Posted in judgment, revelation

God’s Four Sore Judgments #4: Beasts

By Elizabeth Prata

Introduction
#1: Sword
#2: Plague

#3 Famine
#4: Beasts

The other day I introduced a series examining the LORD’S “Four Sore Judgments.” (Links just above). In other translations they are called the “LORD’S Four Severe Judgments.” They’re mentioned in Ezekiel 14:21: “For thus says the Lord God: How much more when I send upon Jerusalem my four disastrous acts of judgment, sword, famine, wild beasts, and pestilence, to cut off from it man and beast!

The four are Sword, Famine, Pestilence, and Beasts. Wesley's notes says, "How much more - If they could not be able to keep off one of the four, how much less would they be able to keep off all four, when I commission them all to go at once."

It is a very dread situation when all four are unleashed. If you read Revelation 6, you will see that the four are unleashed all at once, or in very rapid succession. Jesus called it the worst time on earth there ever has been or ever will be. (Matthew 24:21; also Revelation 6).

We looked at the correlation between Sword (war), famine, and disease. Now we will take a look at the biblical judgment of Beasts.

Vision of Death, Gustave Dore, 1865. Public domain

When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.(Revelation 6:7-8)

The Greek word for “beasts” is just that, the generic term always used for ‘wild animal.’ I’ve written about Death by Beasts before, here.

While we have always had war, famines, and epidemic diseases, death by beasts is more unusual. Let’s look at man’s relationship to beasts since the beginning, through the flood, and afterwards up through the Tribulation and ending at the Millennium.

When Adam was created, one of the jobs God gave him to do is name all the beasts of the earth. (Genesis 2:19-20). At that time before the Fall of Man in the Garden of Eden, the beasts were friendly and herbivorous. (Genesis 1:29-30). Man was still sovereign over them, but it was not a bloody relationship.

After the fall, the first death was actually an animal, since God gave Adam and Eve animal skins to wear. (Genesis 3:21). Animals also became meat for humans. (Genesis 7:2, Genesis 10:9). The Flood came. After the flood waters receded, the relationship between man and beasts changed once again. God put the fear and dread of man into them. (Genesis 9:2).

In the Millennium kingdom, He will reverse that curse and all will be reverted back to the original state of peaceful co-existence. Children can put their hand into a snake’s hole and not be bitten. The wolf will lay down with lamb, and the lion shall be tame. (Isaiah 11:6-9).

Elisha and the boys in Bethel,
Matthaeus Merian the Elder, 1625

But before that, between the receded Flood waters and the peace of the Millennium, it seems that there will come another change of the relationship between man and beast, though this once is more implied rather than stated. It will occur in the Tribulation.

It seems that in the Tribulation, the Lord will (perhaps) have removed the fear and dread of man from the wild animals. I can’t point to a specific scripture that tells this explicitly, but implicitly I gather than the progression of man’s relationship with beasts changes from a contentious one as it is now, but with their fear removed. If a quarter of the world dies by the aforementioned plagues and one of them is beasts, it seems that there will be a lot of hunting going on- and not just man upon beast, but beast upon man.

Today, if a beast does become a “man-killer” it has to be killed. God said in Genesis 9:5 that from the man-killing beasts he will require capital punishment. In Exodus 21:28 we read that if an ox gores a man the animal is to be killed and its flesh not eaten. But if the animal is previously in the habit of goring and the owner is warned, and the animals kills a man or woman, then the animal AND the owner are to be killed. (Exodus 21:29)

Did you ever wonder why the animals that could do us the most harm don’t simply hunt us down and eat us, like, all the time? But they don’t. When I was in Big Bend National Park in SW Texas, hiking in the Chisos Mountains, Rangers told us if we come upon a mountain lion to stand tall, and throw stones at it. The lion would leave us alone. LOL, I’m glad we never had to test that, but the idea is that the lion would see you as a bigger threat and leave.

Even today if a wild animal kills a man, the Rangers, or zookeepers, or whoever, usually kills that animal. In most cases the Ranger is not responding explicitly to God’s instructions laid down in Exodus 21, but they instinctively are. If an animals kills a person, it means they have lost the fear and dread and is all the more dangerous to humans.

In the Chisos Mountains in Big Bend a few years ago, the Austin newspaper reported, there had been a mountain lion attack. The people chased it off by throwing a backpack at it. However, the report made this particular family who camped there the day after the attack hyper-aware. They decided to stay in the lodge instead of the tent, and when they went to the restaurant for dinner from the lodge room, they held their child’s hand, one parent on either side. They walked on the lit walkway between the two populated buildings. However, the lion attacked the boy anyway, dragging him away from his parents to a nearby bush. The parents then attacked the lion! The boy is chewed up some, but he is OK. Rangers said it was highly unusual for a mountain lion to attack on the pavement between populated buildings. If the animal was caught, they said, it would be killed.

