Posted in prophecy, theology

“Climate change”? Really?

By Elizabeth Prata

In the last little while, the news stories regarding weather have increased regarding “climate change”.

Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr, the French critic, famously said, “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” The climate has been changing since the Fall of man.

I wrote a blog essay a while ago showing my interpretation of the Revelation 6:12 verse, “And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;” It is called “Of volcanoes, dry fog, and sun as sackcloth“.

In that blog essay, I posted some examples of what sackcloth looks like. When volcanoes erupt, the ash circles the atmosphere and the sun’s rays are dimmed, and what rays do emit through the haze look hairy instead of like beams. Volcanic ash has the same effect on the sun as described in the Revelation verse.

The Byzantine historian Procopius recorded in 536, in his report on the wars with the Vandals, “during this year a most dread portent took place. For the sun gave forth its light without brightness…and it seemed exceedingly like the sun in eclipse, for the beams it shed were not clear.”

That event is thought to have been caused by an earth-covering atmospheric dust veil, probably resulting from a large volcanic eruption.

The weather changes and attendant devastation on plant and human life when a volcanic eruption takes place is called “Volcanic Winter”. The science magazine Wired has a great article about volcanic winter that occurred in our recent past, one that happened in the 1700s (that Ben Franklin wrote about) and one that occurred in the 1800s. In the article, it states,

“The cloud of ash that was fine and light enough to stay in the atmosphere circled the globe. Average temperatures dropped as much as 5 degrees Fahrenheit over the next year … and beyond. Many Europeans and North Americans called 1816 the “year without a summer.”

In Gray, Maine it was indeed called the year without a summer. The bad weather of winter 1815 continued with heavy frosts in August and snowfalls every month of the year in 1816. It became known as “The Year without a Summer” or “Eighteen Hundred and Froze to Death”. Scientists now believe the cause was the eruption of a volcano, Mt. Tambora, in Indonesia. On its first day of eruption, it spewed 2 cubic miles of magma into the atmosphere. The next day it spewed 36 cubic miles of rock and ash into the air. This eruption was the largest in nearly 2000 years and spewed massive quantities of ash into the atmosphere which impacted the climate in the summer of 1816. Over the next year the largest famine in the 19th century devastated the northeast, maritime Canada, and northern Europe. The famine was deadly.

This report from the July 10th Eastern Argus news of Portland ME is typical: “The weather is yet remarkable! On Monday night last a smart frost was experienced in a number of towns in this vicinity—it was confined principally to low ground.”  Imagine…a hard frost on July 10!

The Egypt Road was said to have been named so by people in East Raymond ME who used the road to come to Gray to get seed corn in the spring of 1817. One low-lying section of town between Colley Hill and the Mayall Road was fortunate enough to have its corn crop survive in 1816. This was thought to have been due to the fact that the hill where the corn grew was high, and prevailing winds scoured the frost before it could settle. Seed corn was given to some Raymond citizens. They named the road they took “Egypt Road” since they were remembering the long trek to Egypt to ask deliverance via corn from Joseph to the starving masses. (Genesis 41:49; 56)

We know that in the Tribulation, geologic changes occur which eventually re-form the face of the earth. Quakes are so severe that entire islands disappear. One thing people rarely connect are the drastic changes that occur with climate in a volcanic winter. Atmospheric changes which lead to temperature changes which lead to reduced or failing crops which leads to wars to obtain the remaining food which leads to famine which leads to death which leads to pestilence…you read Revelation 6:1-8 and you see this progression.

We are so fragile, really. All our human made systems will come to naught. The poor, beleaguered earth and its animals is surely groaning. Climate change occurs when we have volcanic eruptions, or are just regularly occurring as part of the normal cycle of life on earth. The more the weather changes, the more it stays the same, if I can paraphrase Monsieur Karr’s saying. It’s all in the hands of God.

dark cloud

Posted in prophecy, theology

The Earth without Water

By Elizabeth Prata

They cry climate change, but the climate has always regularly changed. If they worry about climate change now, they should really be worried about how MUCH the climate of earth will change when the Tribulation occurs.

In reading Revelation it’s like reading a horror story of the world’s climate. Grass burned, rivers drying, sun scorching men with heat that is so unbearable, volcanic winters, you name it. Just read Revelation 6-18 to view the upcoming changes to the climate.

