenant and the Law

Image
SYNOPSIS  –  The “word spoken in the Son” inaugurated the New Covenant that rendered the old one obsolete  -  Hebrews 8:1-13 .  The  letter to the Hebrews  is structured around a series of comparisons that demonstrate the superiority of the “ word spoken in the Son ” over the past revelations of Yahweh “ spoken in the prophets ,” including Moses. The previous “ words ” were true revelations of God but partial, promissory, and preparatory –  Here a little, there a little . But now, “ upon the last of these days ,” He has “ spoken ” with  great finality  in one who is a “ Son .” - [ Photo by  Pablo Heimplatz  on Unsplash ].

Light of the World

Image
Contrary to the claims of politicians and even church leaders, Jesus is the “light of the world,” not any nation, government or political ideology .  Politicians routinely invoke “god” to validate their agendas and authority, and the most popular religion is employed to do so. Just as today’s officeholders pay lip service to “Judeo-Christian values,” so the emperors of Rome appealed to their traditional gods for divine approval. Patriotism and religious faith become synonymous, and any lack of nationalistic fervor becomes heresy - [ Photo by  Vladimir Fedotov  on Unsplash ].

True and Greater Temple

Image
Jesus is the Greater and Final Temple foreshadowed by the ancient Tabernacle and the later Temple in Jerusalem .  Jesus is the true sanctuary that was foreshadowed in the ancient religious structures and worship rituals of Israel. He is the dwelling place of God’s presence and glory, and the true and final mediator between heaven and earth. Christ is the temple “ made-without-hands ” that was destroyed by evil men but restored when his Father raised him from among the dead - [ Photo by  Manuel Rheinschmidt  on Unsplash ].

Lawless One Destroyed

Image
Jesus will destroy the works of the “Lawless One” and “paralyze” him at his “arrival” in glory  –  2 Thessalonians 2:8-12 .  Next, Paul explains how Jesus will deal with the “ lawless one ” at his “ arrival .” In doing so, he employs language from Daniel’s vision about the “ little horn speaking great things .” Originally, that image represented the Seleucid ruler who attempted to destroy the Jewish faith through deceit and persecution,  Antiochus Epiphanes  - [ Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash ].

Until Revealed

Image
The mystery of lawlessness is at work even now preparing the way for the Lawlessness One  –  2 Thessalonians 2:5-7 .  Paul has explained why the “ Day of the Lord ” has not commenced. Two events must precede it, the “ apostasy ,” and the “ revelation of the man of lawlessness .” Now, he will describe the “ mystery of lawlessness ” that has been operating behind the scenes to set the stage for the “ arrival ” of the “ son of destruction ” who will oppose God and employ “ signs and wonders ” to deceive many - [ Photo by Chris Buckwald on Unsplash ].

Two Missing Events

Image
Two events must occur before the “Day of the Lord” - The apostasy and the unveiling of the Man of Lawlessness  –  2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 .  Next, Paul explained why the “ Day of the Lord ” had  NOT  commenced. Two key events must occur first - the “ apostasy ” and the unveiling of the “ man of lawlessness , the son of destruction .” In Thessalonica, the men who were spreading false information about the coming of Jesus were deceiving believers by raising false expectations about the nearness of that day - [ Photo by Thomas Bormans on Unsplash ].

Last Days Disinformation

Image
Disinformation about the “day of the Lord” caused alarm among many in the congregation at Thessalonica  –  2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 .  Paul addressed the claim that the “ Day of the Lord had set in ," false information was disrupting the congregation in Thessalonica, rumors that were being spread either by a “ spirit ,” by a word ( logos ), or by a letter, “ as if from us .” In response, Paul listed two events that must occur  BEFORE  the “ parousia ” of Jesus - the “ revealing of the man of lawlessness ” and the “ apostasy ” - [ Photo by Andrew Dunstan on Unsplash ].