War brings famine to animals, too. Their natural habitats are disrupted, and food gets hard to find. The stress often leaves them no choice but to start looking at humans as food, and attacks increase. That would seem to be a normal outcome of the other sore judgment: famine.

John MacArthur preached on the Revelation 6:7-8 verse here. He preached in part-

"...The most deadly creature on the face of the earth? Not a snake, not a lion, not an alligator. A rat. Historically the deadliest creature on the face of the earth. Why? Rats are annually responsible for the loss of billions of dollars of food in America alone and death all over the world. Rats infested with Bubonic Plague killed one third of the population of Europe in the fourteenth century, that's Encyclopedia Americana's own figure. Rats can carry as many as thirty-five diseases at once and amazingly if ninety-five percent of the rat population is exterminated in the given area, it will replace itself in less than a year. It has killed more people than all the wars of history and it always makes its home where men dwell."

Death by rats is certainly a likely possibility. More than likely, given the history cited above which bears this out.

You can imagine the rats bringing a killing disease after the catastrophic events of Revelation 6 that are prophesied to occur before the Fourth Seal is opened. So, death by beasts could be concerning the plagues that rats bring.

But I think it is more that that. Yes, each plague/seal/judgment is bad enough, but how bad will it be when all four are unleashed at once? Terrible! Fortunately in His mercy, He made a way for His beloved sheep to escape all these things. SALVATION in the Church Age, AKA Age of Grace. Judgments in the Tribulation will be delivered “to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity…” as Daniel hears in his vision in chapter 9, verse 24. He learns why the LORD will send the Tribulation judgments: to finish allowing sin to complete itself.

We are sinners, whose rightful place is hell after death, to be punished for our sin-crimes against God. If we ask the Lord to forgive those sins before our death, understanding Him as Lord and Savior, who came to earth to live the sinless life so He could be the perfect atonement, slain for our iniquities, and was accepted by God of that sacrifice and brought out of death to eternal life, then we will not be in the Tribulation when the whole earth will be judged for their sins. Our sins will have been pardoned, so He will sweep us up to heaven in our glorified bodies and allow us to be in His presence forever!!!

Do not put off your repentance. Intending to repent still means you are still as much an enemy of God as the fist-shaking atheist. Alternately, believe this:

How much better will it be when He calls His sheep home to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb in perfect New Jerusalem by the living waters and the street of gold?!! Don’t you want to be there, your sins pardoned and forgotten? Putting off repenting means you choose the Four Sore Judgments. How? If you are not for Him, you are against Him. (Matthew 12:30). Personally, I have found a multitude of peace and blessings in living FOR Him. I hope you will think about it. But not for too long… OK?

Posted in famine, revelation

God’s Four Sore Judgments: #3- Famine

By Elizabeth Prata

God’s Four Sore Judgments:

Introduction
#1: Sword
#2: Plague

#3: Famine
#4: Beasts

This week I introduced a series examining the LORD’S “Four Sore Judgments.” In other translations they are called the “LORD’S Four Severe Judgments.” They’re mentioned in Ezekiel 14:21: “For thus says the Lord God: How much more when I send upon Jerusalem my four disastrous acts of judgment, sword, famine, wild beasts, and pestilence, to cut off from it man and beast!

The four are Sword, Famine, Pestilence, and Beasts. Wesley's notes says, "How much more - If they could not be able to keep off one of the four, how much less would they be able to keep off all four, when I commission them all to go at once."

It is a very dread situation when all four are unleashed. If you read Revelation 6, you will see that the four are unleashed all at once, or in very rapid succession. Jesus called it the worst time on earth there ever has been or ever will be. (Matthew 24:21)

Knowing that eternal judgment awaits the unconverted, and knowing how we were once under threat of eternal judgment in hell, we should look at God’s judgments on the earth and feel compassion and eagerness to witness to those in danger as we once were of being lost forever.

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,” (Titus 2:11-13).

This bundle of four sore judgments are certainly not the only type of judgment God renders in wrath on an unbelieving person or society.

God judges and in so doing He has different judgments He dispenses. There is the Wrath of Abandonment. This is described in Romans 1:18-32 where, after persistent rejection of Him by individuals or a whole society, He leaves that person or nation to its sin. He did this with Pharaoh. He did this with Israel.

