These are the notes from the third of four classes – W.I.G.D (What Is God Doing?). If you are going to read anything from this entire class, I suggest you read the second half of this post.
WIGD CLASS – Week Three
MY NOTES – ever-morphing: As you can see from what I SEND YOU and what WE COVER IN CLASS and then cover the following week – I pray I read I write, we discuss, and then I go back into my notes for subsequent classes. We LIKELY will cover most all of what I may write but NOT GET TO, in a subsequent class. Or we may not – as I might feel us perhaps shifting in direction for a subsequent class. Bear w me. I am trying to remain flexible in this.
ONCE AGAIN – I am not putting forth a SPECIFIC TIMEFRAME as to WHAT TIME IT IS RIGHT NOW in God’s plan for the end of the age. I don’t think anyone knows.
But what I do want to build a case for is
THERE DEFINITELY IS AN END OF THIS AGE – 2 Pet 3:4-7
IT WILL CONCLUDE IN HIS RETURN IN FLAMING FIRE – 2 Thess 1:8
THE TIMES PRIOR TO THE END OF THIS AGE WILL BE THE MOST TRYING TIMES EVER – Mark 13:19, Matt 24:21)
I BELIEVE THE PEOPLE OF GOD WILL BE ON THE EARTH DURING THE TROUBLING BUT NOT
DURING THE OUTPOURING OF WRATH – because God’s troubling is to get the unsaved to the place of repentance so that they might avoid the wrath. Matt 5:14, Matt 24:12-14, Rom 10:13-14, Hag 2:7, Ps 78:34, 1 Thess 1:10
I BELIEVE WE ARE REMARKABLY CLOSE.
Although we are definitely not supposed to build our end-times viewpoint based solely upon current events (folks have tried that in the past re Hitler THE Anti-Christ, Mussolini THE Anti-Christ, Gorbachev’s birth-mark being the head-wound in Revelation) – at the same time Jesus told us all that when we see the Abomination of Desolation sitting in the temple, to go read the book of Daniel. The end of Isa 28 also tells us that the natural speaks of the wisdom of God.
And of course Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for their failing to see the signs of their times. So once again it comes to a solid biblical foundation, eyes open as to what is occurring around us, and a life of Spirit-fed and Spirit-led prayer.
Also Paul tells us in Colossians that new moons, festivals, etc are “shadows of things to come”. God uses EVERYTHING to communicate w those who have ears to hear…
IN OUR LIVES we are seeing televised beheadings, axe attacks in the streets in the name of Allah, and other increased violence and wickedness. We likely ought not write these off as a “season of events”. We are seeing increase in intensity and frequency, and notable are the players in this drama, and who they worship, and where it centers – Israel and the Jewish people.
We left off last week in the middle of the section of Matt 5 where Jesus was confirming the ongoing validity of every word, every letter, every punctuation mark of the Old Testament scriptures. This is critical to a COMPLETE understanding of the COMPLETE plan of God – of course to the degree that we are able to understand it – also appreciating that there are things that won’t be completely understood UNTIL SUCH TIME as they are revealed to us.
This is breakthrough in our fullness of understanding.
WE WANT ALL OF THE PUZZLE PIECES ON THE TABLE as we go about pressing in to the plans of God, to investigate WHAT IS GOD DOING – in the earth, in us, in His plans for the completion of this age. And the fact that Jesus made this critical point to us ought to alert us that there would be an effort, on the part of the deceiver, to have us believe otherwise.
Jesus tells us in Matt 5 what NOT TO THINK, and he tells us we’re the light of the world – He would be handing that mantle off to His saints on earth.
So let’s go back a little to re-read what I ended w last week:
14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.
15 “Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.
Then we are told that GOD HIMSELF has determined that WE, HIS PEOPLE, are to actually BE the light of the world, and in that place, we are to be visible – TO THE PEOPLE IN THE WORLD, for His glory:
16 “Let (ALLOW) your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
This “lighting up” (illumination) of the people is God is therefore God-intended.
(I believe this points clearly to the end-times fulfillment of all things – which is KEY to the understanding of the entire Word of God. ALSO NOTE that the “LIGHT OF THE WORLD” revelation has to do w the time of fulfillment of all things – which to me even speaks to the saints being here and on earth – not raptured out prior to His very return.
