Monday, September 13, 2021

The Epistle of Jesus #14: The Fall of the Two Babylons

 The Epistle of Jesus #14: The Fall of the Two Babylons


Introduction: In the Book of Revelation, we have seen Satan mounting his last gasp all out assault on God and the things of God. He has attacked the very hall of Heaven and is then cast to earth, where he attacks the God’s people. Along with this physical frontal assault there has also been an spiritual covert assault on the souls of mankind.

Through the world leader that Satan install, he creates a vast and all encompassing false belief system, a counterfeit of everything that is true. This belief system has an anti-God, who is himself, the great Dragon. It has an anti-Christ who is the beast. It has an anti-Spirit who is the false prophet. And now in chapter 17 we see the completed system with the woman who rides the beast, clad in purple and scarlet. She is the anti-religion.

Though we are introduced to the woman late in the book, actually she is the oldest and most useful of all the tools that Satan will use. She reaches her greatest power her, but her beginnings go all the way back to the book of Genesis. So lets begin in chapter 17 and see the woman in her full glory and then we will also trace her back to her beginnings.

The Fall of Babylon the Mother of Harlots - Revelation 17:1–2


1 And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great (harlot) whore that sitteth upon many waters: 2 With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.

Identification of The Harlot


The angel calls her the great harlot, I’m going with the NKJV on this word. The word used here in the KJV is translated 8 times as harlot and 4 times with this much harsher word used here. All the times it is translated with this word, it is in Revelation 3 times in this chapter and one time in chapter 19. The word in the Greek is πόρνη pórnē and yes that is the word we derive our word pornography from. Strong’s dictionary says this is, “a woman who sells her body for sexual uses, a prostitute, a harlot, one who yields herself to defilement for the sake of gain.

I think the KJV translators wanted to use the more derogatory and harsher English word here because they were trying to show the disgust God has against what this this particular harlot represents.

It is interesting that there are four women in the book of Revelation: (1) 2v20, Jezebel, symbolizing apostasy creeping into the church, (2) Israel, the wife of God, in 12:1; (3) here in 17:1, we see this harlot, the and (4) finally in 19:7 we see the bride of the Lamb, the church of Jesus Christ.  

The prostitute of chapter 17 is described in the end of vs. 1 and then in 2, “that sitteth upon many waters: With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.

She sits on many waters.


This symbol is explained for us in Revelation 17: 15 And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.

The symbolism here is that the woman is worldwide, upheld and supported by all the people of the world. 


The kings of the earth have committed fornication with her.


The kings and leaders of the world’s nation have through political and economic intercourse partnered with the harlot. They have used her to gain power and appease their people and she has used the kings and leaders to gain power through the state, the power of government.
The inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.

This woman, this harlot has seduced the inhabitants of the earth. Has put them under her control through the wine of fornication. She is the cause, the root, the reason for so many not turning to the Creator and instead turning to the basest, most reprobates elements of the Creators creation.

Romans 1:18-25 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, …

Description of the Harlot – Revelation 17:3–18


3 So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. 4 And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: 5 And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. 6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.  7 And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns. 8 The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. 9 And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. 10 And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. 11 And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition. 12 And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. 13 These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.

Decadence and Death Are Her Dress


The Woman located. Revelation 17:18, tells us, “the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.”

The statement is very straightforward without any explanation, meaning that John would clearly understand what city this was. In John’s time the city that reigns over the kings of the earth, was Rome. Vs. 9 tells us the seven heads are seven hills. Rome is situated on seven hills and when Revelation was written, Rome was reigning over the kings of the earth. Will the revived Roman Empire’s one world religion have its headquarters at Rome? Possibly, the Roman Catholic popes since the 1970s have opened up dialogue and forged relationships with most of the world’s religions. It may be another city that is in view, where the final version of one-world religion will be situated but it will be like the Rome John knew. It will be corrupt; it will be immoral and it will be locked in intercourse with the powers of the world.

Her Appearance - Revelation 17:4 And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:

Her dress shows that she is rich and wrapped in this world’s luxury. If you ever wonder why so many Bible scholars of the past have identified the Great Harlot with The Roman Catholic Church all you have to do is look at the Vatican or any large Catholic church with gold crucifixes, gold covered altars and the vestments of the popes, bishops and priest made from the finest silks and fabrics the world can offer. If you wonder how churches of the future will so easily join in this adulterous religious system all you have to do is look at the houses, cars, clothes and property of todays health and wealth preachers. They are in it for the money and that will only be the case when the true church is taken in the rapture.
Her Title. Revelation 17:5 And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.

Her Killings – Revelation 17:6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration. (wonder and astonishment)
 

This Title is the most important element of identifying and understanding the Harlot and what she represents. And it takes us back all the way to the book of Genesis. 


Her Heritage - Look at Genesis 10:6-14 And the sons of Ham; Cush, and Mizraim, and Phut, and Canaan. … And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD. And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel…

Nimrod, the mighty hunter, the mighty champion, the mighty predator, establishes the first empire after the flood, the kingdom of Babel, later Babylon. He is more than just a king because he controls several cities in a region, cities that will still be in existence and antagonist of God’s people for centuries to come.

What happens at Babel, probably under the influence and power of Nimrod is in Genesis 11:1-4 And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them throughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.

Pay attention to what they said, perhaps this is what Nimrod said as their king. “let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name.” Now this wasn’t just a high tower, no this was a tower that may reach to heaven. Not so much by its height but by what took place on that high tower. Throughout the ancient world we see examples of these towers sometime called ziggurats. They are step pyramids, and we see them in ancient Babylon, ancient Egypt and even ancient Mexico and central and south America. They built these towers to reach into the heavens by the practice of paganism and human sacrifice. They sought to get the attention of the gods that they had now turned to by doing acts of such devotion that their gods of sun, moon, rain and harvest would have to take notice and bless them. It seems likely that this systematic form of paganism may have arisen with Nimrod and the tower of Babel. It was the final culmination of Cain’s rebellion away from the one true God to many gods. Away from true worship to the most gruesome kinds of human sacrifice.

The Great Harlot Is Paganism, the Mystery Religion began in Babylon and has existed since that time and for most of our history has been the most dominate form of religion on the earth. It flourished under the Egyptians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, the Incas, the Aztecs. Today it still holds the great power in places like India under the Hindus, Tibet as Buddhism and Japan as Shintoism. Neo-Paganism is even today, growing in influence among the enlightened people of countries like the United State, and Europe. Those who have rejected God and true Christianity but still need to believe in something, just like the did in Nimrod’s day. It is opposed to God and to truth and it is always filled if not dominated by female deities. Names like Tammuz, Ishtar, Astarte, Hera, Juno and Mary fill the same role and find their ultimate personification in the purple and scarlet woman of Revelation.

What happens in Revelation 17 and 18 is the final chapter of the story that begin with Cain, was strengthened and codified by Nimrod and has claimed billions and billions of souls before the Lord’s truth could reach them.

One-eighth of the entire book of Revelation is devoted to the subject of judgment upon Babylon, around 50 verses. Chapter 17 and 18 aren’t just incidental events they are central to the judgment of God that is the core of the Book of Revelation. The merciless retribution against the woman arrayed in purple and scarlet is the just reward for those billions of lives and souls, destroyed, corrupted and lost for eternity by Mystery, Babylon, the Mother of Harlots and the abominations of the earth.