There is Cataclysmic Wrath. This is where God causes or allows natural disasters to happen, like tsunamis or earthquakes.

There is Consequential Wrath. Consequential wrath is the sowing and reaping wrath. If a person lives a certain kind of life he or she sets in motion certain forces that will produce judgment on them for that lifestyle or life choices.

There is Eternal Wrath. Even the Gentile knows about this, it’s hell, or more biblically, eternal punishment in the Lake of Fire for unforgiven sins.

And, there is Eschatological Wrath, the kind of wrath Jesus pours out in the Day of the Lord. This is Revelation 6-18.

Let’s look at the next of God’s four sore judgments, Famine.

Famine is increasingly a part of the world’s vocabulary. Famine takes a long time to set up. It is a problem with complex and varied origins, relating to poverty, agriculture, weather, wars, and more. Drought most often is the last symptom to appear before famine strikes hard and deep. War also is a catalyst for famine.

See Lamentations 5:9, which speaks of the sword and then the difficulty of getting bread:

“We get our bread at the risk of our lives because of the sword in the desert.’

Famine does not happen overnight. Drought starts it. Lack of water from above and below continues it. War exacerbates it. Unemployment pressures it.

Famine is a terrible judgment. Watching someone die of lack of sustenance is a woe that sears the heart unbelievably. It also brings out the worst in humanity, that is, cannibalism. (Deuteronomy 28:53; 2 Kings 6:28).

God deliberately brought about famine in Genesis 41, even forewarning Pharaoh. Why would God do that? Aside from the fact that He is sovereign and can and does do anything in His creation He desires? Because He wanted to exalt Himself through Joseph and demonstrate His mercy in saving a people. He does deliver the righteous from famine. (Job 5:20; Psalms 33:19; 37:19).

God uses famine (and the other three judgments of sword, plague and beasts) to judge the unrepentant. Here in Leviticus 26:19-29 we see Him threaten His people with the sore judgments if they did not turn. In that set of verses, He actually threatens to bring famine 7X worse according to their sins. The purpose was to break their pride of power. Nothing reduces a proud people more than failure of crops, hunger, death by starvation. We are not in control of the skies, the rain, the growth of our crops. God is. He uses famine to demonstrate that when He deems such judgment necessary.

What we Christian believers can do is trust the Lord all the more. He is our Savior and Lord, the Shepherd who guards His sheep. We might struggle with earthly needs but He will provide those and so much more will He provide spiritual needs: comfort, faith, strength, discernment, clarity.

For the unsuspecting world, such upheavals are very trying. Immediately as these first four sore judgment seals are opened, a quarter of the world will die. (Revelation 6:8). It will be the largest death toll in history.

Prophecy is part of scripture so we study it, but as with any scripture, it should be put into action. We are called to be Ambassadors for His name–

“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20)

So our action is first to be sure we are in the faith, reconciled to Him. Then, be ambassadors, so He will make His appeal to the lost through us. Be strong and hardy, never quailing in public, instead, relying on His strength to be calm and loving, even when sin is rising so palpably. That means sin is rising in your co-workers, families, neighbors, too. Not just “out there.” Don’t fall into the trap of becoming angry. We are Ambassadors, remember.

Prophecy should give us a reminder of the times and an urgency to seek Jesus all the more so His light will be evident in us to others. And, be salt. The salt must be in the food. We have to stay in the world but not be OF the world. Don’t retreat, as much as we might want to. We are Christ’s seasoning in this lost world. Let’s flavor it with love and patience.

Next in the series examining the four sore judgments is “Beasts.”

I wrote more about famine itself, what it does to the body, and how quickly starvation sets in, and how scarcity flows into its heightening, below:

Looking at Famine

Tomorrow, Judgment by Beasts.

Photo by redcharlie on Unsplash
Posted in end of days. prophecy, end time, famine, forgiveness, love, revelation

Looking at famine

By Elizabeth Prata

I wrote about famine as a judgment from God recently. It is truly saddening to see these things happening because although I glory in His promises coming true it also means suffering and death for many. And death for the unsaved means an eternity away from God, in hell. In that essay I quoted a news article that said, “The striking images of the landscape seem to represent a deceptively simple assessment of the drought: the dirty work of Mother Nature.”

It is the LORD who sends the rain in preparation for the crops. (Psalms 147:8). It is the LORD who sends it to the obedient. (Leviticus 26:4). He appoints seasons in His own authority. (Acts 1:7). “Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.” (Acts 14:17) He sends the crops, the seasons and the weather for our benefit, to His glory. He can, and will reverse the process when we fail to thank Him and refuse to acknowledge His authority. That is the spiritual fact.