That coordinates w Isa 60:1-3 – which we plan to cover later – and also remarkably w this text in Isaiah 40.
QUES – who is God speaking to here? Who would be reading this word, and who would His people be if others of His people would be bringing a word of comfort? – I believe this is written to the NT primarily Gentile church, called to be here to speak comfort in the last days, to the people of Israel – I think further pointing to the church, not simply the yet-to-be-saved Jews – being around prior to His return, to evangelize the heathen world):
1 “Comfort, yes, comfort My people!” Says your God. (SPOKEN TO OTHERS, beside the Jews, who know the same God)
2 “Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her, that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned; for she has received from the LORD’S hand double for all her sins.” (They are still paying for their sins, as they continue living in their sins).
These verses were pulled down to describe John the Baptist, although obviously their complete fulfillment has yet to manifest
3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
4 Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill brought low; the crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places smooth;
5 The glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”
“ALL FLESH SHALL SEE IT TOGETHER” can only refer to one event, in one time.
ONE THING WE ALL KNOW as well as are seeing right now in the world around us – there is a significant degree of “troubling” (tribulating) already occurring. We are unquestionably living in “trying times” that are increasing in frequency and intensity.
Our response – us pressing in to the purposes of God – is a good thing, no matter what your personal end-times outlook might be. There is simply no upside to shallow, or lazy, or casual, or worldly, living.
And prior to His return, we want to win as many as we can for Christ. I do not need a different doctrine other than the fullness of scripture to motivate me to warn every man. Nothing is more inspirational for evangelism than the truth of scripture. We are no doomsday preachers. We are good news preachers. Jesus is coming back to rescue and reward His people!
And along w the rescue and reward will necessarily be punishment and eradication of that which is wicked and contrary to His holy purposes.
28 Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.
I believe that is a call to the saints throughout the age – to warn every man and teach every man. There is something about which to warn them, and as the day approaches, the watchmen want to be in position, warning every man. (ref: Ezek 33 – I believe this was INTENDED for the Jews to be evangelizing THE WORLD. And now that is the call to the church – “when I bring the sword upon A LAND” not simply upon Israel)
The last two weekends my wife and I have been reading the letters to the churches at the beginning of Revelation, and I believe going into those scriptures substantiate my position on the church being here during the time prior to the return of the Lord – and even WHY those seven letters are timely to all the churches in this age, throughout this entire age.
A NEXT CLASS? BTW – I am feeling a next class series will be on those LETTERS TO THE CHURCHES. Please if you remember pray for me re this.
Part of the warfare against holiness is that saints who disagree w such proclamations of “grace” will be accused of being too legalistic.
MATT 5:20 (where we ended last week)
“For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
Our SALVATION was purchased by the complete work on the cross.
Our RIGHTEOUSNESS is ascribed to us by the righteousness of Jesus.
Our SUCCESS, meanwhile, is contingent upon us choosing, day by day and decision by decision, and prayer by prayer, to remain in Him, surrendered to Him, and holy.
Just because we are saved and forgiven does not provide us w carte blanche to live as we please. Look what Paul says to the Romans (speaking about the Jews, his own people):
19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.”
20 Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear.
21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either.
22 Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off.
Paul is associating UNBELIEF with NOT CONTINUING in the goodness of God’s ways. It is not simply about “Oh Lord, help my unbelief”. It is about believing the entire word of God.
1 Cor 10:6-12 (AFTER PAUL reminds his audience – including us – of failures of the OT Jews):
6 Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted.
7 And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.”
8 Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell;
9 nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents;
10 nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer.
11 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, on whom the ends of the ages have come.
12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.
Before we think we are walking on eggshells and that understandings God’s purposes and ways and word are impossible – HERE’S SOME GOOD NEWS:
God WANTS US TO MAKE IT, AND TO FINISH WELL.
HE DESIRES that we know His words and His ways, and He promises us that if/when we choose to dig into it, we will find true revelation (that has to become part of our faith):
12 Who is the man that fears the LORD? Him shall He teach in the way He chooses.
13 He himself shall dwell in prosperity, and his descendants shall inherit the earth.
14 The secret of the LORD is with those who fear Him, and He will show them His covenant.
WHAT DOES PS 25 tell us?
• GOD, by His Spirit, is committed to teaching A CERTAIN GROUP OF PEOPLE – those who fear Him.