It also must be noted that John, in vs. 6 “saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.” This Harlot has martyred God’s people throughout time, but it especially has delighted in killing the saints of Jesus Christ. The influence of the Harlot within the city of Rome both during its pagan Emperors and its Popes, has led to the deaths of million and millions of the Lord’s true church. Entire cities, entire regions of countries have been slaughtered like vermin while the Harlot of Rome urged the kings of the earth on to victory. It goes on still today and will become even more inescapable during the Tribulation for those who turn to Jesus Christ even after the church is gone. 


Lets go back to her description. The Beast. John sees the woman sitting on a scarlet-colored beast, This is the same Beast, that was the rider on the white horse in Chapter 6 and is also described in chapter 13, this is the Antichrist. In verse 8 we read that the beast seemingly comes back to life. He arises from the bottomless pit, the abyss. The Beast is scarlet-colored, showing his relationship with the Great Dragon, Satan. He also has seven heads and ten horns like Satan.

The Heads and Kings Verse 10 tells us that the seven heads are seven kings and v. 12 explains that the ten horns are ten more kings. The “seven kings” of v. 10 could also be translated “seven kingdoms.”

The seven heads. Revelation 17:9-13 And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition. And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.

The five kingdoms that had fallen were Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome and then the Revived Roman Empire of the 10 Kings, where the Anti-Christ arises to power.
Remember we read in Revelation 13:3 it says, “And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death…”

The Beast receives a wound unto death and during this time when he seemingly dies, the woman who once rode on the back of the beast, now takes his power and reigns.

Destruction of the Harlot - Revelation 17:16–17


And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the (harlot) whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.

So the Harlot is the 6th Kingdom, taking power after the anti-Christ is removed, killed or missing, then these 10 Kings, turn and kill the harlot. The Bible says they make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her. They will not accept her as a replacement for the Beast. They see her as a usurper and they determine to return to the world power balance they had at the beginning of the tribulation when they along with the beast rose to power. So they destroy her, stripping away her purple and scarlet,  humiliating her, and taking her riches even to the point of consuming her, like a cannibal and then burning anything that remains, so there is nothing left.
Then after destroying the great harlot, they become the 7th Kingdom but “only for an hour” because the Beast, is resurrected, comes back from oblivion and they give their power to him. He then is the 8th kingdom, who comes from the 7th, the original 10 Kings of which he was when he first rose to power.  

The Great Harlot, Mystery Babylon is gone but the Beast is back and now stronger than ever. He doesn’t share power with the Harlot and the 10 Kings give their power to him. At this point, probably right at the midpoint of the Tribulation, 3 ½ years into the seven years, The anti-Christ with the power of Satan behind him, moves against nation of Israel, the last vestiges of God’s promises on the earth.

Revelation of The Harlot


The Great Harlot, the woman in purple and scarlet, represents the anti-religion of the anti-Christ.
For a time, it will be the glue that holds together the Beast’s kingdom and gives him an air of morality. This world religion, this anti-religion will be intimately involved in all the political, social and economic systems of the world during the Tribulation. With the aid the fornication, so to speak of the Beast, she become a great power, riding to power on his back and when he is struck down, she assumes all power during his absence.

Then just before the beast ascend back to life and to power, the 10 kings kill the Harlot and then give their kingdom to the Beast, when he returns from the abyss. Now the Beast and the False-prophet turn all worship, all the power of the harlot to the Beast. He is now completely and fully their god and fully in control.
 

For us today, we as Christians, the people of God in this age, the warning we take from Revelation 17 is clear. There is no place for the mixture of this world’s religion and its paganism with the church of Jesus Christ.
 

God hates Jezebel, the Harlot among His people.
 

He harshly condemns Jezebel and those who were in bed with her in the church of Thyatira back in Revelation 2:20-23 Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: …

Jezebel, The Harlot, Paganism, Satan’s counterfeit religion has been with us since the days of Cain and Nimrod. It is still corrupting and polluting the Lord’s work today.

The so called Mother Church of Rome is more pagan than Christian. From its cannibalism of the Lord’s body, to praying to the dead saints, to purgatory, to infallible leaders and the veneration of the Queen of Heaven who replaces Jesus Christ. The mother church of Rom is indeed a mother but not of Christianity.

There are entire denominations today that practice, preach and proclaim the worst doctrines of the paganism of the Old Testament. Homosexuality, transsexuality, open marriages, fornication, abortion of innocent babies all mark them as part of that heritage of Nimrod.  


These denominations and churches often are dominated by feminists who have been made pastors in Presbyterian, Methodist, Lutheran, Pentecostal, Charismatic and Episcopal churches. Even some with the name Baptist have accepted this mixture of the world’s religion as necessary and proclaim that it is God will. 


I could go on, but this is supposed to be a sermon and not a rant. Besides I don’t need to go on. You know because you are the Lord’s church. You know that there is a line, clearly draw from us in scripture and when you cross that line, you weaken or even lose your connection to the God of Heaven, while the god of this world, the Great Dragon strengthens in these denominations and his power and influence rises. We as God’s people in this day and time are called to hold that line.

Illustration:
Goal line defense. The simplest because you just stopped everything from coming across. That is what we are called to do in this age, stop everything from the coming through into our church.

The Fall of Babylon The Mother of Commerce – Revelation 18


I’m just going to touch on chapter 18, the Fall of Babylon The Mother of Money and then conclude the sermon.
 

Revelation 18 tells us of the fall of another Babylon, related by history and again intercourse with the Babylon of chapter 17. That was the Babylon of Religion, this is the Babylon of Commerce. So we have two Babylons, the Mother of Harlots and the Mother of Money, the the great global economic system of the latter days. When the religious system collapses, it begins the domino effect of collapsing the Beast’s entire empire. He is despearate and motivated and empowered by Satan, he moves again Jerusalem, that once thought he was their Messiah.

Warren Wiersbe points out four voices in this chapter. I will give them to you and we will be finished. There is…

The Voice of Judgment Revelation 18:1–3


And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying,
Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.

The Voice of Separation Revelation 18:4


And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.

The Voice of Mourning Revelation 18:9-10
And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her,
shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning, Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come.
But the last voice we hear is the important one, for it returns us after all this darkness and destruction to rejoicing.

The Voice of Rejoicing Revelation 18:20


Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.

Conclusion:  


Two lessons we take with us from the Two Babylons
Number one, God hates Jezebel, God despises Babylon the Mother of Harlots that has claimed billions of souls and doomed them when their creator would have saved them.

God hates Jezebel and therefore we must not tolerate her in our churches, our live or our families. Yes we must be intolerate in this, not unloving, not unconcerned but not ever tolerate of the corruption and evil of the mother of Harlots drunk on the blood of the saints.

Just as the voice from heaven says in Revelation 18:4-6 Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill.

Number two, for God’s people there will always be a voice of rejoicing at the end of the darkest night and the most oppressive struggles. Listen for that voice at all times.
Remember what Paul wrote to the church at Philippi? Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.

This is what we are called to do until that last great voice from heaven calls out that final command to rejoice. You can’t ignore the difficulties, the darkness and the desolation but don’t ever forget we will always rejoice.



Tuesday, September 7, 2021

The Labor of the Lord - John 6:28-35

The Labor of the Lord - John 6:28-35


Power Point Link

Video Link
MS Word Doc Link

Introduction:  
Joke: Two Minnesotans, Sven & Ole, walk into a pet shop near Brainerd. They head to the bird section and Sven says to Ole, "Dat's dem."