On a practical level, famine is both biological and social. It occurs to a person individually while it is also happening to all others around the sufferer. And unlike pestilence, where sick people are quarantined, privately sequestered, or are too insentient to socially connect, famine leaves the individual able to share in it with others.

When starvation becomes a mass experience, the phenomenon is no longer purely biological.” (Robert Dirks, Academia.edu).

Famine is sneaky because the population has no clue that this crop failure will lead to a continual shortage, or that this lack of monsoon rains will lead to a permanent drying-out. It is only after successive storms or failures or absence of expected weather that it become apparent that food will not be coming. By then malnourishment or early stages of starvation may have already set in.

The biological consequences of famine begin with scarcity, move to malnourishment, elevate to starvation, and finish with famine. Starvation happens when the energy demands of the biological unit exceed supply. Technically, starvation begins 4-6 hours after the last meal, when the body has broken down all that will be or is able to be used, and no new food is forthcoming. However since a person living in a healthy culture will then consume more within a reasonable time period after the last meal, the negative effects are not really felt.

After a day or so, though, dehydration, hypoglycemia, and ketosis begin. After 24 hours, there are impacts to the tissues as loss outpaces fat. As starvation continues, exhaustion sets in and there is decreased tolerance for work. People move more slowly and adopt an energy saving posture. “In mobilizing its reserves, the body progressively selects fat over muscle as fuel, allowing life to be sustained for one to three months in acute starvation.” (Dirks).

Things go rapidly downhill from there, with all sorts of nasty things happen to the individual’s biology. And that’s just starvation, not famine. But you can see, it happens quickly. Though drought and famine take a long time to set up, when it hits, the body, mind, and soul shrivel pretty quickly.

I wrote above that in the first few sentences mother nature was blamed, and in addition, war also precipitates famine. War does have a devastating connection with famine. In Revelation 6, first there is war, then there is scarcity, then there is death. Those are Seal Judgments two, three, and four. In history, famine has almost always followed war. As the Red Cross says in discussing humanitarian aid, “the fact must be faced that food aid alone will never eliminate famines nor the suffering they cause. It still falls short of meeting the victims’ needs and appears essentially inadequate to solve their problems.” That’s because there are complex reasons for it that also include war, conflict, and strife.

Famine is destructive to those societies where malnourishment is always present, and soon after initial starvation sets in, financial ruin and disease take over. For some societies, they may at first adapt to conditions that in many cases don’t affect them. There is such a thing as “class famine.” We see in Revelation 6:6 that millions starve, unable to afford more than a loaf of bread even though they worked all day, while in Revelation 18:13 we see that all the while, a hefty trade in food luxuries had been ongoing. (“and cinnamon and incense, fragrant oil and frankincense, wine and oil, fine flour and wheat, cattle and sheep…”) There are the very rich and the very poor, and you can bet the very rich will not be affected by famine. The Tribulation’s predicted scarcities will be characterized by class famine.

When famine conditions deepen, the ‘Law of Diversification and Polarization’ comes into play. As Dirks quoted Sorokin, “simply put, this means that catastrophe brings out the best and the worst in people. It exaggerates what is already there.”

Sociological studies show that at first, people share when disaster strikes. As the disaster continues, and/or as supplies run short, sharing ceases. Starvation’s biological effects are that people become exhausted and irritable. Volatile situations erupt. Populations tend to migrate, looking for better conditions. The 1901 Indian Famine Commission called it “unusual wandering.” When adding to that the prophecy that love grows cold (Matthew 24:12), people are unthankful, (2 Timothy 3:2-4) and their thoughts are only evil continuously, (Matthew 24:37, Genesis 6:5) then you can see that violence will soon become the norm just at the time when people are physiologically least able to handle it.

So let me sum up the ivory tower talk: famines have always occurred and will continue to occur, followed by the worst brought out in people who are marauding hither and yon, looking for anything they can steal so they can stay alive. Violence breaks out and a true Darwinian human ‘survival of the fittest’ is played out in front of atheists everywhere, with the starving exhausted falling where they lay in irritable convulsions, dying by degrees while no neighbor cares.