• GOD WANTS TO PROSPER HIS PEOPLE – and extend the blessing to future generations.
• GOD HAS SECRETS and those who fear Him will know them, and will be able to SEE the meaning and the mystery of the covenant. Showing those fear Him “HIS COVENANT” extends beyond God revealing His Do’s and Don’ts. It means revealing HIS PLANS.
Here’s a “learning moment” to understand God and His word:
Showing His “covenant” has wider meaning than just RULES, or even what was given to Moses on Sinai. just like in Matt 5:18 (above) – “For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled” – We would do well to understand, from other scripture example, that “LAW” and “COVENANT” can have broader implications – exemplified by Paul’s usage of the word “nomos” (gr: law) to mean ALL OF THE OT:
1 Corinthians 14:20-21
20 Brethren, do not be children in understanding; however, in malice be babes, but in understanding be mature.
21 In the law it is written:
“With men of other tongues and other lips
I will speak to this people;
And yet, for all that, they will not hear Me,” says the Lord.”
Paul was quoting Isa 28 as being THE LAW..
This kind of understanding of what the word MEANS is often – and sometimes ONLY – best understood by the word itself.
I’ve heard people of faith say that the Word testifies of the Word – go into it to understand it.
We will see that later as we peek into the book Revelation a little later.
BACK TO THE PROMISE OF REVELATION TO THE SAINTS – FROM THE LIPS OF JESUS:
31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.
32 “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
DO YOU SEE THE “IF” and the “CONTINUE” and then the promise of the freedom assured in that place?
BIG ISSUE FOR US TO EMBRACE – WARNINGS OF FALSE TEACHINGS – increasing as the age continues….
The NT abounds w warnings and examples of false doctrines, theories and teachings that will be brought into the church in an ongoing and increasing plot to deceive, discourage, distract, and even destroy the church. And if/when folks are not diligently in the Word:
1. They are not alerted to such warnings; AND
2. Are more inclined fall prey to such doctrines, simply because they are not fortified w the knowledge of the truth of scripture.
I believe the harlot of the book of Revelation is the deceived church that will fall under the sway of Satan in the last days, and align itself w a world order that will war against the praying church.
Unlike believing in some misinterpreted ignorance, or teaching something inaccurate and reducing one’s reward (Matt 5:19) – many of the following NEW TESTAMENT warnings go way beyond a “misinterpretation” of scripture.
These warnings are written for us, so that we might maintain our diligence in pressing in to the Word that abides forever:
2 Tim 4:3-4 – WARNINGS ABOUT PEOPLE PURPOSELY TURNING FROM TRUTH
3 For the time will come (certainly PRIOR to the return of Jesus) when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers;
4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.
Jude 1:3-4 – EARNEST CONTENTION FOR THE FAITH to counteract false “grace” that would try to assure the church that lewdness and hedonistic pleasure-seeking were OK under the freedom of Christ:
3 Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.
4 For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.
Verse 4 speaks of two false doctrines – turning grace into lewdness, and then going so far as to even deny the Lord.
PETER TELLS US that there will be longsuffering for the people of God, a diligence required, and also tells us that rabbi PAUL wrote about these things, and also wrote other things that were not simply to be “skimmed for content” or “shallow-dived” to legalize a Sunday message. He is warning that if scriptures are so treated, they can result in eventual destruction:
2 Pet 3:14-18
14 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things (the return of our Lord), be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless;
15 and account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation– as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you,
16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.
17 You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked;
18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.
PAUL WROTE TO THE CHURCH that ALREADY was being presented w false teachings about the return of Christ – Paul was assuring them there were prophecies of the OT that needed to be fulfilled prior to that event:
II Th 2:1-4
1 Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him (so we see that WHEN HE COMES we will be gathered to Him), we ask you,
2 not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us (counterfeit epistles), as though the day of Christ had come.
3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition,
4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.
Although we tend to focus on the appearance of the man of sin (who is yet to appear), Paul reveals that critical one marker of end times within the larger context of saying that the Day of the Lord’s return will not occur UNTIL that has happened.
WARNINGS AGAINST DOCTRINES EASY ON SIN:
In Eph Paul warns of false teaching (of a false “grace” that would make room for sin) and also tells us that God’s judgment will surely include wrath.