The owner comes over and asks if he can help them. "Yah sure, ve'll take four of dem dere little budgies in dat cage up dere," says Sven.

The owner puts the budgies in a paper bag. Ole and Sven pay for the birds, leave the shop, get into Sven's pick-up and drive to the top of some big cliffs near Brainerd Lake.

At the cliffs, Sven looks down at the 1000 foot drop and says, "Dis looks like a grand place." He takes two birds out of the bag, puts them on his shoulders and jumps off the cliff. Ole watches as Sven falls all the way to the bottom, killing himself dead. Looking down at the remains of his best pal, Ole shakes his head and says: "By yumpin' yiminy, dis budgie yumping is too dangerous for me."
VAIT!!! Dere's MORE!

Moments later Knute arrives up at the cliffs. He's been to the pet shop, too, and walks up to the edge of the cliff carrying another paper bag in one hand and a shotgun in the other. "Hey, Ole. Vatch dis." Knute says. He takes a parrot from the bag and throws himself over the edge of the cliff.

Ole watches as half way down, Knute takes the gun and shoots the parrot. Knute continues to plummet down and down until he hits the bottom and breaks every bone in his body. Ole shakes his head and says, "And I'm never trying dat parrotshooting either."

BUT VAIT!!! Dere's MORE , you betcha!!

Ole is just getting over the shock of losing two friends when Lars appears. He's also been to the pet shop and is carrying a paper bag, out of which he pulls a chicken. Lars grasps the chicken by the legs, holds it over his head, hurls himself off the cliff and disappears down and down until he hits a rock and breaks his spine.
Once more Ole shakes his head. "First der was Sven with his budgie yumping, den Knute parrotshooting ... and now Lars, hengliding.

Sometime people really don’t understand what they are doing or what they are seeking or what they are hoping to find. We see this very clearly in the sixth chapter of John’s Gospel. It is a serious even deadly mistake. A mistake that people are still making today and with consequences that are eternal.

The Crucial Sixth Chapter of John

This chapter is one of the most important chapters in the Gospels in explaining how salvation occurs. We will come back to it in the near future and mine its depths. It is also one of the most misunderstood passages because like the people of John’s day, there is a serious preconceived idea about how a person is saved. Today we are doing to center our sermon on that error.

To show how important this passage is just look at that takes place in its 71 verses.
Vss. 1-14 Jesus Feeds the 5000
Vss. 15 The People Try to Force Jesus to Be King
Vss. 16-21 Jesus Walks On the Water and Saves the Ship
Vss. 22-27 The People Find Jesus and Question Him
Vss. 28 - 59 The Bread of Life Discourse
Vss. 60 - 71 The Winnowing of Followers

We are going to focus on the question that begins the Bread of Life Discourse it is found in vs 28. “What must we do to work the works of God.” But lets back up to vs. 22 so that we can better understand why the people who had seen the miracle of the loaves and the fishes would ask this question.

Full Stomachs but Empty Souls – John 6:22-27

 The day following, when the people which stood on the other side of the sea saw that there was none other boat there, save that one whereinto his disciples were entered, and that Jesus went not with his disciples into the boat, but that his disciples were gone away alone; (Howbeit there came other boats from Tiberias nigh unto the place where they did eat bread, after that the Lord had given thanks:) When the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, neither his disciples, they also took shipping, and came to Capernaum, seeking for Jesus. And when they had found him on the other side of the sea, they said unto him, Rabbi, when camest thou hither? Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.

Seeking A Meal and Missing Eternity

The Background
The miracle of the Loaves and fishes had taken place just the day before. When Jesus perceived that the crowd meant to make Him King by force, He sent his apostles ahead away from the political storm on land but into a physical storm on the lake. But he does not leave them to face the storm alone.

John 6:18–21 And the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew. So when they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs, they see Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing nigh unto the ship: and they were afraid. But he saith unto them, It is I; be not afraid. Then they willingly received him into the ship: and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went.

He walks out to them on the water, through the storm and when they take Him into the ship, miraculously the ship they had tried all night to row across the lake is “immediately” at the land where they were headed. That right, long before Scotty and Captain Kirk or Star Trek, the Lord was using a transporter to rescue His away crew. 

Sorry, that was a flashback to when I was a Trekkie. 

Back on shore the people awake, and they can't find Jesus, their King by acclamation and they board ships and themselves sail to Capernaum, where Jesus lived.
When they find him in the Synagogue they ask Him, "Rabbi, when did you come here?" They are also asking, "Why didn't you tell us you were leaving? Don't you know we want to follow you? Don’t you realize we want to make you King? Jesus, don’t you know you need us?”
Jesus’ answer to them begins the shifting, winnowing process that will culminate at the end of this chapter with most of his followers leaving him. It is very shocking and is so sweeping that Jesus even asks the 12 if they will also leave him. His answer to the King makers, the bread eaters, shows the difference between real followers of Christ and those who are only seeking self-fulfillment and trying to use the Savior for their own purpose.

Jesus tells them, “You seek me not because of the miracles but because you were filled. It isn't the spiritual things you seek, but the physical blessings which you think can come through me.”

He is very blunt, very straight to point in 27 - Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.
He is telling them, “Don’t search for, don’t strive for physical food that doesn’t last but for spiritual food that endures unto eternity. Spiritual sustenance that is a gift from the Son of Man that God the Father appointed to this purpose.”

What Do We Seek?


Consider the words of Jesus in light of our present Christian age. How many people, how many churches, how many of us are trying to negotiate with God, make a deal of Jesus? Trying to get from the King of Eternity, tit for tat, quid por quo in exchange for following Him?

Is the only reason we come to church is because we believe God will physically bless our family. Do parents send their kids off to Sunday School so they can hear about the Bible, learn morals and grow up to be good citizens who behave themselves? Do people tithe and give offerings in order to buy God's favor? Is that how its supposed to work?

The far extreme side of this make a deal with God belief system is seen in the health and wealth charismatic preachers. The concept of “seed faith” giving is the ground upon which their mult-million dollar empires are built. We have the idea much like these that if we appear sincere in seeking Jesus that he will bless us in the physical things of life.

Illustration: Robert Tilton's Miracle Magazine pg. 12

Terri was desperate.  Things had gone from bad to worse; and the worse things got, the more she blamed God for her problems.  One day as she watched our television program, her hope was sparked.  That day she vowed $500 and wrote a five-point petition to God for her needs.  Within weeks, God restored marital and family relationships, renewed their spiritual life, supplied a five bedroom home, and improved the family's finances.  A petition is a written request made to a superior authority.
Most of our prayer are actually verbal petitions requesting something of God.  When petitioning the Lord, it is good practice to write down exactly what you are believing God for.  Not only will this help your faith as you expectantly stand to receive your answer, but it is also written evidence of a covenant with God.  Most people don't realize they can enter into a covenant with God. They don't know they can promise certain things (a vow) to God and then expect Him to fulfill certain things (a petition) for them.

End Citation: 

Not a bad deal.  $500 dollars to God in exchange for a strong family and a five-bedroom house. When you read and hear things like this, you realize in many ways our days are much worse than it was when Jesus reprimanded the ones who came seeking a meal in exchange for making Him King.

The true prophets of God’s word had much to say about such people.

Matthew 15:8-9 Quoting Isaiah, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

Ezekiel 33:31-32 And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness. And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not.