Oh, but Jesus cares. His famines may be one of His sore judgments, yes, but it is to alert rebellious people that He is still in control and He is still holy. His control includes an eternal and infinite love for all His children. He wants you to turn from your carnal thoughts and lifting up of Mother Nature and replace those with perfect thoughts and spiritual infinity in His love. As long as you have not rejected him and slammed the door shut, you can enter the door to heaven by repenting of sins. He is the door and he stands ready to allow all who would believe to enter. (John 10:9)

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you (Matthew 7:7) What is beyond that door? Certainly not war or famine or exhaustion or violence. See what is there:

The Gospel is exclusive: Jesus is the only way. The Gospel is inclusive: any person can accept Jesus as their savior and forgiver of sins. I hope you enter in to His rest, escaping all the Tribulation things and choosing to partake of the Eternal things. What it takes is a prayer to Jesus that you know and understand you’re a sinner, unworthy to enter His realm, and ask Him to forgive those sins. Since He is sinless and died as the sacrifice for your sins, your debt is paid. But you have to ask. Do it soon, my beloved friend. Soon.

Photo by redcharlie on Unsplash
Posted in creation, genesis, God, revelation, solar maximum

God the creator and God the UNcreator

By Elizabeth Prata

Earthquake, tornado, sinkhole, flood, tsunami, ice/snow storm…People are unsettled after a natural disaster and they go looking for answers. The views here at the blog spike after a disaster but they rise the most after an earthquake more than any other natural disaster.

Personally I think quakes unsettle people because this is the very ground we walk on that is moving, splitting, and otherwise kicking up. If solidity isn’t solid, than maybe invisible God is real…The subconscious thought or fear is likely, “If the earth isn’t solid, then what is?”

God of course.

Continue reading “God the creator and God the UNcreator”
Posted in end time, gog magog, ottomans, prophecy, revelation

One World Religion complex in UAE will open in 2022

By Elizabeth Prata

PODCAST LINK HERE

I saw an article with an interesting topic on Facebook and I looked it up to see if it was real. It is real. Here is the interesting news. This article is from The Vatican, and since it involves the papacy, I take it to be credible, since they are reporting on themselves. The religion site is being built in United Arab Emirates, known as UAE.

Abrahamic Family House in Abu Dhabi to open in 2022

"The Abrahamic Family House, which encloses a synagogue, a church and a mosque in a single complex, and which is scheduled to be inaugurated in 2022, is 20 percent complete, the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity (HCHF) said in a statement on Tuesday. ... Besides the 3 places of worship, the site includes a cultural center that aims to encourage people to exemplify human fraternity and solidarity within a community that cherishes the values of mutual respect and peaceful coexistence, while the unique character of each faith is preserved." 

Each faith, meaning Judaism, Christianity (The Roman Catholic version of false Christianity) and Islam. Note that it is illegal for any building in the UAE to display a cross, therefore the church on this site will be devoid of one. It is illegal in UAE to convert from Islam to any other religion, so it remains to be seen how much ‘tolerance’ will be involved.

If you go to the website for this project, which The Vatican reports is 20% finished and will open within a year, you see a photo of how it will look and the architecture is quite beautiful.

The left is the Mosque, the middle is the Church, the right is the Synagogue. This is an artist’s rendering. Source

The website for the project is called For Human Fraternity.

Other websites are calling it the center for One World Faith. The Times of Israel gives their take on the project, with a photo of the progress in construction. It’s from this past June 2021. This Chinese missionary site has another take on the project.

Interesting. I had not know about these ‘Abraham Accords’ which was the covenant that forms the basis for the building project, with other projects to come. The accords marked the first public normalization of relations between an Arab country and Israel since that of Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994, says Wikipedia. The progress of this building site is pretty amazing, because the Accords were only signed in September 2020, one year ago.

Let’s turn to past history and future prophecy for a moment

Continue reading “One World Religion complex in UAE will open in 2022”
Posted in laver, ocean, prophecy, revelation, sea

Will Heaven Have Oceans? My Take

By Elizabeth Prata

I wrote about this in December 2009 and updated it in 2015. I’m taking on the topic once more here in 2021. It is a topic near and dear to me.

Now, I’m not a trained theologian. There are many people who have interpreted this verse in different ways, so I can’t be dogmatic. But I have a settled confidence.

Why? One particular verse. If God “placed the sand as a boundary for the sea, An eternal decree, so it cannot cross over it” then I need to understand that if there is no sea, what does ‘eternal’ mean? Plus I have several other reasons I believe interpreting the text to mean that there will indeed be an ocean, but not a sea.