Ridiculous as it might seem, there have always been people teaching a “gospel of Christ” that would allow for sin. The letters to the churches in Rev 2 and 3 speak of the doctrines of the Nicolaitans – doctrines that Jesus proclaims “HE HATES”. These will become more prominent in the end times prior to His return.
My personal take on the letters to the churches is that they are not necessarily seasons or church ages, but in fact are characteristics of churches ANY TIME DURING OUR AGE that any church can fall into, or walk in, depending upon their heart-condition. I personally cannot imagine our God telling CHURCH AGES that they would be having their candlesticks removed – as if to imply “Sorry dude, you were born into the wrong church age”. THAT would be the worst form of predestination…..
Eph 5:5-6 – the warning to the ones who should already know this fact – but sadly were being offered contradictory doctrines within the church:
5 For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.
Col 2:2-4 – Here Paul, in telling the church that the fullness of God is complete and hidden in Christ, is also warning the church about wasting their time and perhaps even jeopardizing their salvation, by going after “intriguing stuff” that promises greater insight into the things of God – by going beyond Jesus.
There is a fine balance between pressing into the deeper things of God, and simply getting spiritually weird or cosmic for weird’s sake. THAT is dangerous.
MAKE SURE THEY ARE THINGS OF GOD.
I believe the ignorance of the church, to the scriptures, will factor heavily into some of the elect being deceived by the lying signs and wonders spoken about as end-times occurrences:
Col 2 (Paul’s prayer):
2 that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and (thereby, in the place of love-unity – each part doing its share) attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ,
3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
WHY IS HE TELLING THEM THAT?
4 Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words.
Gal 1:6-9 – THE BOOBY TRAPPED PRIORITY OF THE EXISTING TRUTH
Here Paul is so adamant about what he had already revealed as the gospel of Christ as being the complete truth of God, he sets up a “POISON PILL” as a booby-trap against his own falling away – were that to ever occur.
1 Cor 9:26-27
26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air.
27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.
He understood the warfare coming against the teachers and revealers of truth, and the price and importance of that truth:
THE BOOBY TRAP CURSE OF PAUL:
6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel,
7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.
8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.
9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.
THERE’S MORE WARNINGS – Jude – “spots in your love feasts”, etc.
We are clearly warned of ongoing and increasing assault against the truth of scripture – but it ought to pique our senses to be aware of such workings as the end of the age approaches.
And we also need to understand that God is not mocked. If men WANT to hear garbage, God Himself will allow that to occur – as a punishment.
This strong word is a TRUTH, but is an EXTREME case. This is NOT about folks who simply
“don’t press in” or “don’t understand” – this is about people who would have pleasure in unrighteousness and continue in their lies, until they would reach a place where God would say:
“enough is enough”
This pertains to end-times, the coming of the anti-christ, and to those who refuse to receive the knowledge of the truth. FOR THE MOST PART I am of the mind these verses are for those OUTSIDE the church, although verses 14 and 15 are an admonition TO THE CHURCH not to get hung up in the lies – so that jeopardy has to be understood, by us, as existing.
Furthermore, if the HARLOT of the book of Revelation IS THE MASSIVE END-TIMES RELIGIOUS ORDER, it will include large segments of the deceived church. So this is written for us all to understand.
II Th 2:9-15
9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders,
10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie,
12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
13 But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth,
14 to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
TO THE BRETHREN
15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.
We want to be pressing in to God, submitted to His will, in His word, in prayer.
The times we are living in are troubled times.
I believe the word of God tell us the times coming up are times of purposeful troubling – by God, to draw men to Himself.
WHAT TIME IS IT?
PLEASE REMEMBER – I am in the process of discovery of all this, as are you. I am putting forth MY OPINION based upon what I have studied, in the Word of God first, and then in the writings of others.
You may have been taught differently.
You might personally believe differently.
That is fine.
Like we’re told in Daniel, and as we read before, some things will not become clear until they come to pass in their time, and/or when the scriptures are opened up to the saints in that time.
BUT THE CHALLENGE to us is to be IN PRAYER, in the WORD, in that place of Divine Desperation so that we do not miss what God might indeed be revealing in our very time.
Here’s my thinking.
The “book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ” is a series of visions and revelationS (plural) given to John, to convey to US, believers, so that we might have some understanding of things to come.
The symbolism of the book of Revelation is SOMETIMES explained within itself, in the book of Revelation, but IF NOT is most often represented elsewhere in scripture, primarily in the OLD Testament.