God is not fooled, God is not manipulated, God does not play games with His blessings. If we are seeking Him in order to benefit from my idea of blessings then I’m seeking the wrong god. I’ve come looking for the wrong Jesus.

Transition: When these false seekers hear the word Labor from Jesus’ answer they think they have found something they understand. Something that fits in their give a little get a lot relationship with God. Look how they respond in vs. 28.
 

Open Ears but Deaf Hearts – John 6:28-35

Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?   Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work? Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

Seeing Only The Physical

Wanting to Work, But Needing to Believe.

They asked Jesus, "What must we do?" It’s a straight forward question. And Jesus answers in like manner with a simple straight forward answer, "Believe on me."
Their question shows their misunderstanding, a serious deep, eternally damning misunderstanding. They believe they can work and do something that will earn God’s favor. This is what they had been taught by the Pharisees. Keeping the law was the way you could earn your way to the resurrection. Doing what they said the law required of them. Now they are asking Jesus, “What do we need to do for God?”

Jesus tells them, “Just believe, believe in me the one whom the Father has sent. Believe in Christ. Believe in the Messiah. Believe in the Son of Man. Believe in the Son of God.

Seems pretty plain but notice how they respond to this plain declaration of the need for faith.

Wanting a Sign, But Needing a Savior

Vs. 30 They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work? They are asking saying, “Okay, ten what sign will you do, that we may see and believe in you? What work are you willing perform?” And they have a plan for exactly what they want Jesus to do for them, at their insistence at their near command, they tell him “You know what, our fathers, our ancestors they ate the manna in the wilderness. Why don’t you do the same?
Jesus sets them straight and tries to get them to see the much bigger picture. He tells them, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.”

Did you notice the tenses? Moses gave, past tense, but God now gives, present tense. He clearly tells them God has given me, the true bread of life, the fulfillment of the symbol of the manna that fell during the Exodus. God through Moses gave but now God is giving you eternal life through me.”

Wanting a Meal, But Needing a Master

And look at their understanding. I should say their total misunderstanding. Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. In other words, “Lord give us a meal that will never end!” In a sense they are looking past eternal life in Jesus Christ and willing to exchange if for a lifetime supply of Chic-fil-a chicken or never ending coupons for pulled pork sandwiches at Dickeys. Now I really like both those meals but they are a poor substitute for eternal life.

You can almost feel the frustration, the sense of shock as Jesus hears this and then tries to removes any vagueness or ambiguity as to what he is saying, vs. 35 "I am the Bread of Life.  He that comes to me shall never hunger, he that believes on me shall never thirst.

Seeing The Eternal

If we are to avoid the mistake of these people in John 6, if we are to see the truth of eternity and not be blinded by the wants of today, then we must first really hear Jesus. We must listen to the word that he speaks directly to our heart.

To often we hear a Christian philosophy, or we hear a good entertaining sermon, we may even hear a wise teacher, but what we must hear, what we need to hear is God the Son.  Jesus Christ who has come down to earth to reveal God to us.

Hebrews 1:1-3 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,  Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

Secondly, we must hear Him not on our terms, our wants or in our understanding but strictly what He is saying and he never speaks without making it clear and plain. Don’t listen to him like these people did.

You can’t filter His word though your Wants. Wanting to Earn Salvation. Wanting a Sign. Wanting a Meal.
Instead, we simply need to do what Jesus plainly says to do. We need to believe

The people that day, struggled with this. Just believe? We can define it. I like the way the Amplified Bible states it, vs. 29 “that you believe [adhere to, trust in, rely on, and have faith] in Him whom He has sent."

We can illustrate belief. I once helped in an outdoor evangelistic service in Cooper, Texas and at the invitation two or three young men came forward to ask questions. The preacher was a Jim McBroom who was in college with me and had been more experience preaching while in the army in German working as a chaplain’s assistance. He talked to one of those young men, trying to get him to understand what it meant to believe in Jesus. So he used and illustration. He reached in his pocket and pulled out a small pen knife that he always carried and he told the young man, “If I offer you this pocket knife, you don’t have to do anything except reach out and let me put in in your hand. But you have to believe that I will give it to you.” He then held out the knife and the young man reached out and took it from Jim. Jim said, “That what salvation if like, you must accept the gift of Jesus Christ, given to you by God the Father. Just reach out and it’s yours.” They man began to weep and they bowed their heads and praying, thanking God for His wonderful gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ.

Jim told me all this afterward and he smiled and said, “You know I’ve lost a few good knives with that explanation, but it’s worth it.”

We need to believe in Jesus not try and work for salvation, we need a Savior not a sign, and we need a master not a meal ticket.

We must come to Jesus on his terms not ours. We cannot bargain with Him.  We don't ask what's in it for me. He offers eternal life. He offers forgiveness of sin. He offers the Holy Spirit to dwell within us. What do we have to bargain with? His gifts are too great to be treated as tokens for exchange. Just believe. Just accept the gift. Just answer His call.

Scripture: Come unto me all ye that are weak and heavy laden and I will give rest to your souls.
I must come realizing I am weak and cannot save myself.  I have no hope of heaven or forgiveness without Jesus. I cannot work for it or earn it. I have nothing of worth to offer Him.

I must realize I am a sinner.  Born, bred and living as a sinner. My sin separates me from God and makes my life a misery for which there is no escape from the pain and suffering it causes.

I must come to Christ. There is no other means there is no other person there is no other hope it is Jesus and it is Jesus alone.

He alone promises I will give you rest.

Transition: Just one more thing as we bring the sermon to a close.
 

Open Eyes but Blind Minds – John 6:36-40

But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not. All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

Seeing Jesus but Not The Son.


Jesus tells them, “You have seen me but you don't believe in me.” They had seen the miracle of the loaves and fishes, but instead of seeing the Son of God they only saw the carpenter’s boy from Nazareth.

It is not necessary to read their hearts to know they don’t believe, it is a far easier and obvious reality, in vs 37 He says, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” You don’t believe, because if you believed then you would come. You would come.

He again plainly spells it out that He is not who they think He is, vs. 38 “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.”
He then explains the will of God, vs. 39 “And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

Just look at the will of God is so full of Grace. Jesus says, … All the Father has given Jesus will lose none. Not one, not under any condition of my emotion, any circumstance of life or any scenario in the future. Jesus will not lose a single person who once put their faith in him and believed.

Jesus promise that He will raise them all up again at the last day. That is His promise, if I believe in him when he offered me salvation then I better understand that salvation is eternal and cannot be lost or else Jesus did not tell the truth her. And if that could be true then there is not salvation at all for anyone under any condition. It is eternal or it is nothing.

Jesus promises it is God’s will that everyone who sees the Son and believes on him has everlasting life and be raised up on the last day. These verses are powerful proof of the eternal security of the soul. You can’t make them say anything else.

Seeing The Savior


The man Jesus of Nazareth has not walked on this earth for over 2000 years but the Jesus Christ, the Savior has never left it.

The man was limited to be in one place at one time, but the Savior is in a all places at all times, calling to all people at all times the Gospel is preached, "Come unto me."

Jesus the man shed his blood for us, the Savior took that precious outpoured sacrifice and presented it before God to make a way for us to be reconciled, redeemed, brought back to God who created us for fellowship with Him.
 

If you would see salvation then you must see Jesus in all the reality of who he was, who He is and who He will be when He returns as King of Kings and Lord of Lord.
How you see Jesus will determine your eternity.

Conclusion: Have you seen Jesus?

