First off, I am in the middle of three days off, and it was much-needed.
I went and caught up with the guys for Monday morning “bible study”. I am putting it in quotes because there are more than enough days that I do not feel like it qualifies as a bible study. I arrived there about 07:35.
When I walked in they were already in some discussion about what I am not sure. One of the guys breaks away from that conversation and asked me about my weekend. We laughed and giggled about that for a minute, and then the last of the regulars shows up. We will call him Fred.
Fred, almost always shows up right at 08:00. This will become important in a minute.
Fred has told us, several times, that he feels this is the only place he can go where he actually walks away with something he can use, most of the time.
Fred asks Bob, the so-called leader what they were looking at today. So Bob answers with, “I am still hung up on the wording in Revelation 22:2 and the usage of the word ‘were’ but someone has pointed out to me that the right wording used is are, changing the tense, but really I am not sure, and would really like to talk about this some more.”
Mind you this conversation started, and should have ended two weeks ago. Trust me on this, I am not being short-tempered. We have two very knowledgeable people always in attendance here. One is Greek, Greece is his native land and our resident go to guy on original meanings. The other is seminary trained, with over 40 years of study in Greek. Their conclusion two weeks ago. The word is are, and is present tense.
That is so like God. Compare this idea of present tense with the wording found in Ephesians
Ephesians 2:13 KJV But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
It does not matter when you read it, it is always now.
When this subject came up two weeks ago, there was the secondary confusion that goes like this. “I also see the new Jerusalem coming down, but it is heaven, and if it is in heaven, then why do we need healing for the nations, and who are all these evil people who cannot go into the City of God, because of their sin.
I mentioned that the time factor would become important in a minute, so here goes. Fred arrives at 08:00, and Fred and Bob, go back and forth with this endless banter until 09:30 when two of the guys have had enough, get up, and leave.
I had little else to do or I might have left also. I stuck it out until 10:30 before I left.
Nothing got said, nothing got clarified, nothing got accomplished, and there was no room in Bob’s mind for change.
At one point I got up to throw away my trash, and noticed a man watching our table intently.
Personally, I think useless banter like this just turns people off to religion. I invited the man to come on over and throw his two cents in. He just left a few minutes later.
I went back to the table and held up my hand. Finally Fred stops and says, “what is that for?” I said, “I would like to throw in my two cents, for a couple of minutes.” And I did.
Only a week ago I had written a paper and handed it to Bob, specifically for the purpose of assisting him with clarification of these questions. He apparently rejected not only my help, but God’s word, because I based my paper upon God’s word.
I told the guys to write this down, but no one did, as I took them back momentarily to Revelation 20
Revelation 20:7-9 KJV And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, (8) And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. (9) And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.
What is my point here?
Satan has been released at this point, deceives the nations, and they come back to attack two things:
- the camp of God,
- and the City of God.
Is there any doubt in anyone’s mind when this takes place?
Revelation 20:1-3 KJV And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. (2) And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, (3) And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
Now jump forward.
21:1And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. Rev 21:2And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
All of sudden confusion again. Not really. We just read that after the 1000 years Satan has been released, deceives the nations, and they come against the City of God, and the camp of God. The City of God is here. Ezekiel saw it and described it with in similar terms to what John is now seeing.
If God is burning everything up, Earth included, then anything existing upon this earth is burnt. Not just burnt a little, but utterly destroyed.
Why? Because it is all tainted with sin. But wait a minute. We are talking about a New Jerusalem, one in which no sin can enter. I am jumping ahead, but follow with me.
Why wouldn’t the city be destroyed? It would. Therefore it is not, and that changes some perceptions, doesn’t it.
If this book of Revelation is chronological, and it is not, then we have Satan attacking a city that is not even here yet.
Another aspect of this mornings foolishness is the concept of this New Jerusalem not being here on earth. Let’s disrupt that one for a moment.
How would the nations, a physical people, still prone to make their own choices, and at this point under Satan’s influence because of his release, attack a spiritual city (some think it is spiritual analogy) they would not be able to even see?
Consider the logic of your questions if you’re asking this, and/or making rash statements about the concept of a physical heavens validity.
Heaven is a real place, as is the New Jerusalem, and no, there are not going to be two of them.
For the last argument against this mornings fallacy, I attempted to take them back to the origins of their problem, Revelation 22:2
Revelation 22:1-5 KJV And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. (2) In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was therethe tree of life, which bare twelve manner offruits, andyielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree werefor the healing of the nations. (3)And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: (4)And they shall see his face; and his name shall bein their foreheads. (5)And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.
So what is the chronological order here?
Bypassing the catch phrase “the Great Tribulation” we are going to call this what it is, the wrath of God being poured out on earth.
Who is this wrath being poured out on?
- Israel for their unbelief.
- The nations for their unbelief, and the act of fighting against God.