God has left us the entire bible so that we might understand the entire bible.
There is a “language of prophetic symbolism” conveyed in the scriptures, and becoming familiar w some of that language in ONE PLACE will help you understand other portions of scripture where the same language is used. The prophets who wrote the NT were students of the OT. They had the language in them.
Sadly, even as our ACCESS to the bible has increased, for the most part our BIBLICAL literacy has in many ways decreased, and that can open doors to deception and misunderstanding.
I DO LOVE THESE VERSES – I believe they apply to the end of this age, as Jews come to their Messiah.
It begins w a word of correction for their stubbornness, and it concludes w a promise of blessing as the word is taught in truth – which will posture the people correctly to receive the blessings of God:
19 For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem; you shall weep no more. He will be very gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when He hears it, He will answer you. (THEY NEED TO CRY OUT TO THEIR MESSIAH)
20 And though the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction (THEY’LL UNDERSTAND THAT, THEN), yet your teachers will not be moved into a corner anymore, but your eyes shall see your teachers.
21 Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left.
HOUSECLEANING OF ISRAEL, FINALLY
22 You will also defile the covering of your graven images of silver, and the ornament of your molded images of gold. You will throw them away as an unclean thing; you will say to them, “Get away!”
23 Then He will give the rain for your seed with which you sow the ground, and bread of the increase of the earth; it will be fat and plentiful. In that day your cattle will feed in large pastures.
OK – REVELATION SPEAKING ABOUT SOME END TIMES SITUATIONS – and what time we might be in:
1 Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name.
“SEA” is typically, biblically, a representation of gentile humanity – it is presented to us as a SEA, w explanation, in Rev 17:15 – a chapter we’ll look at next):
2 Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon (Satan) gave him his power, his throne, and great authority. (The beast was NOT a leopard, bear or lion. It had characteristics of those wild and unreasonable powerful animals). Those same animals were in Daniel’s vision in Dan 7. Lion represented Babylon, the Bear = the Medo Persian Empire, and the Leopard represented Alexander the Great (Greece) – so we have that “map legend”.
And the beast looks like something happened to it that should have killed it, but did not:
3 And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast.
Remember, Revelation is revealed to John WAY after the Babylonian, Medo-Persian, and Greek empires had risen and fallen. What we are seeing here is a partial picture telling us that the end-times evil will be an ACCUMULATION of the demonic “anointings” of all the prior anti-Jewish, anti-God empires – these three having been concluded at the time of John.
The resurrected beast of Revelation is so amazing in its coming back to life, and is so aggressive in its activity, that the nations marvel and conclude the beast is unstoppable, and therefore must be worshipped.
The world will have concluded, for some reason(s) that the beast was quite dead.
4 So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?”
BUT LOOK AHEAD TO some explanation kindly given to us elsewhere in Rev 17:
1 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls (containing the wrath of God – to be poured out on the wicked – Rev 15) came and talked with me, saying to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, (THIS HAS YET TO OCCUR)
2 “with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication.”
3 So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman (the harlot – Babylon) sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. (the consummation of evil anointing of the seven primary demonized empires that waged war against God and His people throughout the ages)
4 The woman (THE FANCY HARLOT) was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication.
5 And on her forehead a name was written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
This is end-times vision – and the woman is drunk w the blood of the saints.
6 I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement.
7 But the angel said to me, “Why did you marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and the ten horns.
8 “The beast that you saw was (manifested in part in times past), and is not (some of the revealing of the satanic activity was not yet apparent on earth at the time of John’s experience), and will ascend out of the bottomless pit (get its authority directly from Satan) and go to perdition (will eventually be completely destroyed). And those who dwell on the earth will marvel, whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, when they see the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. (sounds like LIVE, DEAD, then ALIVE again in their time of marveling).
9 “Here is the mind which has wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits.
SOME WHO BELIEVE in a confederacy of European nations will say that the harlot is Rome, even the Catholic church, aligned with the demonized kingdoms of the earth in a confederacy that is religious, military, and economic. Possible.
Others will say that the MOUNTAINS have nothing to do w Rome, or a corrupt papacy (including a corrupted Protestant church) – because Rome is on HILLS and not on MOUNTAINS, and the words in Revelation are specifically MOUNTAINS (OROS) and HILL (BUONOS). Secondly, Richardson points out that modern Rome sits on the ten HILLS not seven HILLS – although a reference to its location at its pinnacle of power cannot be discounted.