If you haven’t seen Him in the way you need to see Him, then I can tell you He’s here all you must do is behold Him with the eyes of faith. See Him who did the feed the thousands, see Him who walked on the water and stilled the storm. See Him who ascended Mt. Calvary and gave His life and cruel cross. See Him who calls out, Father, forgive them.

See Him who even now stands before you in the power of the Gospel and calls out to us, “Come unto me.”

This is the Jesus we must see and believe. This is the Jesus we must see and share. May God give us the vision to do both.

Monday, August 30, 2021

Stand Up And Shine Out - Isaiah 60:1-5

Stand Up And Shine Out - Isaiah 60:1-5

Power Point Link

Video Link
Document Link


Introduction: A Change of Direction

A notorious drunk got on the bus early one morning after being out all night drink. He woke up on a bus bench and climbed into the bus. He staggered down the aisle, and as luck would have it he sat right next to an elderly woman who was reading her Bible.

She looks the wayward drunk up and down. He smiles his best smile though foggy eyes and terrible breath and tells the old saint, “Good morning, miss. Isn’t it a beautiful day?” A light of righteous indignation comes into her eyes and she says, "I've got news for you, Mister.  You're on your way to hell!"

Suddenly the man jumped up out of the seat and shouted to the driver, "Stop. I'm on the wrong bus AGAIN!"

Cause to Shine - Isaiah 60:1  

Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.

God Commands His Nation

Background and Context: God speaking through Isaiah in the chapters previous to 60 has told the nation Israel it is a mess.

In Isaiah 58:1 He condemns their religious hypocrisy, “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.  Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God.

In chapter 59 He exposes their utter sinfulness 1 Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: 2  But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. 3  For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness.

But then suddenly we come to chapter 60:1 and God speaking through Isaiah tells the same people “Arise, Shine!”.” In the midst of such darkness such sin and such hypocrisy He says “Stand up and Shine Out.”

Why? How after such a scathing rebuke of the blackness of their sin, would he tell them this?

Well of course the reason is right there in the verse, “Arise, Shine for thy light has come and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.”

It was not what hypocritical, sinful Israel could, would do or was doing. The reason they would be able to stand up and shine out was because of what God was going to do. He was going to bring a light to them, He was going to let His glory be seen  in them.

This would happen when their Messiah, their King, the Lord of Light was sent from God to rule and reign. This take place at the end of the Tribulation we have been preaching for the past 2 years. Well not quite that long. More specifically this is a prophecy of what will take place during the Millennial rule of Jesus on earth after He returns and scatters the night of sin from the earth.
Their light will be the light of their King, Jesus Christ. Lord of Lord and King of Kings.

Jesus himself claimed this part of Isaiah prophecies. He clearly stated that they were about Him. Every thing from Isaiah 58-66 is about God reclaiming Israel as His nation, His people and His spiritual wife. Each chapter is a sermon. Just like all preachers, The Lord liked to preach themes.

God’s Retaking of Israel and The Plan of Peace

Sermon I. False worship contrasted with true. 58:1-14.
Sermon II. Israel’s confession and her rescue by God. 59:1-21.
Sermon III. Radiance and peace of God’s redeemed people. 60:1-22.
Sermon IV. The joy-bringing gospel of the Annointed One. 61:1-11.
Sermon V. restoration of Zion; destruction of infidel heathen. 62:1–63:6.
Sermon VI. Israel’s plea for help, based on past mercies. 63:7–64:12.
Sermon VII. God’s mercy reserved for spiritual Israel. 65:1-25.
Sermon VIII. Blessing of true believers in the final age. 66:1-24. - Wycliffe Bible Commentary


Jesus Claims the Promise


When Jesus was here, He began the work that would one day result in God’s people Israel coming back to His father.  In Luke 4:16-21 we read, And he (Jesus) came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.

That is why in our text today, we hear the command of the Lord to Arise and Shine. Jesus has come and His light has banished the thickest night.

Jesus Commands His church


As you read this command given to Israel, shouldn’t it also thrill our hearts? Surely, we can see the parallel between God’s message to the nation of Israel and Jesus’ message to His church today.

All you have to do is look around.  Do you see hypocrisy? Hypocrisy is so prevalent, that most people believe it’s normal. Especially when it comes to politicians and the ruling elite that govern us. They can tell us what to do and then ignore the very same mandate when it comes to them, their friends, and their families.  Hypocrisy is a fog of lies that makes the darkness around us deeper. And let me tell you from God’s word, God hates hypocrites.
In the darkness around us it is easy to see the individual streams of hypocrisy trying to obscure the outright sin that is going on behind its veil. Never in our lifetimes nor in the history of this nation has sin been so openly accepted, encouraged and even applauded.  Babies are sacrificed to the God of planned parenthood, children are groomed for the God of homosexuality, families are being shattered by the god of feminism and many churches are being infiltrated by the god of this world. People, its dark out there.

Yet, in the midst of such great sin, we are told to god and be a light for Jesus. Just as God one day will say to Israel, “Arise, Shine!” We have already received that command from our Lord. Jesus has already sent us forth to be light in this dark world.

Unlike Israel, we are not waiting for a returning Savior, He is already with us. His light has already been given to us. God’s glory, that same glory that led Israel in the wilderness, and filled the Temple, has already come upon the church on the day of Pentecost.

Acts 2:1-4 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost.

We have seen the light of Jesus Christ, we have been baptized in the glory of God through the Holy Spirit and now in the midst of this present darkness we rise and stand as beacons of light, like lighthouses along a dark and stormy shore we light the way to safety and hope in Jesus Christ.

Illustration: Cutting Holes in the Darkness


At age twelve, Robert Louis Stevenson was looking out into the dark from his upstairs window watching a man light the streetlamps. Stevenson's governess came into the room and asked what he was doing. He replied, "I am watching a man cut holes in the darkness." This is our task, this is our calling to cut holes in the darkness with the glorious light of God.  -James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) pp. 178-179

In verse 2 the God tells Israel that in the Millenium they will be those lighthouses for him.

Covered in Dark Isaiah 60:2


For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.

God’s Promise


The people they would be a great light in great darkness
In Isaiah’s prophecy God paints a picture of strong contrasts.

A world and a people in great darkness.
The darkness upon the heart of the people even blacker than the darkness upon the world. God says it will be gross darkness.

The Hebrew word means gloom, like the darkness that comes not only from the night but also from a night is which the sky is filled with threatening clouds. A darkness in which even the moon and stars can’t be seen.
Then in the midst of this impenetrable blackness, God says, “But the Lord shall arise upon thee and his glory shall be seen in thee.”

Let me give you a review and a preview of our Revelation series. When Jesus the King of the Jews returns for his nation, it will be, just as is prophecied here, a black and seemingly hopeless night.

The Bible tells us that the stars will go out, the sun not shine through and the moon will be seen as though it is has been turned to blood.

Jerusalem will be at war with the world and at the very brink of defeat. Taking their last stand in the City of Zion.

Then at that moment, at the split second when it seems too dark to survive, a shout will be heard, “Look in the east, there is a light.”  And all the participaants in this battle from the Jews to the army of the Anti-Christ will look to the eastern sky and there they will see the light of Jesus, ripping through the darkness. He come like lightning, the Bible says and with Him all the host of heaven’s armies. He comes to claim victory, to save his people from utter destruction.

Then Israel shall arise and shine and God’s glory seen in her.