Continue reading “Will Heaven Have Oceans? My Take”
Posted in art, church, ephesus, laodicea, philadelphia, revelation, sardis, smyrna, thyatira

About those churches of Revelation…

By Elizabeth Prata

EPrata photo

In the first century, there were 7 churches that Jesus caused John to write messages to. These were actual churches with actual congregations, doing and saying actual things. Jesus told apostle John, exiled at Patmos, what to write to these congregations. Jesus spoke commendations, criticisms, and instructions. Not all 7 churches were commended. Not all 7 churches were criticized. All had an instruction, though.

The church at Smyrna and the church at Philadelphia were not criticized. The church at Laodicea was not commended. The rest had both.

The churches were: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea.

Can you imagine being assembled on Sunday, hearing a knock on the church door, a messenger arriving and handing a scroll to your pastor, and the pastor reads a letter from the head of the Church, Jesus Christ Himself? Jesus is very much alive and in charge of His global body of worshipers, AKA His bride. He was directly involved then, and He is directly involved now.

Each of the seven churches was not only an actual church but is also a type of church dealing with a problem mentioned in the letters. The problem is not unique to that church for that time. There are always the same kind of systemic problems many churches deal with and have been recurring throughout the centuries. Always, there is a church somewhere that is busy but not alive. Always, somewhere, is a church that is indifferent and lukewarm. On this earth, there is a collection of churches gracefully enduring suffering, or being persecuted. And so on.

Please read Revelation 1-3, it is not hard. Those chapters offer the reader plain language and it’s not heavily symbolic.

Ephesus: I was struck by the fact they had abandoned their fervent love for Jesus. I imagined how, hearing this, John might have felt like he had ashes in his mouth and ears. “Nothing’s as cold as ashes, after the fire is gone.” (Loretta Lynn).

Smyrna: No criticism. Only light, the crown of life in heaven, and joy.

Pergamos: Compromise was their problem. Anyone who ever had a house built knows that if the contractor compromises on the concrete foundation, cracks appear at the first frost-freeze-thaw cycle. Nothing cracks a structure or an organization faster than compromise.

Thyatira: This church had a problem with a seductress teaching sexual immorality and the people tolerated it. It is a harlot church, literally.

Sardis: Revelation has a change in tone here. Sardis is dead. Can you believe that a church alive with people can be dead? According to the word of God here, it can and did happen.

Philadelphia: No criticism. This church is loved eternally from above. Its door will never close. This church is beloved in heaven.

Laodicea: Indifferent. Jesus hates that worst of all. He excoriates it with a lengthy invective no other church received in their message. He will vomit this church from His mouth.

If a messenger were to appear at your church door on a Sunday and hand a scroll written by Jesus to your pastor describing your church, what type of church do you think yours would be? If it is a church sliding into one of the less well-loved type of congregations, is there something you are contributing to its decline? Are you praying for your elders and pastors? Are you helping, or can find a spot to serve that will relieve some of the issues in the church? If your church is gloriously thriving, do you praise the Spirit for this? Pray for your pastor in gratitude for his hard work in the Lord?

EPrata photo
Posted in heat wave, India, judgment, prophecy, revelation, wrath

The importance of prophecy

By Elizabeth Prata

There is a Tribulation to come. It is not the Tribulation now. However, the terrible things we see happening on earth today remind us of God’s stored-up wrath that the Lord will pour out on the world during that time of judgment.

Do I refer to the judgments to come because I believe we are in the Tribulation now? Of course not. The rapture of the church will happen first, and then the judgments will be rendered by the Holy and Just Judge exactly and in the order as chronicled in Revelation.

Do I speak of the severe judgment to come in order to instill fear? A little. Holy fear and biblical knowledge of the power of God in wrath is a good thing. His judgment and His wrath are holy attributes of which we should be acquainted.

I’ve been told we should not speak of judgment. “It’s so negative” people say. “You should only talk of the happy things to make people feel comfortable with Jesus,” they say. Yet, the first thing John the Baptist said in his ministry was to warn us to flee the wrath to come. He started with a message of repentance, because judgment was looming. (“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.Matthew 3:1; and Matthew 3:7, “But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You offspring of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?“)

Repentance for sin and warnings of judgment are part of the Gospel message.

Continue reading “The importance of prophecy”
Posted in church, jesus, john macarthur, repent, revelation

Why the evaporation of America’s cultural Christianity is a good thing

John MacArthur wrote in his monthly letter why the deflation of the bloated Christianity we see in America is allowing the true Christianity to shine. Here is an excerpt from his monthly letter, and then below that, despite the encouraging news, a warning for the Church.

In light of recent headlines, court cases, and cultural trends, over the past few months you’ve probably heard—or said—something like the following: 

Our culture is spinning out of control.”
I can’t believe how fast the moral slide is happening.”
We’re living in a different nation than the one I grew up in.”
I think persecution of Christians is coming . . . soon.” 

