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Showing posts from September, 2021

Final Antichrist

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The “spirit of antichrist” already is raising up deceivers within the church, though a final “antichrist” will also appear in the world – 1 John 2:18-22 . The only New Testament author who uses the term “ antichrist ” is John, and only in two of his letters. He applies the term to “ false prophets ” that have been active in the congregations addressed by his letters, false brethren he charges with denying that “ Jesus is the Christ ” and “ come in the flesh .” Such men are of the “ spirit of antichrist ” that already is operating in the world - [ Photo by Frans Ruiter on Unsplash ].

Lying Signs and Wonders

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The final deceiver will use “lying signs and wonders” to deceive and cause many saints to depart from the faith  –  2 Thessalonians 2:8-9 .  The “ Day of the Lord ” will not commence until the “ lawless one ” has been “ revealed ” when he “ seats himself in the sanctuary of God .” His arrival will coincide with the “ apostasy ,” and he will be characterized by his ability to deceive, especially with “ lying signs and wonders .” Satan himself will equip this master deceiver to destroy as many saints as possible - [ Photo by Mitchell Leach on Unsplash ].

Mystery of Lawlessness

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Even now, the mystery of lawlessness is preparing the way for the appearance of the lawless one who will cause many Christians to apostatize .  According to the Apostle Paul, the “ mystery of lawlessness ” is working diligently in the world to prepare hearts and minds for the “ arrival ” of the “ lawless one .” And it will continue to do so until the appointed time when this final deceiver will “ come out of the midst ” and appear in the “ sanctuary of God .” Thereafter, he will employ “ lying signs and wonders ” to cause many saints to depart from the faith - [ Photo by Marek Piwnicki on Unsplash ].

Babylon Rides the Beast

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Babylon, the “Great Harlot,” rides the Beast from the Sea with its seven heads and ten horns  –  Revelation 17:7-13 .  “ Babylon ” sits on the same malignant creature seen earlier “ ascending from the sea .” It was an amalgamation of the four “ beasts from the sea ” from  Daniel . Now, we discover the “lineage” of the “ beast ” and preview its destruction, all described with language from Daniel’s vision of the “ fourth beast ” and its “ little horn ” - [ Pantheon by Daniel Klaffke on Unsplash ].

Seated in the Sanctuary

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Prior to the return of Jesus, the “man of lawlessness” will be revealed when he seats himself in the “sanctuary of God”  -  2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 .  According to the Apostle Paul, Jesus will not return until two events take place, the “ apostasy ” and the “ revelation of the man of lawlessness .” The two are inextricably linked. This malevolent figure will cause many believers to apostatize. And not only will he be “ revealed ,” that unveiling will take place “ in the sanctuary of God ” where he will “ sit down .” - [ Church interior  photo by  Mateus Campos Felipe  on Unsplash ].

Son of Destruction

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Many Christians will apostatize when the “Lawless One,” the “Son of Destruction,” seats himself in the “sanctuary.”   As Paul explained, the “ Day of the Lord ” will not arrive until the “ apostasy ” occurs and the “ man of lawlessness ” is unveiled. He will take his seat “ in the sanctuary of God ” and oppose “ all that is called god .” In addition to the “ lawless one ,” the Apostle labeled him “ the  son of destruction .” Is there significance in this double appellation or is it for stylistic purposes? - [ Photo by Yusuf Dündar on Unsplash ].

Great Harlot Revealed

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Babylon is revealed as a bejeweled harlot dripping with the shed blood of martyred saints  –  Revelation 17:1-6 .  In chapter 17,  Revelation  presents the impressive figure of “ Babylon .” She is labeled “ harlot ” and identified as the “ great city ,” and she is responsible for the deaths of the martyrs. “ Babylon ” is also closely associated with the deceptions and economic power of the “ Beast .” In her, the book’s first audience would see the city of Rome - [ Ancient Rome - Photo by Blaz Erzetic on Unsplash ].