Listen to what happens next as its recorded by Zechariah 12:4-6, 8-9 In that day, saith the LORD,I will smite every horse with astonishment, and his rider with madness: and I will open mine eyes upon the house of Judah, and will smite every horse of the people with blindness. And the governors of Judah shall say in their heart, The inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be my strength in the LORD of hosts their God. In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left:

Vs. 8 In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the LORD before them. And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.

God’s Power - The darker the night, the brighter our light.


Isn’t it always this way with God? Doesn’t he always wait until we have spent our own strength and all we have left is hope in Him?

It should not break us, or cause is to faint or fall away when we see the world around us getting darker with each passing day. Yes, the darkness of men’s souls is so dark at times it seems as though there is no hope.
But it is at those deep dark times that God acts and the hope of the gospel and the promise of His Word shine the brightest. We need to realize that the darker the night the brighter is our light.  The harder our path, the greater will be our joy when we reach our destination.  The more hopeless our situation, the sweeter will be the victory in Jesus.

When you think its time to give up on this world, this country or those family and friends around you who seem too lost in the dark to ever find their way out, just remember you, child of God, you shine brightest to them in their darkest hour. No, it is not a time to be discouraged. It’s not a time to shrink back due to more bad news, or bigger disappointment. Oh no, that’s the time to Arise and Shine, for never has there been darker nights but we are even brighter lights through Jesus Christ.

Illustration. Christmas at Ravensbruk

   It was Christmas, 1944. Betsie had died. I was in a hospital barracks in Ravensbruck. Dark it was in my heart, and darkness was around me.

   There were Christmas trees in the street between the barracks. Why, I don't know. They were the saddest Christmas trees I ever saw in my life. I am sure it was with the purpose of blaspheming that they had thrown dead bodies of prisoners under the Christmas trees.

   I tried to talk to the people around me about Christmas, but they mocked, ridiculed, and sneered at whatever I said. At last I was quiet. It was in the middle of the night that I suddenly heard a child crying and calling, "Mommy! Come to Oelie, Oelie feels so alone." I went to her and saw a child not so young, but feebleminded.

   "Oelie, Mommy cannot come, but do you know who is willing to come to you? That is Jesus."

   The girl was lying on a bed next to the window, not far from my bed. Although Oelie was completely emaciated from lack of food, she had a sweet face, beautiful eyes, and wavy hair. It was so touching to hear her call for her mother. Oelie had been operated on and the incision on her back was covered by a bandage of toilet paper.

   That night I told this poor child about Jesus. How He came into the world as a little baby -- how He came to save us from our sins.

   "The Lord Jesus loves Oelie and has borne her punishment on the cross. Now Oelie may go to heaven, and Jesus is there right now. He is getting a little house ready for Oelie." Later I asked her what she remembered of what I had told her.

   "What is the little house like?" I asked.

   "It is very beautiful. There are no wicked people as in Ravensbruck -- only good people and angels. And Oelie will see Jesus there."

   Then Oelie folded her hands; together we gave thanks.
   Then I knew why I had to spend this Christmas in Ravensbruck -- 1944. Corrie's Christmas Memories

Coming of Kings - Isaiah 60:3

And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.

Jesus In Jerusalem Brings The World


The Lord promises the result of arising and shining.
Isaiah tells his nation the result of God’s shining and their arising. The Gentiles and Kings of the Earth would come to their light.

This nation, despised, invaded, attacked, and driven almost to destruction now becomes the nation where all the world comes. The Bible tells us that during the Millennium, the 1000 year reign of the Messiah upon the earth, all the world will flock to Jerusalem, all the great leaders of the world will make pilgrimages there.
Why would they do this? Because Jesus will rule and reign on the throne of David and all the world will come to see the true, everlasting, “light of the world.” They will come to hear Him, teach the words of life. They will come to feel His healing touch upon their broken lives and bodies. They will come to experience the deepest, truest love they will ever know. They will come to the Son of God and there will no longer be any doubt of who He is or what He can do.

Jesus In the Church Brings The Lost

That same reality, that will bring the nations to Jerusalem during the Millenium, can also bring people the light of Christ today. It can and it will, if it can be seen in us, our families and our church that Jesus rules and reigns on the throne of our heart today, just as He will reign one day on the Throne of David.

We must show the light and truth of Jesus in us and then people will see that light through us. Isn’t this what Jesus said, in Matthew 5:14-16 “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.  Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

We must not hide our light, we must be that city set on a hill, we must arise and shine!

Don’t be like the timid Christian who prayed every morning: "Lord, if you want me to witness to someone today, please give me a sign." One day he found himself on a bus when a big, burly, intimidating man sat down right next to him even though the bus was nearly empty.
 
The cowed Christian anxiously waited for his stop so he could exit the bus.  But before he got there, the big guy next to him, burst into tears and began to weep.  He then cried out with a loud voice, "I need to be saved.  I'm a lost sinner and I need the Lord.  Won't somebody tell me how to be saved?" He turned to the Christian and pleaded, "Can you show me how to be saved?" Our hero immediately bowed his head and prayed, "Lord, I need to ask you, is this a sign?

It’s not hard, all you have to do is Stand up and Shine Out.

If you’re a child of God then the light is already in you. You’ve just got to get out from under whatever bushel is covering you up and let your light shine.

Illustration: Luigi Tarisio and 246 violins

Luigi Tarisio was found dead one morning with scarce a comfort in his home, but with 246 exquisite violins, which he had been collecting all his life, crammed into an attic, and the drawers of an old rickety bureau. He loved the violin but by collecting them in his attic, instead of letting others play them, he had robbed the world of all that music. Others, that he bought violins from had done the same. After his collection was discovered and gone through, they found a priceless Stradivarius. It was presented at a concert for the world to hear it music for the first time in over 147 years.
Don’t be like that misguided man. Your light is not meant to be hoarded or hidden. It is meant to be seen. Let is shine. -James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988), p. 492

Conclusion: “Let the Lower Lights be Burning”


The song, “Let the Lower Be burning” Was written by Phillip P. Bliss. At DL Moody’s urging Bliss became a singing evangelist so in 1874, Bliss and his young wife Lucy, began full time evangelism, “winning souls” for Christ.

Bliss wrote Hold the Fort, Almost Persuaded; Hallelujah, What a Saviour!; Let the Lower Lights Be Burning; and Wonderful Words of Life. He wrote the tune for It Is Well With My Soul. It seemed he had a great future before him, but on December 29, 1876, Philip and Lucy were traveling through Ashtabula, Ohio to an evangelistic meeting at Moody’s church in Chicago. While the train was crossing a bridge it which collapsed. All seven cars fell into the ravine. Phillip somehow survived the fall, but could not find Lucy, the carriages had caught fire but Bliss ran toward them to try to free his wife. They yelled at him to stop, it was too dangerous, but he said, “If I cannot save her, I will perish with her.” He would not let her die alone. That same love and devotion to lost souls is reflected in all his songs and this one is a fitting way to end this sermon.

Brightly beams our Father’s mercy from His lighthouse evermore,
But to us He gives the keeping of the lights along the shore.
Let the lower lights be burning! Send a gleam across the wave!
For to us He gives the keeping of the lights along the shore.