Christians know that it will be due to God’s transformation of the earth in preparing it for the renewal back to how the earth was before the curse. But the climate change enthusiasts and worriers will surely be declaring “We told you so” all the while repeatedly denying that it is God in charge and making these changes. (Revelation 16:9, 11, 21…)

I found this illustration of earth without water from Physics and Astronomy Zone.

Revelation 11:6 says the Two Witnesses have the power to shut the sky, that no rain may fall during the days of their prophesying, and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague, as often as they desire.

No rain for three years? Wow. Crops fail and food becomes scarce, especially for the poor.

Climate change now? Please. They don’t know the climate that is about to change horrifically on God’s initiation and timing, but they will. As many as we share the Gospel with and who convert, so as to be raptured prior to these changes, there will be many millions left behind that will endure these terrible changes to the climate. It makes me sad, but it must be so. God will be glorified in the many who do come to faith during the prophesied time of Tribulation, in which the earth will groan so loudly that many will fall down and beg,

And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? (Revelation 6:16-17).

Posted in prophecy, theology

What are the Seven Thunders of Revelation?

By Elizabeth Prata

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

100_2097moon at sunset pixlr red sky
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 illustrate the horrors of nuclear war and the BBC Board found the movie too realistic to be released. For thirty years itlanguished in a closet. Yet even that film doesn’t go the distance of what the reality of the Tribulation will be like in terms of nuclear horror 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 horribly 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…

*This essay first appeared on The End Time in January 2016

Posted in theology

“I know…”

By Elizabeth Prata

Jesus is omniscient. We read this in the Bible and we accept it. But accepting it and understanding it at the deepest level are sometimes two different things. In listening to Pastor Eric Spuur of Mt. Angel Bible Church go through Revelation (series begins here, and is also here on iTunes), he emphasized the following point.

Jesus knows. He is fully aware of all that occurs in His church. See how many times it is written-

To Ephesus
“I know your works…” (Revelation 2:2)

To Smyrna
“I know your tribulation…” (Revelation 2:9)

To Pergamum
I know where you dwell…” (Revelation 2:13)

To Thyatira
“I know your works…” (Revelation 2:19)

To Sardis-
“I know your works…” (Revelation 3:1b)

To Philadelphia
“I know your works…” (Revelation 3:8)

To Laodicea
“I know your works…” (Revelation 3:15)

‘I know’…’I know’…’I know’…’I know’…’I know’…’I know’…’I know’… it hammers you as your mind becomes aware of how many times Jesus declares this truth.

We live on earth where no one is omniscient, so of course we get comfy in the notion that this head that we carry around atop our necks is self-contained. It isn’t. Jesus knows the hearts and minds of men and He knows the thoughts and intentions of it to the nth degree.

In an article called Seventeen Minutes, we learn it’s the daily thoughts that count. As you read this, (and the impact is heightened if someone reads it aloud to you) you’ll no doubt see some of your own thoughts in there. I did. They’re ordinary thoughts. Normal, right?

They are also sin.

They are thoughts that Jesus knows.

There isn’t anything that Jesus doesn’t know, which when we understand to the deepest level, slays us to the marrow, making us cringe. As the unsaved Tribulation folks discover, it makes them cry out to the mountains and the rocks to crush them so they will not have to face Him.

Our lot is infinitely better, for we can cry out not in fear, but to our Abba! Father! (Romans 8:15). Yes, Jesus knows our thoughts and deeds and works. But He loves us despite the sin crushing force of ordinary thoughts in our mind and heart. He took that wrath that was due us and loves His own to the nth degree.

Will we ever understand grace as we should? Likely not here on earth. It surely is grace to be able to serve a God who knows, knows us through and through, yet stands in heaven as our Father, loving us anyway.

wickedness in heart verse

Posted in prophecy, theology

Why the Book of Revelation should be energizing and reviving to the Christian

I found the book of Revelation one of the easiest to understand. Its intent for the reader is plain to read, it has its own built-in study guide, and contains a double promise from Jesus that those who read it will be blessed. Jesus WANTS us to read Revelation. It’s a wonderful book. The following was written by Pastor James Bell and I found it concise and helpful. I hope you do too. I love speaking up for the Book of Revelation and I love anyone else who does too! It’s a great book of the Bible, sadly undermined, ignored, and misunderstood. Perhaps this essay below will help dispel that.