Final Apostasy

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Repeatedly, the New Testament warns of the coming “apostasy” that it also links to the future “man of lawlessness” whose intent is to deceive Christians .  To the church at Thessalonica, Paul explained that the “ Day of the Lord ” will  NOT  commence until “ first ,” the “ apostasy ” occurs, and second, the “ man of lawlessness ” is revealed, two events that are inextricably linked. In this statement, Paul is reiterating the warning found elsewhere in the New Testament that originated with Jesus - [ Photo by  Frank Zinsli  on Unsplash ].

Lordly Day

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On the isle of Patmos, suddenly, John found himself “in the Spirit,” and projected into the “Day of the Lord”   –   Revelation 1:9-10 .  W hile exiled on the island of Patmos, John came to be “ in the spirit ,” where he found himself “ in the lordly day ” and received visions about the seven churches of Asia. Though his visions commenced in the first century, ultimately, they culminated in the final judgment, the “ Day of the Lord ,” when the wicked were punished and the righteous vindicated - [ Photo by  Michael Busch  on Unsplash ].

Great Earthquake

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The final day of wrath is characterized by unprecedented celestial and terrestrial events, including the “great earthquake”   –   Revelation 6:12-17 .  In four separate passages,  Revelation  refers to the coming “ great earthquake ,” and each time, it locates this event at the end of the age, the day of God’s final “ wrath .” Chaos in the heavens and unimaginable seismic shifts on the earth will mark the arrival of the “ Day of the Lord ,” the  Great Dénouement  when God vindicates His people and punishes His enemies - [ Photo by  NOAA  on Unsplash ].

Coheirs with Jesus

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The covenant with Abraham is fulfilled in Jesus, the heir, including the promised inheritance of land  –  Romans 8:1-23 .  In  Romans , Paul presents Abraham as the great exemplar of faith, the model for all men and women who choose to live from faith. God counted the Patriarch’s faith as “ righteousness ” while he was yet uncircumcised, and thus He justified him apart from the “ works of the Law .” Consequently, he became the father of everyone who is “ from faith ,” both Jews and Gentiles, as well as the “ heir of the world ” - [ Photo by  Olivia Hutcherson  on  Unsplash ].

Season of Tribulation

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A time of “indignation” was coming upon the people of God such as they had never experienced  -  Daniel 12:1-13 .  Daniel’s final vision concludes with the description of the “ tribulation ” that is to befall the Jewish nation, one more severe than any preceding trial in its history. There were no chapter divisions in the original document penned by the prophet, and contextually, chapter 12 is the continuation of the vision from chapters 10 and 11 - [ Storm Winds - Photo by  Lucy Chian  on Unsplash ].

Works of the Law

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In Romans, discussions about justification by “works” has a specific category of works in view – “from the works of the law”   -   Romans 2:7-10 .  In  Romans , Paul points to sin as the  Great Leveler  that places everyone in the same predicament, bondage now and “ wrath ” later. No one is excused from the penalty of sin, neither Jew nor Gentile, and all are without excuse. Without exception, God will “ render   to every man according to  his works ,” both Jew and Gentile, for with Him, “ there is no respect of persons .” - [ Photo by  Nasser Eledroos  on Unsplash ].

Both Jew and Gentile

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The equality of Jew and Gentile before God is a key theme in Romans. Both stand or fall before Him on the same basis  –  Romans 1:15-16 .  Paul wrote to the Romans to prepare the ground for his planned visit to the city, and to deal with conflicts between Jewish and Gentile believers. In the first half of the letter, he presents a detailed explanation of his gospel, and in the second, he deals with questions about the status of the Jewish people and conflicts in the congregation - [ Photo by  Ingmar Nolte  on Unsplash ].

Finished! - Seventh Bowl

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The seventh “bowl” produced the final overthrow of Babylon, the Great City, and completed the “wrath of God” – Revelation 16:17-21 .  The seventh “ bowl of wrath ” anticipates the fuller description of the destruction of end-time “ Babylon ” in chapters 17 and 18 of Revelation . The Old Testament story behind it is the plague of hail inflicted on Egypt at the word of Moses. Emptying the bowl “ on the air ” prepared for the “ great hail ” that concluded this last “ plague ” - [ Tornado Alley - Photo by Nikolas Noonan on Unsplash ].