Another point made is that MOUNTAINS, in scripture, are often symbolic of COUNTRIES – like Obadiah’s prophecy against MOUNT SEIR – which was a prophecy against the Edomites. THAT foundational example has to be embraced in any safe interpretation.
SELL-OUT OF THE CHURCH: I personally think there will be a huge sell-out of much of the established church in the end-times – we read that last week when Jesus said the time will come when people who martyr His saints will believe they are doing God a favor.
And the warnings we read earlier of bad doctrines, some exempt demonic doctrines, coming into the church confirms the turning away, because of corruption, of much of the church…
REV 18 – could this mean COME OUT OF THE HARLOT CHURCH, or COME OUT OF THE HARLOT WORLD SYSTEM?
Either interpretation – there is a call to the saints to identify something wicked and ripe for judgment, and to get out of it quickly:
3 For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury.”
4 And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “ Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues.
5 For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.
BACK TO REV 17
10 There are also seven kings (KINGS MEANING EMPIRES RULED BY SUPREME RULERS). Five have fallen, one is, (I believe the “IS” was the current tense for the then-in-place ROMAN EMPIRE) and the other has not yet come (AS OF THE TIME OF WRITING OF THE REVELATION). And when he comes, he must continue a short time.)
The Empires that have historically shown themselves to be fully anti-God, anti-people of God, and fully demonized in their hatred for Israel are:
(FIVE HAVE FALLEN at the time of the writing of the book of Revelation)
“THE OTHER HAS NOT YET COME”.
The one who “has not come” has been open to speculation for thousands of years.
NOTE TO CHURCH – Logic would tell us that any ANTI-GOD final, end-times, culmination-of-all-things-evil demonized kingdom would not simply be ANTI-JEW. As a believer in the Messiah, they will also be ANTI-YOU.
THE BEAST is the beastly, unreasonable and untamable demonized spirit that incites each of the KINGDOMS. Throughout time the demonic similarity of the primary evil kingdoms has been the same, even with some differences as to how the empires functioned, their spirit of bestial and vicious destructive rule is similar.
The demonic DNA of the satanically inspired beast is in them all:
11 “And the beast that was, and is not, is himself also the eighth, and is of the seven, and is going to perdition.
12 “The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast.
(This verse could point to perhaps 10 already-existing nations – as of the time of John’s writing – but which have not yet been fully ignited to their end-time cause).
For the sake of where I am going, consider the possibility that those end-time horns are Islamic nations and not European nations. I am personally inclined to believe that.
13 “These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast.
(ONE MIND – they have something very much in common. Could it be their dark, demonic faith?. Interesting, unlike WW2 axis powers, who were Shintu, pseudo-Christian/Aryan, and pseudo-Catholic)
14 “These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.”
15 Then he said to me, “The waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues. (water and seas explained for our convenience)
INTRIGUE AND TURNING AGAINST THE HARLOT:
16 “And the ten horns which you saw on the beast, these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire.
17 “For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled.
18 “And the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth.”
(WHICH IS BABYLON, the harlot, who is not destroyed until the end of the age)
ALL THAT IN PLACE, very briefly, let’s go back to what we discussed a week of two ago – that certain elements of any prophetic declaration might not be discernible until a certain series of events have played out on earth.
We know that all of the demonically motivated empires prophesied about have this in common:
They are purposely warring against God – there is no “geo-political agenda” masking their contempt towards the God of Israel and His people.
It would be wisdom to conclude that the last such empire would be not only like-spirited and like-motivated, but also increasing in their rage and intensity. It will be the fullness of the accumulation of the demonized spirit of anti-Christ.
Some of the advantage of being in OUR TIME, RIGHT NOW, w all that is occurring around the world, provides us w a broader palette of understanding of the end-times plans.