———————————————–

The Revelation
By Pastor James Bell, Facebook
Southside Baptist Church, Gallatin TN

PLEASE do not slander the Holy Spirit, the ultimate Author of the last book of the Bible– by claiming that this grand Unveiling of Jesus is hard to understand and scary. The truth is that the primary messages of The Revelation are exceedingly plain to see and the primary truth of the book is most comforting. The Revelation IS scary to satan, demons, and all other haters of God. Doubtless, Satan does not want saints to enter into the profound comfort and instruction that God has in The Unveiling of Jesus. Moreover, let all saints beware of heeding our deceitful flesh that hates the corrections and the commands found in The Revelation!

Through the exiled and imprisoned Apostle John, the Holy Spirit gave The Revelation— which is the unveiling of Jesus as He is today. In this grand unveiling of Jesus, we are given much to heed and much to obey.

We are clearly shown that no matter how bad the storms get on planet earth — Jesus is still the Great Captain of the good ‘ship’ earth! The risen, ascended, ruling from heaven King of Kings and LORD of Lords will accomplish all of the Great Triune God’s good purposes! Jesus is sovereign and Supreme!

*** A WAKE-UP CALL: We are kidding ourselves if we think that we can stand firm in the midst of the present and coming ‘storms’ if we are not deeply grounded in the Unveiling of Jesus AS HE IS TODAY!

Keys to great profit from The Revelation:

[1] REMEMBER that this last book of the Bible was FIRST OF ALL written to persecuted Christians, who needed some encouragement, who needed to know that Jesus, not Rome was in command, who needed commendations, commands, and corrections.

[2] PLACE YOURSELF IN THE MIND-SET of one of those first Christians to receive The Revelation. Family members and other fellow saints were missing. They were not AWOL. No, they had been fed to the lions… or maybe banished like the Apostle John to slave labor on the isle of Patmos. Rome was mighty.

The saints were becoming fearful. Some were wondering if they were but fools. Some were already tolerating sin and apostasy. (Revelation 2-3)

But at just the right moment, Almighty God invaded the isle of Patmos by the Holy Spirit and moved John’s pen! And when The Revelation was completed, some how, God got The Revelation, the unveiling of Jesus Christ, to the churches.

Can’t you just imagine, the persecuted saints at Ephesus, meeting in secret… and a ‘runner’ comes in… and they are startled and wonder, “Is he a spy?” No, he proves his credentials… He has just left the aged pastor/Apostle John and likely reported something like, “I have in my hand a scroll that God has given to John to give to the churches!”

Amazed and excited, they listened as the entire Unveiling of Jesus was read! I am convinced that by the time the last ‘Amen’ of the Revelation was read — well, words cannot capture the joy, the excitement, the hope, the repenting, the revival that took place!

[3] THEREFORE, please, if you have never done this— read The Revelation straight through in one… and with the mind-set of those who first heard it read!

Let us so prayerfully read, so seek to hear, and so commit to obey the things written in The Revelation— That we too, will enter into a new day of joy, excitement, hope, repenting,… in other words— God-sent revival!

—-end Pastor Bell—-

Amen and Amen. Please don’t be afraid to read Revelation. Those are the very last words Jesus chose to speak to His church before He comes again. They are highly important and as Pastor Bell wrote, instructive and comforting.

revelation 1 verse

Posted in prophecy, Uncategorized

He is The Amen

calendar

“And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation’. (Revelation 3:14).

Please read Revelation. It’s a majestic book, filled with wonders and prophecies and promises and our future. It is the only book that reveals Jesus as He is. And, it is promised to the reader that he will receive a blessing for reading it. So…

To each of the churches in these opening chapters, Jesus greets them as a different aspect of Himself. He is the Alpha & Omega, He who walks among the lampstands, the first and the last, he who has the sharp two-edged sword, him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars, and here in the last letter to the churches, the Amen. These are just a few of the titles Jesus expresses Himself as in the opening chapters of the book, which goes back to my statement, Revelation shows Jesus in all His glory and majesty.

From John MacArthur’s study Bible introduction to the book:

Revelation’s primary theological contribution is to eschatology, i.e. the doctrine of last things. In it we learn about: the final political setup of the world, the last battle of human history, the career and ultimate defeat of Antichrist, Christ’s 100-year earthly kingdom, the glories of heaven and the final state of the wicked and the righteous. Finally, only Daniel rivals this book in declaring that God providentially rules over kingdoms of men and will accomplish His sovereign purposes regardless of human or demonic opposition.