- And sadly, many who will not be caught up in the rapture.
What is happening here on earth during this time period?
Fire, smoke, stars falling from the heavens, waters being poisoned, the earth severely being shaken, hail stones, burning, and oh yeah, the Great Tribulation of the “Saints of God”. The saints of God only gain that title by refusing the mark, and refusing to worship the beast.
Will everyone be hit by this? It is entirely possible that the be-headings will be a middle eastern phenomenon, but based upon CIA statistics, there are 2,500,000 Muslims in the USA alone. That number is difficult to ascertain, because what little freedom we have left has precluded the CIA from being able to ask the religious affiliation as people enter this country legally. Of that 2,500,000 only 14% are considered to be full-blown radicals, willing to perform Jihad upon command. If I am right that is only 35,000 radicals in this country. Spread 35,000 over a nation like this, and God help us. There is a small problem with any of this. They are all under direct command by the Qur’an to do Jihad when necessary. That is why it is necessary for Islam to infiltrate our learning centers, our legislative system, our courts, and our law enforcement, and they are doing just that. Ouch! So, when you add this to perversion that country is allowing FEMA to construct prison of war camps in our own nation, the chances that great tribulation will happen here are very good.
When the period of wrath comes to an abrupt halt the 1000 year period begins.
Satan is bound during this time, the New Jerusalem comes down from heaven.
Saints rule and reign with Christ, and the nations have to come before God to honor him, regardless of how they believe.
Satan gets released for a short time at the end of 1000 years, deceives the nations, God wipes out the offenders, throws Satan into the lake of fire, and restores the most amazing peace on earth.
I happen to find Revelation 22 a beautiful and fascinating read. Why? One because it is the end of the story on earth as we know it, and it only gets better. It is not a time of fear, but of rejoicing, because our redemption draws near.
Paul’s gospels are gospels of hope for the believer, not wrath. We were not made for wrath, but salvation. The Jews that asked Jesus “when would these things be”, were not looking for, nor expecting a snatching away, but a militaristic messiah that would reign triumphantly, defeating their foes forever. He will, but even as he stood before them, clearly prophesied by Daniel and others, they rejected him, and put him to death. He will come, just as he said, to capture us away, and then again with justice to put things right.
James told us to ask for clarity and wisdom.
James 1:5 CJB Now if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all generously and without reproach; and it will be given to him.
We are not in the darkness that we should not know. Just ask.
A postscript to the morning.
I told you that I spoke to a man in the restaurant as I threw away my trash this AM. Well he got up within a few minutes and left. Several minutes had passed, and suddenly God places this man heavily upon my heart.
God spoke to me and said, “If you will rend the heavens on his behalf, then I will move upon his life at your request.” I said yes sir, and started praying.
This went on for several minutes; me praying in the spirit for this man, claiming his life for God, and doing also what God told me to do, putting my hand on the back of my Greek friend as I prayed.
I composed myself and went back to trying to find a clear-cut answer to the futility that was being passed back and forth across the table. An hour and fifteen minutes of nothing. This is madness, and demonic.
Two of the guys are now gone, and suddenly God has drawn my attention to a young man, sitting at an extra seat across the room, but clearly within earshot. He has his eyes closed and God speaks to me, about him, in the same way. I turned to the one I called Fred. Totally interrupting their useless banter and said,
“God has not called us to confusion, but to bring life. I have, at God’s direction prayed for the man who showed an interest, and he is mine. God is calling for his prophets and the time is now. He is calling us forth to bring life and healing to the broken, not this foolishness. God has spoken to me about that young man sitting over there with his eyes shut, pretending that he does not hear, and told me to rend the heavens on his behalf, claiming his life for the kingdom, and I have, he is mine. This is what we have been called to do.”
Fred is just staring at me. He says, you sound angry. I responded with, “I am not, but I am intense.” You want to know what a prophet is like? You just saw it. Declare those things that be not as though they were. The testimony of Jesus Christ is the spirit of prophecy, therefore testify of Jesus.
I got up and left.
Some time later dad gets home from his morning bible study and tells me that he tried to get the men there to ponder Genesis 1:26
Genesis 1:26 KJV And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
Dad was focused upon the aspect that this plural personal pronoun our implies that God is talking to someone else, but even more important is fact that the “them” have dominion.
Add this to the statement that Jesus made “all power has been given unto me, therefore you go.” implying they were to move out in the usage of that power.
That power transfer was not temporary, and still viable today.
If that is the case why are we not walking in that power?
You don’t believe that do you?
What happens when the Holy Spirit comes?
Acts 1:8 KJVBut ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
I pointed out to dad what I said and did this morning.
Power is the ability to produce change.
God asked me to step into the lives of two men this morning, and whether they know it, or not change will come.
Act out in the spirit of the Lord and you will know power, his power.