EXAMPLE AND POINT:
“THE MIDEAST BEAST” – a much recommended book by Joel Richardson, brings forth this intriguing and startling possibility, perhaps most accurately understood, in our days – something the nineteenth century commentators JAMIESON FAUSSET BROWN would have obviously seriously struggled to embrace, w “Mohammedism waning” (as we read last week) during their days:
“What adds so much weight to the notion that the final two empires are in fact Islamic empires is the historical reality concerning the downfall of the Islamic Caliphate. Shortly after Muhammad, the founder and prophet of Islam, died, his companions and family took up the role of leading the Muslims. Muhammad’s close friend and father-in-law, Abu Bakr, became the first caliph. The period of rule under Abu Bakr and the next three caliphs is known as the Rashidun Caliphate. Following the Rashidun was the Umayyad Caliphate, then the Abbasid Caliphate, and eventually the dominion of much of the Muslim world fell to the Ottomans.
When we generically refer to the “Islamic Empire,” or the “Islamic Caliphate,” we are including the various aforementioned dynasties, which together ruled the Islamic world for more than thirteen hundred years. But this pan-millennial Muslim government was, in fact, beheaded in 1924 when Turkish secular reformer Mustafa Kemal Atatürk abolished the universal Islamic government known as the caliphate and the office of the universal Islamic leader known as the caliph.
The formerly unified empire was fractured into modern nation-states. Today, as the Western powers vacate the Middle East, the power of the Ottomans is regenerating. The head wound is being healed, and the Islamic Empire is reviving.”
IF IF IF Joel Richardson is correct, and his logic appears biblically sound, then THIS verse in Revelation is being activated, in our time and on our watch – a currently resurrecting Islamic Caliphate – the eighth coming out of the seventh, alive although it will have appeared to have been dead – having been done away w by Mustafa Ataturk in the early 1900’s (there’s a specific point to all this, for us – “what time is it?”):
1 Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name.
2 Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority.
3 And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast.”
REMEMBER in Daniel 7:
The LEOPARD represents Greece
The BEAR represents Medo-Persia
The LION represents Babylon
The geographical general land-mass of these three empires overlays the land-mass of the original Islamic Caliphate. The theory of a 10-nation European confederacy does not overlay that same land mass. But the LENS of a EURO-CONFEDERACY made sense while “MOHAMMEDISM WAS WANING” (remember we read that last week from an old commentary).
We likewise need to be careful to not plant our flag in a belief until such time that all the puzzle pieces are more clearly in place – which I believe God will do for us.
Joel Richardson’s theory that the mortal wound was the first demise of the caliphate (1924), and now the resurrected caliphate is the healed beast, could have profound implications as to where we might be in the eschatological timeline. We are seeing this occur right now…how many of us even understood or heard the “caliphate” until the past year or so? How any of us looked, at all, into the roots of Islam, prior to 9/11?
If that is the case, – if the currently-resurrecting caliphate is, perhaps the 8th empire coming to life again, then it’s surely no wonder God is moving so purposely upon the saints right now, shaking everything that can be shaken, both inside and outside of church.
I am amazed by the tenacity and conviction of many godly men who have written w the complete assurance that how they see this playing out it is how it will play out.
Personally, I think the wisest of scholars will all be doing some readjustment of their theology when the fullness of the plan is revealed.
REMEMBER THESE WORDS IN DANIEL:
Things are sealed up til the end of the age, and
Also REMEMBER what was spoken of by the Lord in Jeremiah regarding God’s violent judgment on the wicked state of affairs that have reached their culmination, their boiling point:
18 For who has stood in the counsel of the LORD, and has perceived and heard His word? Who has marked His word and heard it? (ANS: W perfect understanding? None of us)
19 Behold, a whirlwind of the LORD has gone forth in fury– a violent whirlwind! It will fall violently on the head of the wicked.
20 The anger of the LORD will not turn back until He has executed and performed the thoughts of His heart. In the latter days you will understand it perfectly.
FOR US – BACK TO POINT – the Word, and pressing in to understand it:
We can see, clearly, and in scripture, that the mysterious and great works of God are sitting there, available for study by “those who have pleasure in them”. God has loaded the study of His works w pleasure!
1 Praise the LORD! I will praise the LORD with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright and in the congregation.
2 The works of the LORD are great, Studied by all who have pleasure in them.
And yet we get intimidated by the word of God, as if we can’t break into it. It almost sounds like a CATCH-22 – sort of like “You can’t get credit until you have credit”
But the reality of the Kingdom is that GOD HIMSELF knows how to identify those who will come after Him, chase Him down, and press in to understanding His word.
SPEND YOUR LIFE ON HIM, and on knowing Him.