Those are some fantastic reasons to read the book!

In chapter 3, Jesus announces Himself as The Amen. What does that mean?

According to the MacArthur study Bible again, the Amen is a common biblical expression signifying certainty and veracity (cf Isaiah 65:16, “the God of truth”). As 2 Corinthians 1:20 says, all the promises of God are fulfilled in Christ, that is, all God’s promises and unconditional covenants are guaranteed and affirmed by the person and work of Jesus Christ.

Gill’s Exposition says,

Christ may be so called, because he is the God of truth, and truth itself; and it may be expressive of his faithfulness, both to God his Father, and to his people, in whom all the promises he either made, or received, are yea and amen; and also of the firmness, constancy, and immutability of Christ, in his nature, person, and offices, in his love, fulness of grace, power, blood, and righteousness; and is very appropriately assumed by him now, when he was about to give the finishing stroke to all covenant engagements, and to all promises and prophesies;

When we pray and say Amen, it is a verbal stamp on what has been said. Deepening the meaning of the Amen in this context, is that Jesus is the Word and is the living embodiment of all of God’s promises and works. We say Amen at the end of a prayer, Jesus IS the Amen.

We begin the New Year this morning with a hopeful look over the year’s calendar. All those days and weeks and months to fill up. It’s like empty scaffolding. We don’t know what’s ahead. We don’t know how these days ahead will be filled- with pain and tragedy, or joy and fulfillment, or a mixture of both, or… Whatever we do and whatever happens and however these days will be filled up and marked off, we do know one thing and it is certain.

Jesus is the Amen.

Isn’t it comforting to know that no matter what the New Year brings, what He has said is certain and utterly true. No matter what the world does to us, His faithfulness to His word and its exacting and sterling truth is the scaffold and framework for our days and weeks and months ahead. Grab onto it. Let it be your guide, your strength, your uphold, your protection, and your stronghold.

He is the Amen. He has said it. His titles of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation titles confirm the Lord’s faithfulness, sovereignty, and power to bring all things to their proper completion. Amen.

pisa2
Photo EPrata
Posted in prophecy, Uncategorized

God is faithful to his Gospel

The Great Tribulation is a time prophesied to occur in the future, where God will pour out His stored-up wrath on the unbelieving world, and onto Israel. The church will have been raptured prior to the beginning of this 7-year period. (Revelation 3:10). The church is not under wrath, but our sins have been forgiven. In us there is no condemnation, that’s why we will be removed beforehand.

The Tribulation is not the general time between His first and second comings where believers will have the promised trials and persecutions. The tribulation is a distinct time referenced as THE Tribulation. It will exist for a set purpose, certain things will happen in an progressive fashion (as prophesied in Revelation 6-18 and elsewhere) and it will cease at its end to usher in a 1000 year kingdom on earth of peace where Jesus walks and reigns with His people. (Revelation 20:2-7, 2 Thessalonians 1:7-8, Daniel 9:24-27, Matthew 24:3-28…)

During this Tribulation, it will be a hell on earth, literally. The abyss is opened and many chained up demons are let out to wreak havoc. (Revelation 9:1-12). It’s a time when God’s 4 sorest judgments will occur. He releases 4 horsemen to have their fill of death and chaos and sin and evil wrought upon the people. It will be a time of punishment, vengeance, retribution, and wrath. Many millions upon billions die. (Revelation 6:8, Revelation 9:15).

Before I get to my main point, let’s turn aside for a comment. People incorrectly view the God of the Bible as a split personality. There’s the God of the Old Testament who is wrathful, and the Jesus of the New Testament who is nice. Jesus “hung out with sinners” and spoke the Beatitudes, after all.

God is God and He changeth not. In the OT He rendered wrath, but He was also compassionate and kind. I can give many examples. He spoke gently to Hagar in the wilderness. He sent angels to feed and comfort Elijah. He answered Habakkuk’s complaints gently. He gave Hannah the son she prayed for. He spoke to Moses as a friend. And so on.

In the NT, God is kind but He is also wrath. Wrath is mentioned many times in the NT. It’s mentioned in Matthew, Luke, John, Romans, Ephesians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, Hebrews, and most of all, 11 times in Revelation, where Jesus is rendering it or ordering His angels to deliver it. If you read the Jesus of Revelation, there exists no sissified, needy Jesus at all. He never existed. THAT Jesus is a figment of man’s imagination.