Without question, the cultural Christianity many of us grew up with has vanished. There is no collective Christian consensus wielding any significant power in this country today. In fact, the more that true Christians endeavor to speak and live biblically, the more we are being labeled as extremists, homophobic, and intolerant. Truly we are aliens. We foresee a day when being a faithful Christian will cost us or our children dearly, and in ways we couldn’t have imagined just a few years ago. 

So is there any good news? Certainly. We know that God will use even the current hostilities and the climate of impending persecution for good (Romans 8:28). For years I’ve been concerned by the church’s pursuit of cultural change through political and social activities. Large swaths of Christians have placed enormous time, energy, money, and hope in the wrong things. Hand in glove with that thinking, a superficial, cultural Christianity has blurred the clear lines between the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of this world. Pragmatists in evangelical pulpits have softened the hard demands of the gospel, making discipleship sound easy and grace sound cheap. As a result, churches have been filled with religious, superficially moral, self-righteous people who don’t understand the gospel and are self-deceived about their true spiritual state. 

But with the façade of cultural Christianity shattered, biblical Christianity is beginning to stand out in a way it hasn’t in our lifetime. Scripture teaches and church history confirms that the Body of Christ is most potent and most effective when it simply speaks and lives the gospel without equivocation or apology. With the mask of superficial Christianity pulled down, I believe the best days for the spread of the true gospel are ahead of us.

Read more at the link.

With that said, though it’s true that as the cultural church shrinks and thus there are wonderful opportunities for the church global to share the Gospel and to show out living in a doctrinally pure manner, the moral purity of the Church leaves much to be desired. In a wonderful sermon of two parts, John MacArthur is preaching about Calling The Church To Repent.

There are two parts, and the transcript for both is coming soon. He is preaching from verses in the one place the Bible reveals where the Lord is calling the church to repent, Revelation 1:1-3. The warnings to those actual churches are also actual warnings to us today. The warnings were earned by the various churches due to a list of identified problems listed in the scripture. The churches’ problems were:

  • sexual immorality
  • idolatry
  • absorbing the pagan culture
  • tolerating sin
  • compromise
  • hypocrisy
  • false teaching
  • seduction by error
  • deception
  • preaching for money

This is a list that should be familiar to all of us. Many churches, unfortunately, engage in one or more of these same issues that the first century Revelation churches were engaging in. No, we haven’t built a golden calf to worship idolatrously, but we have built football stadiums, paint ourselves like pagans, and skip church regularly during football season to cheer for sports instead of worship our God. We also worship ourselves, and we have constructed many other idols that compete with God. The rest of the church’s sins are exactly the same today, which is why they should be familiar to us now in the twenty-first century.

In his sermon, Dr MacArthur said that it’s unusual to hear of a pastor calling his church to repent. It’s even more unusual to hear of an entire church repenting, he said, or broken over their hypocrisy, or sorrowful over their compromise, or repudiating their tolerance of the pagan culture, and so on. Though many people think the safest place in the universe is the church, MacArthur said, it’s not so. Jesus is intensely interested in the church, and when He sees problems, He makes threats. This should be a concern to all churches claiming the blood of Christ, and all churches as a whole should do their utmost to adhere to biblical and moral purity.

Please tune in to the sermon and then go on to part 2. It’s worth it.

Posted in prophecy, revelation, seven thunders

What are the Seven Thunders of Revelation?

The answer to the question I posed in the title is, “I don’t know. No one knows.”

EPrata photo

The Seven Thunders seem to be a part of the series of judgments in the Book of Revelation. I say “seem to be” because the words were not allowed to be written down, so we cannot be sure that they specifically are judgments. However, coming in sequence after the Seal and Trumpet judgments, and before the Bowl judgments, it seems that the mysterious Thunders may be judgments as too.

Given that thunder is the voice of God in judgment, it seems to further the notion that these mysteriously sealed instructions may be judgments.

John MacArthur wrote of the Seven Thunders in his book Because the Time is Near:

The seven peals of thunder did not merely make a loud noise, but communicated information that John was about to write. In obedience to God’s commands, John had already written much of what he saw in his visions. Later in Revelation, John would once again be commanded to write what he saw in his visions. (14:13; 19:9; 21:5).
But before John could record the message of the seven peals of thunder, he heard a voice from heaven saying, “Seal up the things which the seven peals of thunder have spoken and do not write them.”Whether the voice was that of the Father, or Jesus Christ, or an angel is not revealed. The command, however, clearly originated with God. The reason John was forbidden to record the message is not revealed. It may be that the judgments were simply too terrifying to be recorded. Any speculation as to the content of their message is pointless. If God wanted it to be known, He would not have forbidden John to write it. They are the only words in the book of Revelation that are sealed.