Chorus: Let the lower lights be burning!
Send a gleam across the wave!
Some poor fainting, struggling seaman
You may rescue, you may save.
Dark the night of sin has settled, loud the angry billows roar;
Eager eyes are watching, longing, for the lights, along the shore.
Let the lower lights be burning! Send a gleam across the wave!
Eager eyes are watching, longing, for the lights, along the shore.
Trim your feeble lamp, my brother, some poor sailor tempest tossed,
Trying now to make the harbor, in the darkness may be lost.
Let the lower lights be burning! Send a gleam across the wave!
Trying now to make the harbor, some poor sailor may be lost.


Monday, August 23, 2021

The Epistle of Jesus #13: God’s Wrath Outpoured - Revelation 16

 The Epistle of Jesus #13: God’s Wrath Outpoured - Rev 16  

Power Point Link 

Video Link
Document Link

Introduction:  The bowl judgements are directed at the beast, his seat, and those who worship him. The judgements are severe, the worst up till now. Some wonder why God world be so severe so merciless? The world looks at this passage of the judgment of God in the book of Revelation and the Exodus or in the prophecies from Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah and the other OT books, they look at these and ask how can you believe in such a cruel, bloodthirsty God?

There are denominations that have bypassed all those passages or any passages that talk of hell and judgment. Instead, they only speak of God’s love, forgiveness, mercy and grace. Of course, they fail to see that forgiveness, mercy and grace are only needed, only possible in fact, if judgment and hell are part of who God is. There is no need of mercy if God does not punish sin.  

So they create a god in their own imagination, a god who has little power, little holiness and little sense. C S Lewis once said, “What would really satisfy us would be a God who said of anything we happened to like doing, ’What does it matter so long as they are contented?’ We want, in fact, not so much a Father in Heaven as a grandfather in heaven—a senile benevolence who, as they say, ’liked to see young people enjoying themselves’ and whose plan for the universe was simply that it might be truly said at the end of each day, ’a good time was had by all’.

But throughout the Bible we see a much different God that what the world wants. Psalms 76:7-9 Thou, even thou, art to be feared: and who may stand in thy sight when once thou art angry?  Thou didst cause judgment to be heard from heaven; the earth feared, and was still,
When God arose to judgment, to save all the meek of the earth.

God is Holy. God is righteous and God will judge sin. Revelation is the book that reveal that judgment upon the earth and Revelation 16 is the final series of judgments that brings it all to a conclusion. After the bowl judgments we will hear a great voice from heaven calling out. “It is done.”

We are going to read about some horrific, terrible things this morning all which fall according to the plan of God as John the apostle saw it happening about 2000 years ago. As you read this I want us to remember that yes God in His holiness is a wrathful, vengeful God, but also in that holiness that hates sin is a love that offers mercy to the those caught in sin’s web. Holiness is the reason sin is judged but it is also the reason pardon is offered. We can see this throughout the Bible and especially in the book of Revelation. Judgment is coming but before judgment is unleashed God sends warning after warning. But man in his arrogance does not care about God’s warnings. Man in his arrogance and complacency often ignore warnings of every kind.

Catastrophes often follow ignored warnings.

The Eruption Of Mount Vesuvius that buried the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum.

We have all heard about the eruption of Mount Vesuvius on August 24, AD 79, it killed a thousands of people and buried the ancient Roman city of Pompeii. Yet most if not all of the citizens could have escaped if they had just heeded the warnings. In the past two other cities had already been wiped out by the volcano, but they did not heed history. Before the the day of the eruption, Pompeii experienced series of tremors and earthquakes, caused by an increase pressure of the lava below Mount Vesuvius.  
The mountain, which had been quiet and dormant, began to make groaning sounds, and the sea around the Bay of Naples became so hot that it boiled and produced bubbles. Animals, including rats, left the town in droves, while wells and streams, especially those close to the mountain, mysteriously dried up. The people of Pompeii ignored these obvious warnings and they died.

You might think, well that was ancient Rome, today we would be more aware, but we are not. Most of us can remember the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami. More than 230,000 people were killed, 500,000 were injured, and 1.7 million were left homeless on December 26, 2004, after 9.2-magnitude earthquake caused a tsunami that affected 14 countries in Asia and eastern and southern Africa. The deadliest natural disasters in recorded human history.

Seven years before the earthquake and tsunami, a top government official in Thailand warned that the country would soon be hit by a tsunami. His calls were ignored, and he was termed “crazy.” He was also banned from entering some parts of Thailand, where he was considered a threat to tourism.

The Pacific Ocean Tsunami Warning System also called the embassies and government officials of several Asian countries after the 9.2 underwater earthquake and warned them that they were at risk of a tsunami. Most countries ignored the warning, and even those that listened didn’t take any tangible action. Many countries still ignored the threat when it hit their outlying coasts and even refused to warn people living in the inlying coasts. In Indonesia, the sea receded several hundred meters after the earthquake, a clear warning of an incoming tsunami, but no one had told the people, and many ran into the retreated ocean to catch stranded fish, only to  look up as a wall of water moving as fast as a speeding train rose over them and it was too late.

There were warnings about the impending bombing Of Pearl Harbor, even sitting on the President’s desk, but they were ignored. There were many warnings from many sources about Iraq’s Invasion Of Kuwait, or the danger of the Challenger shuttle launching in cold weather and so many more. Warnings that were ignored and hundreds of thousands suffered.

The Warnings of Revelation

God Warns the World


We see it all over again on a even more unbelievable scale in the book of Revelation. The entire book is one, long, impossible to ignore warning that Jesus is coming back and God will judge the sins of earth, especially exacting vengeance upon those who have persecuted His people. 


Just a few Sundays ago we read in Revelation 14:6-12 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. … And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.

The boundary finally reached. What we see finally happening in Revelation 16 is that God has reached the limit, not of his mercy, but of his plan for mankind. What we see is a boundary that has finally been reached.

Job 38:8-11 Or who shut up the sea with doors,
when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb?
When I made the cloud the garment thereof,
and thick darkness a swaddlingband for it,
And brake up for it my decreed place,
and set bars and doors,
And said, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further:
and here shall thy proud waves be stayed?
What God did to the sea, He as done to all things in creation, he has set a boundary. He has also set a boundary to the rebellion, sinfulness and power of man. That boundary, that limit is reached in Revelation 16 and after this there are no more offers of mercy, no more cries for repentance. Those are past and only judgement on the earth and eternal punishment lie beyond.

The last seven plagues are the outpouring of God’s wrath directly upon the beast and his worshippers. God has taken the last of his people home with the harvest home reaping of chapter 15 and now there is only the reaping of the grapes of wrath.

Last Preparations

Chapter 14 and 15 were the final preparations for the final act of God’s judgment against mankind upon the earth. He has brought home the 2 witnesses, the 144,000 and the vast majority of all the believers upon the earth. He has sent forth one last messenger, the angel of chapter 14, who would be heard all around the world,  proclaiming the everlasting Gospel for the last time.

Now He has called forth his angels of wrath from within the Temple and they are sent to the earth and specifically to the kingdom of the Beast.

The 7 Bowl Judgments

The Last Judgments of God’s Wrath Outpoured


Revelation 16:1 And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.  

1st Bowl Grievous Sores

Revelation 16:2 And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.

The word vial in the Greek is φιάλη/ phialē, which is a small shallow cup or bowl.

There are many parallels with this last series of judgments and the plagues that God unleashed upon Egypt in the book of Exodus. Just as God targeted the kingdom of Pharaoh, He now targets the kingdom of the antichrist. In Exodus, each plague was an attack on the pagan gods of Egypt, from their river the Nile, to their sun god Ra, to the bull they worshipped as their god of fertility.