Now to the point, despite the horrors of The Tribulation, despite the wrath and death and chaos and sin, God still seeks souls. He saves. He saves many, multitudes one cannot number! They are saved from every language and nation and tribe and tongue! His grace abounds even in wrath.

By what process does He save?

1. His Two Prophets. Their story is contained in a Revelation 11:3-13. Their ministry begins:

And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.

They preach in Jerusalem and according to prophecy, it’s for a set number of days. People will try to kill them. Those who hate the LORD will hate their message of sin and wrath and judgment. But while they are prophesying God’s word on earth during the allotted number of days, nothing can harm them. As a matter of fact, they can spew fire and kill those who try to kill them. (Revelation 11:5). When the allotted number of days is up, they will be successfully killed. (Revelation 11:7). Their bodies will lie in the street for three days, and the world rejoices that their devastating message will have been silenced, or so the world thinks. They are resurrected and ascend to heaven before the world’s astonished face. (Revelation 11:11-12).

The result is that for 1,260 days the world hears two indestructible witnesses preach the everlasting gospel to the world, whether they want it or not.

The 144,000.

Their story is contained in Revelation 7:3-8 and Revelation 14:1-5. God plucks 12,000 from each Jewish Tribe as His firstfruits of Gospel salvation in their Messiah. Though none of the verses explicitly say that the men from the 144,000 evangelize, it’s highly likely that they are agents of the Gospel. The fact that they are chosen, sealed from harm during the judgments indicates that they have work to do. One’s relief and joy in Christ always yields a loosened tongue to proclaim His glories. How much more so in the Wrath? Also, the very next scene after they are saved and sealed, we see multitudes of redeemed from the earth. Imagine 144,000 Apostle Pauls running around, lol. People are going to be saved.

The Three Angels at Midheaven.

Their story is in Revelation 14:6-11, but the first angel in verses 6-7 is the one who proclaims the eternal Gospel to the entire world, every nation, tongue, tribe, and people.  Every. One. Hears.

What a God we serve! He pursues even as He concludes the last moments of His Age.

ecclesiastes

Posted in prophecy, Uncategorized

The Greatest Revival That Ever Will Be?

Yesterday I looked at what true revival looks like. True revivals are far from the superficially but temporarily euphoric “revivals” we have sadly become used to. Jonathan Edwards wrote about the massive and immediate deep changes that occurred during the Great Awakening. In reading his “A Faithful Narrative of the Surprising Work of God in the Conversion of Many Hundred Souls in Northampton,” written in 1737, we learned that new converts and those who were revived all had one major thing in common: an awareness of their sin and a growing hatred for it. The outgrowth of this fact is that people became more temperate, taverns emptied while the pastor’s house filled. Neighbors became loving helpers of one another, and left off their previous bitter gossip, and so on. The change was overnight, that was one of the “surprising” things Edwards remarked upon.

So the hallmarks of a true revival include awareness of sin, understanding of the wrath of God for it, and a relief and love of the grace that has been bestowed in spite of it.

Those were also the hallmark of another major revival in the Bible, though not the one I’ll focus on mainly today. In an essay I wrote recently, “What was the greatest revival ever?” the Ninevites responded to God’s message through Jonah by repenting in dust and ashes. Through Jonah, God had foretold coming judgment, and the worst people on the planet at that time people believed him.

And the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them. (Jonah 3:5).

As a revival continues, the people remain in Christ, they continue in good works (the evidence of saving faith), and they give glory to God in all they do and say.

If Nineveh was the greatest revival that ever was, what is the greatest revival there ever will be?

The Great Tribulation.

There are prophecies remaining to be fulfilled. Most of them were fulfilled in Christ, praise God. The prophecies remaining are:

The rapture of the Church,1 Corinthians 15:51-53, (the church members, living and dead caught away to heaven to be enclosed and protected from the judgment of the Tribulation.)

The Tribulation, the promised wrath and judgment upon the world for sin. Daniel 9:24-27 has the reasons and the outline of what is to happen. So does Matthew 24 and Revelation 6. Many prophecies are to be fulfilled during this 7 year period. The antichrist will come, who will be a real man, the false prophet, the great apostasy, an uncreation of the earth, the Two Prophets (likely Elijah and Enoch), the 144,000, Mark of the Beast, Armageddon, and so on, all occur during this time.