Let’s focus in on the “too terrifying” part of the reasoning here. In all the apocalyptic movies I’ve ever seen specifically related to the Tribulation, they are all uniformly sanitized. In other words, the horrific reality of the Tribulation as depicted in the Bible’s Book of Revelation has been visually watered down to be as non-reflective of the reality of a cellophane wrapped hamburger meat at Publix is compared to the blood, filth and messiness of a low-rent butchery. And even that is not reflective of the reality of what is coming.

The non-Christian apocalyptic movies movies I’ve seen, Threads, The War Game, and It’s A Disaster, were harrowing and soul-slaying. Their real depiction of nuclear or nerve gas apocalypse stayed with me for a long time.  The War Game was commissioned by the BBC to specificaly illutrate the horrors of nuclear war and the Board found the movie too realistic to be released for thirty years, and even that film doesn’t go the distance of what the reality of the Tribulation will be like in terms of nuclear anguish and death. People just do not understand what it really means when Jesus promised it to be a time of distress exceeding even the time of the Flood. (Matthew 24:21). And remember, that was a time when everybody on earth died. (Except 8 people)

So here is Oliver B. Greene in his Verse-By-Verse Study of Revelation, on the Seven Thunders’ terror:

Thunder is the voice of the Lord in judgment (I Samuel 7:10, Psalm 18:13). The seven thunders “uttered their voices.” (John assumes that the readers already have Some knowledge of these seven thunders.) In Revelation 4:2, 3 John saw a throne encircled by a rainbow, and here in chapter ten we see the same rainbow. In Revelation 4 John saw upon the throne One who was to look upon as a jasper and a sardine stone, and “out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices.” In chapter 10, we have the same thunder, sounding out a message of God’s fury and judgment.

The seven thunders are the judgment thunders from the throne of God. When the Lion of the Tribe of Judah roars, as on the eve of bounding forth upon His prey, the seven thunders utter their roaring voices as in full sympathy and agreement with what is about to proceed in righteous vengeance and holy fury from the throne of eternal majesty. Personality is attributed to these “seven thunders.” Everything is in sympathy with the Lamb of God. These mighty thunders utter messages that are intelligible . . . they speak words. John heard what they said – and when the time comes in reality, the seven thunders will speak literal words that earth’s dwellers will fully understand. It will be a message in tones of thunder. We use a public address system to amplify voices when we want to be heard – but God needs no amplification. He can speak like mighty thunder – and He WILL when the time comes!

At the beginning of these marvelous visions, John was commanded to write in a book what he saw and heard – past, present and future. But when the thunders spoke, John was given another command. He was about to write – but a voice from Heaven said: “Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not!” The seven thunders must have given a terrible message. Already set before us are blood, tears, famine, heartache and heartbreak; killing, misery, hail, fire, burning mountains, demon monstrosities, men begging to die and unable to do so. Surely what John was forbidden to write must have been beyond human imagination and understanding! There is no need to speculate on what the thunders said. Your guess is as good as mine; but you may rest assured that the message had to do with God’s last gigantic, unheard of, indescribable judgment, when God “lowers the boom” in utter destruction.

Will YOU be on earth when the seven thunders speak? You are the only one who can answer that question. If you are born again you will NOT be here – but if you are not born again, you may be here. Read John 1:11-12, 3:16-18, 3:36, 5:24; Romans 10:9-10, 10:13, 10:17; Ephesians 2:8-9; I John 1:9. Read these verses, hear what they say; receive them – and you will not be here when the seven thunders utter their message of destruction. You will be with Jesus.

Imagine a message that exceeds the terror and blood of all that had already previously been spoken. Or if that was not the case, imagine a message that was so tremendously powerful it needed to be sealed from our tender brains until the moment they would be spoken during the Tribulation.

Prophecy is supposed to motivate us to witness, and yet the reality of the judgments of souls in rebellion to God is omitted from the message of the Good News. How terrible that it’s omitted so often these days, when the days are coming that many will be living it!

May this essay motivate you to read Revelation, to pray for wisdom and understanding of the coming days, to receive the promised blessing for having read it,, and for its words to be a catalyst in your heart for the lost who are under that very “boom” Greene mentioned, soon to be lowered…