Now the plagues, the bowls are targeted at the beast, his kingdom, his city and his mark. Once again God shows that only He is God and all others must answer to Him. The great dragon, the terrible beast, the false prophet are powerless to stop the judgment of The only true, Almighty, Holy righteous God of heaven and earth. 


The Greek word for grievous sore is helkos, the word that our word ulcer comes from. It is a loathsome, foul, incurable, running sore. And notice it is specifically poured upon those who have the mark of the beast and who worship Him. Suddenly, they realize that their all powerful leader can’t do a thing to help them. Just as Pharaoh was helpless before the God of Moses, the antichrist is helpless before the God of Revelation.

2nd  Bowl: Sea Turned to Blood 

Revelation 16:3 And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea.

3rd Bowl: Water to Blood

Revelation 16:4-7 And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood. And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.

And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.
 

These two vials are poured out upon the waters of the earth. The second angel turns the sea to blood, and the third angel turns the fresh water, fountains, springs and rivers to blood. Very much like the first plague of Egypt in Exodus 7:18.  This is also an amplification of the plague of the second trumpet back in Revelation 8:8. The trumpet judgment  only turned a third of the sea into blood; here the entire water system of the world is turned to undrinkable blood.

This angel of the waters the praises God for this terrible judgment, not because it is so harsh but because it is just. Revelation 16:5-6 Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.

The people of the earth, under the power, authority and influence of Satan have shed the blood of the saints, and now they are left with only blood to drink. Pharaoh had drowned the Hebrew males, and then his army was drowned in the Red Sea. Haman, in the book of Ester planned to kill the Jewish throughout Persia and he built a gallows to hang Mordecai on but instead it was Haman and his lineage that were hanged.

Answered Prayer


This final series of judgments are the answer to the prayers of the saints from chapter 6 on. It is the answer to prayer of the persecuted saints, the people of God, the beloved of God, throughout the ages. Untold millions of Jews have died at the hand of Satan’s warlords and kings. Untold millions of Christians have been massacred, burnt at the stake, and tortured by nations, kings, pagan tribes and even by a those who dared to call them selves The Church of God, but truly were the universal church of Satan.

Revelation 6:9-11 is the prayer that summarizes and distills all the prayers of all those who have suffered as God’s people. “And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.” This is that fulfillment, it is finally, finally here. After all the tears, all the pain, all the loss, all the persecution, God has said, “This is the boundary and the prayers of my people are answered now.

No, God is not cruel. God is just. God is righteous. God is holy and yes even as we read these terrible things we still can say, God is merciful. For He has been sending warning after warning, not just during the tribulation but throughout history. The prophets, the church, the nation of Israel, the Bible. God in his mercy is telling man to repent, warning man what is coming, but mankind is unwilling to accept their sin and therefore he also will not recognize his need for mercy.

4th Bowl: Scorching Of the Sun 

Revelation 16:8-11 And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory. And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.

The judgments of the fourth and fifth angels as they pour out God’s wrath touch the sky, the heavens. The 2nd and 3rd plagues were upon the water and now the plagues are poured out even on the heavens themselves. The fourth angel’s bowl causes the sun to scorch men. God turns up the power of the sun. It may mean that the buffering layer of the ozone or the magnetic belts has been damaged by the strikes from the comet and the asteroid, or it just may be the power of God over the sun and He just sends a sun storm so powerful it sweeps through the solar system and burns everyone exposed to it.

Malachi 4:1 seems to describe this day, “For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.

5th Bowl: Darkness In The Kingdom of the Beast 

Revelation 16:10-11 And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.
 

The fifth angel’s outpoured bowl of wrath brings not brightness but darkness. It is poured upon the seat of the beast, again much like the 9th plague in Egypt the plague of darkness. This darkness is so terrible, so overwhelming that it seems to drive those in the Beast’s kingdom, his seat of power mad. Vs. 10 says, “they gnawed their tongues for pain.”

Joel 2:1-2 describes the darkness of God’s judgment, “Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand;  A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness,

The 6th Bowl: Gathering of the Armies 

Revelation 16:12-16 And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared. And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.

In Exodus, God delivered Israel from Egypt by drying the Red Sea, here God dries up the Euphrates river to not to save his people, but to set a final trap for the armies of the kings of the east, who come to aid the anti-Christ in his attack on Jerusalem, but instead the they are gathered together, by the demons that look like vile frogs. These demon bring all these armies under the complete control of Satan and the Beast. They then are gathered to Armageddon. Armageddon literally means the hill of Megiddo and it is a description of the vast hundreds of square miles battlefield that begin at the foot of Mount Megiddo and run sall the way to Jerusalem.

Verse 15 is a promise to the saints on earth at that time. Jesus is telling them, “I am coming, don’t give up, don’t give in. I am coming!”

The 7th Bowl It is Done

Revelation 16:17-21 And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done. And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.

In Revelation 10:6–7
, God promised that “the mystery of God” would be finished when the seventh angel poured out his vial. This is the fulfillment of that prophecy.
God’s plan for the ages is finished.

The angel pours his vial into the air because Satan is “the prince of the power of the air.” Once again God shows it is He who has all power, not the great dragon.

When the seventh bowl is poured there is a voice from the throne, a voice that has been heard over and over since the first seal was opened. This great voice is the voice of God the creator as He marks the events that are taking place according to His sovereign will and plan for the ages. With this last bowl the term loud or great is heard. God is bringing His plan to completion, this is the climax of His judgment and only the return of Jesus the son, the Messiah awaits.

A great earthquake divides Jerusalem into three parts and a hail falls again like the the seventh plague of Exodus 9:22–26. These hailstones that weigh 125 pounds, weight of a talent of silver in John’s day. Everything in the path of this storm will be utterly driven into the ground. Like an inescapable carpet bombing upon the anti-Christ kingdom.

It is finished


That phrase “It is done!” has a precedent in the Bible and it also marked a great finish of God’s sovereign plan. 


John 19:28-30 After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
 

When Jesus died upon the cross he fulfilled God’s plan for man’s redemption. He paid the price with his own life’s blood. He offered His own soul for the ransom of man. On Mount Calvary He called out it is finished.
 

In Revelation 16 when God calls out “It is done” it marks the end of His plan, not for man’s redemption but for man’s judgment. Instead of Mount Calvary and the lamb of God giving his life, now we see Mount Megiddo and the Lion of the Tribe of Judah coming to take the life of Satan’s army, Satan’s false Christ and destroy Satan’s corrupted kingdom.

Two Mounts, one of mercy one of judgment. Two Christs one who gave his life for all mankind and a false on that brings mankind to their utter rebellious battle against their Creator.

Conclusion


Which Mount is the place where you will meet Jesus?
Have you looked up at Calvary and there seeing Jesus dying for you, have you called out for mercy? Have you repented? Have you accepted Jesus sacrifice on your behalf? If you have, if you will then God’s judgment is satisfied. God’s wrath is appeased.

But if you have not looked to Mount Calvary then you must instead look to the judgment that Mount Megiddo represents. You must understand that you are being manipulated, draw and deceived by the powers of Satan to a place that can only be a scene of destruction and eternal judgment.

Listen to God’s invitation in Isaiah 1:18-20 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD:
though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:
But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.

Can the choice be any clearer? One path leads to Calvary, the other leads to Meggiddo. Which path have you chosen today?