The judgment seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10). This occurs in heaven and it involves assessing believers in their faithfulness in service to Christ, not a judgment for sin.

Return of Jesus: AKA The second Coming. At the close of the Tribulation, Jesus returns in power and glory and smites the armies at Armageddon. This concludes the Church Age, or the Last Times/End Times.

The judgment of the nations (Matthew 25:31–46) where Jesus judges the nations for how they treated Israel and also judges who is to enter the Millennial Kingdom, the 1000 year reign of Christ on earth. Since believers and non-believers alike will be alive at the end of the Tribulation, Jesus will sift one from the other, and cast non-believers into hell and believers will be granted entry into the 1000 year Kingdom.

Millennial Kingdom: Jesus is alive and reigning over the world and Israel is living within all the promises made to that nation of people, their lands, their King and their identity all intact and thriving. More here.

The Eternal State: After the Millennial Age,  eternity begins. It is prophesied that the earth will melt in a fervent heat and be remade. (2 Peter 3:10). All prophecies will have been fulfilled. After that, there is nothing in the Bible that tells us what we will be doing or what the next Age will be like.

Back to the greatest revival that ever will be.

People think that when the rapture happens, there will no longer be any chance for people to be saved. That there will not be salvation during the Tribulation. The opposite is true. The greatest revival ever will occur. It will be a time of evangelism unparalleled in our human history.

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Revelation 7:9).

But are these people from the Tribulation? How do we know they aren’t just believers from the Church Age?

A little further along in Revelation that question is answered for us:

Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” 14I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. (Revelation 7:13-14)

And this:

When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. (Revelation 6:9)

God is always working to bring people to His Son. At no time does the Spirit cease drawing souls to glory. During the Tribulation, though it will literally be hell on earth, a time that will be shocking and upsetting in the extreme (Luke 21:26, Matthew 24:22), people will be saved. They will be truly saved, not false converts. We know that they’ll be true, because though they know they will die, they praise the Lamb and remain true to His glory even unto martyrdom. (John 15:13).

Psalm 145:3, Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable.

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Further Reading:

The Last Great Awakening

Will there be a second chance for salvation after the Rapture?

Will the Church go through The Tribulation?

Posted in prophecy, Uncategorized

Revelation 101

So often I hear that people are scared to, or worried about, reading the Book of Revelation. It’s this monolith at the end of the Bible that people stay away from because it’s too hard, too mysterious, too difficult to understand. Yet the book itself says otherwise.

Believers cannot afford to ignore the immense truth this book contains. In fact, we’re commanded not to; Revelation 22:10 says, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near.” ~John MacArthur

It’s actually one of the easiest books to understand.

By the way, the book is called “Revelation” singular. It’s not “Revelations.”

Daniel is dense. Pound for pound, Zechariah has twice as much prophecy than Revelation. Some of the minor prophets are hard to understand because of the time frames and the history. Romans is heavily philosophical. If I was to pick a book that is hard to understand, I’d choose any of those over and above Revelation. Revelation is actually one of the easiest book in the Bible to understand.

How can I say this?

Two reasons.

1. It is the ONLY book in the Bible in which the reader is promised a blessing if he or she reads it. The. Only. Book. That’s something worth paying attention to. The promise is stated at the beginning and at the end of the book.

Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near. (Revelation 1:3).

How can we keep what is written in it, if we do not read it?

And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.” (Revelation 22:7).

Clipboard04Did Jesus promise a blessing, and in a cosmic ‘gotcha’, then make it intellectually or spiritually too difficult to understand? Or is it because it’s one book that proclaims Jesus in His full glory, promises a great ending for His people, and wants us to look ahead for the encouragement?

2. It has its own built-in study guide. Despite the chaos it reveals, it is actually a very orderly book. I’m not kidding.

The first three chapters are greetings and letters to churches, which we would do well to study. To each church, Jesus identifies himself in a different way, revealing a certain aspect of Himself that matches the warning or commendation He gives to the church. It also shows how intimately He is involved with His church as its Head and its Priest.

In Chapter 4 the scene shifts to heaven. In Chapter 5 we’re still in heaven, but now heaven is readying for the “things to come”, meaning, the global judgment.

Chapter 6-18 are those judgments. Again, it’s orderly. A series of three (perhaps four, if the Seven Thunders are judgments) each containing 7 judgments are unleashed, one after the other. The time frame is fairly chronological. It’s also rapid. The events take place mostly within three and a half years (7 total) so reading this main portion of Revelation can be compared to reading the Gospel of Mark. Mark reports quickly, covers a great time frame in short order, and uses muscular language and a rapid pace. It’s the same with this portion of Revelation.