Arrogant King of the North

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The war between the kings of the “North” and “South” culminates in the rise of an arrogant ruler who persecutes the saints  -  Daniel 11:5-45 .  Beginning with the fourfold division of the Greek kingdom, the interpreting angel outlined the coming conflicts between two of the subsequent realms that culminated in the rise of a “ contemptible ” ruler. Previously, the rise and division of the Greek empire was portrayed in the  vision  of the “ Ram and the Goat ,” representing the kingdoms of the “ Medes and Persians ” and of “ Greece .” - [ Photo by  FERNANDO TRIVIÑO  on Unsplash ].

Sixth Bowl - Armageddon

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The sixth “bowl of wrath” causes the final battle between the “Lamb” and the forces of the “Dragon” – Revelation 16:12-16 .   The first four “ bowls ” targeted the economic foundations of the beastly empire, and the fifth attacked its political power. When the sixth “ bowl ” is emptied, demonic forces gather the “ kings of the earth ” to the final battle of the “ Great Day of God the Almighty ” at “ Armageddon ,” the last desperate effort by Satan to unseat the “ Lamb .” - [ Photo by GR Stocks on Unsplash ].

First Four Bowls

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The first four bowls of wrath destroy the economic infrastructure of the kingdoms of the earth – Revelation 16:1-9 .  The “ seven bowls of wrath ” include language and imagery from the plagues of Egypt, the exodus, the defeat of Pharaoh in the Red Sea, and Ancient Babylon, only here, divine judgments are inflicted on the persecutors of God’s people, the “ beast from the sea ” and the “ great city ,” end-time “ Babylon .” - [ Photo by Sam Power on Unsplash ].

Song of the Lamb

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Having “overcome” the Beast, the saints stand on the Sea of Glass and sing the song of Moses and of the Lamb – Revelation 15:1-4 .  The fifteenth chapter introduces seven angels poised to empty the seven “ bowls of wrath .” But first, we see the picture of “ overcoming ” saints standing on the “ sea of glass ” and “ singing the song of Moses and of the Lamb .” This victorious company has overcome the “ beast, its image, mark, and number .” - [ Photo by Xan Griffin on Unsplash ].

Throne of the Beast

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The first four “bowls” destroyed the economic structure of the World-Power; the fifth “bowl” targets the political dimension   –   Revelation 16:10-11 .  The first “ four bowls of wrath ” attacked the economic infrastructure of the empire used by the “ beast ” to dominate the “ inhabitants of the earth ,” and to wage war “ against the saints .” Afterwards, the global commerce on which the World-Power depended was destroyed. Now, the “ fifth bowl ” targets the political power and prestige of the beastly system - [ Photo by Stefan Gogov on Unsplash ].

Abraham and the New Covenant

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With the ascension of Jesus, the gift of the Spirit arrived with blessings for all believers - The “promise of Abraham.”  The “ promise of the Father ” is the gift of the Spirit, and the Apostle Paul linked it to the covenant promises given to Abraham that are now fulfilled in the New Covenant inaugurated by Jesus. The bestowal of the Spirit marked the commencement of the messianic age, the era of fulfillment. Moreover, Gentile believers are now equal heirs of those promises - [ Photo by  David Brooke Martin  on Unsplash ].

Righteousness, Wrath, Salvation

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In Romans, Paul argues from plight to solution as he presents his gospel to the churches in Rome .  In the first half of  Romans , Paul argues from plight to solution. The gospel is the “ power of God for salvation .” Because of sin, two forces are at work in the world - righteousness, and wrath. In his Son, God has provided salvation, the solution to the desperate plight of humanity that is available to all, and on the same basis, “ from faith .” - [ Photo by  Aniket Bhattacharya  on Unsplash ].

Righteousness of God

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The “righteousness of God” refers to His faithfulness to His promises, and this is demonstrated in the salvation He has provided in Jesus .  In Romans, Paul stresses the “ righteousness of God ” revealed in the gospel, the “ power of God for salvation to everyone who believes .” And it is proclaimed throughout the earth to “ Jew and Greek ” alike. By the “ righteousness of God ,” he means  HIS  “righteousness,” God's faithfulness to provide salvation for His wayward creatures - [ Photo by  Joshua Earle  on Unsplash ].