The judgments, in addition to being judgments, are also working to UNcreate the world. Compare Genesis 1-2 with Revelation 6. Genesis shows the creation, Revelation is the UNcreation. As the LORD deals with sin, He is also preparing the world for its upcoming regeneration (“The New Earth.”). Mainly the story proceeds chronologically with an occasional glimpse back to heaven or a parenthetical comment.

Chapter 19-22 is the wrap-up- the new heavens and new earth, New Jerusalem, the Marriage Supper, the final strings to tie up, the last encouragement.

Voila!Clipboard05

As for the symbolism, scripture interprets scripture. The symbols are not a lot harder to interpret than other analogies and symbols in the Bible. Jesus being the vine (we know He is not ACTUALLY a vine). Or when the angels pour out the bowls of wrath, we are reminded of Jesus drinking the cup of wrath. The dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads is a similar kind of symbol to the ram with long horns of Daniel 8, which is interpreted for Daniel right in the same chapter.

 

I’m not saying everything about Revelation is easy. It still takes study. What I’m saying is that is is not harder than any other book of the Bible and in some ways it is easier. Please do not be intimidated by it.

On sale now at Grace To You through June 25 is a booklet for $1.50 called A Jet Tour Through Revelation. It is adapted from a sermon MacArthur gave a while ago. Even when the sale is done the booklet only costs $2.00. Of course, you can listen to the sermon for free at any time. The booklet-

-helps take the mystery out of a portion of Scripture many people consider too difficult to understand. Yet, the book of Revelation promises blessing to those who read its words and heed them. This Jet Tour booklet will help you make sense of the symbols, imagery, and significance of this amazing prewritten history. It will increase your appetite for heaven—or give you a needed dose of concern about your eternal future and point you to Christ, who alone can save you from the wrath He will one day bring.

One of my favorite books on Revelation is another of MacArthur’s -“Because the Time is Near”. This book is also on sale now for $8.25. I found it not only to be clear, non-academic and useful in laymen’s terms, so encouraging. Yes, the Book of Revelation is encouraging. Seeing all that wrath poured out is hard on the heart, but it is also encouraging knowing Jesus took that same wrath for His people. This in turn inspires a profound relief and love for His work on the cross. It’s one thing to know about the cup of wrath He endured, it is another to understand it. Revelation helps you understand sin and wrath, and by contrast, grace. In this way, reading Revelation helps you love Jesus even more.

Far from being a dense, mysterious, non-understandable book, I have always found it to be encouraging, amazing, and inspiring. It shows Jesus as He is now, in full glory, power, and beauty. It is one of my favorite books of the Bible, Genesis being the other!

Please don’t be intimidated by Revelation, just start reading it. You will be blessed. That is a promise from Jesus.

Posted in prophecy, Uncategorized

What you seek after, you will be conformed to…

Chris Powers of FullofEyes.com creates a picture verse every day. His work in animation, illustration, tracts, and other manner of visual theology (as well as writing study guides to accompany the graphical work) is astounding and encouraging. Here is yesterday’s entry. Please share, his work is free and meant to be shared. If you feel led, contribute on Patreon.

Sharing Destinies

By Chris Powers-

Here’s the picture for today. I’m reading through Revelation as part of my morning times and was struck today by the truth that we will share the destiny of our God (big or little “g”). Humans seemed to be created such that, whatever they worship, they image (theologian GK Beale presents this idea most clearly)….

So, our sanctification (becoming like Christ) is fueled by our beholding and enjoying the glory of God in Christ (2 Cor.3:18), while our “diabolification” is fueled by our beholding and enjoying the God-opposing things of the world (Romans 6:19a, 2 Peter 2:19-20, etc.).

In like manner, we will share the eternal destiny of our God….either the joy of fellowship within the Trinity that has eternal been the gladness of God Himself (John 17) OR the horrors of being eternally an enemy of God, eternally the object of His love’s war against all that opposes the Beloved, aka, of His wrath.

An awesome, hopeful and sobering truth.

So, below are the relevant verses and short explanation.

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Revelation 20 “(10)…the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire…(15) And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”

Revelation 3:21, “The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.”

To our joy or horror, we share the destiny of the one we worship.