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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Revelation 22:20

He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so come, Lord Jesus.

For further study - Revelation 21 and 22

These two chapters of Revelation, the last two chapters in Revelation and the Bible, give us a look into “eternity future”. We will see a description of the “new Jerusalem” the eternal habitation for all “believers" in Jesus Christ.

I will not take the space to re-describe the “new Jerusalem”, you can read what John the “Revelator” wrote about the “city of the future”. However, I would love to point out several unique aspects of this eternal home for you and me.

First, it will be hanging in “space” above the “new earth” for eternity. This is concluded by the fact that Ezekiel 37:26 and 28 tell us that the Temple that Jesus builds will be in the “earthly Jerusalem” on the “new earth” forever.

There will be no Temple in the New Jerusalem, verse 22, because God and Jesus are there. The New Jerusalem will be the eternal home for all Christians, with the “Jewish believers” and “Gentile believers” on the New Earth.

By the way, there are no “streets” of gold in the New Jerusalem. Notice the word “street” is as I used it was in the plural, the way so many people speak of them or sing about them. In the New Jerusalem there is only one “street”, Revelation 21:21 and 22:2. Therefore, we all live on “main-street” in the New Jerusalem, not on some “back street”.

There will also be a “tree of life” in the New Jerusalem, 22:2, where we will take “fruit” to eat through eternity. I’m not sure exactly what it means when John wrote, “for the healing of the nations”. What I am excited about is that we will “eat” forever.

There is so much more I could share with you from these two chapters. I do hope that you will read both chapters for your devotional today. Let me close with the Lord repeating one phrase three times. That phrase is, “Behold, I come quickly”.

In Revelation 22:7 He adds to the common phrase, “blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book”. That is a description of “how to live”.

In verse 12 John wrote after the statement that He was coming quickly, “and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be”. This is why we live according to the book. This verse also tells us how our eternal “eternal job description” is determined.

The last utterance of the “quick coming” of Jesus is found in verse 20, the next to last verse in the Bible. He has John’s response to the “I come quickly”. John offers a prayer 2,000 years ago that has not yet been answered, “Even, so come Lord Jesus”.

That is my prayer as I conclude 2008 and move into 2009. I pray that it is your prayer as well. Remember, John had received all the prophetic passages that will be fulfilled as we lead up to the Second Coming of Jesus, and John’s prayer was for Jesus to come right then. I also want to see Jesus, even so come Lord Jesus.

PRAYER THOT: Even so, come Lord Jesus.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Revelation 20:15

And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

For further study - Revelation 20:1-15

This chapter of Revelation has three distinct sections from which I want to share some very important insight with you. This chapter also is after the seven year Tribulation.

You will notice that the first three chapters of Revelation are before the Tribulation and the last three chapters of Revelation are after the Tribulation. The other 16 chapters, 4-19, are the details of the Tribulation.

As I mentioned, there are three different elements to this chapter. Verses 1-3 and 7-10 are the account of Satan being bound, loosed for a “season” and then cast into the “lake of fire”, forever.

Verses 4-6 deal with the 1,000 year Kingdom Period when Jesus Christ, and the “bride of Christ”, the “church”, will “rule and reign” from the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. This is the “Kingdom” promised to the Jews, Daniel 7:13-14.

The last element of Revelation 20 is the “Great White Throne Judgment”, verses 11-15. The Great White Throne marks the “end of history”. The next two chapters, 21-22, take us into “eternity future”. “History” begins at Genesis 1:1 and concludes with Revelation 20:11.

Notice that Satan will be “bound for 1,000 years, verses 1-2. This will be the very first time that Satan will be “bound”. There is no such event as “bounding” Satan in any other passage.

We do not have the “power” to bound Satan. We must “submit ourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from us”, James 4:7. Only God has the power to “bind” Satan.

The Devil will be in the “bottomless pit” for that 1,000 years and then released, verse 7. He will try and gather all those un-believers from the Kingdom Period, ones born in the Kingdom Period, those who reject Jesus even in a “perfect time”.

This “army”, Satan and those he gathers at the end of the Kingdom, will be taken and thrown into the “lake of fire”, verse 10, where the Antichrist (Beast) and the False Prophet, verse 10, have been at this time in history for 2,000 years.

Verses 4-6 reveal the time of the Kingdom and those who will “rule and reign” with Christ for that time period. Those who know Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour down through the ages will be a part of that “ruling party”.

Verses 11-15 are the revelation of the terrible time of judgment for all lost people. This will not be a “judgment” to determine whether someone is “saved or lost”, no one will stand at this judgment unless they are “lost”. This will be the time for “sentencing” the lost to the “lake of fire”, forever.

This passage reveals the “judge”, verse 11, the “judged”, verses 12-13 and the “judgment”, verses 14-15. This truth of the “Great White Throne” leaves me with a “mixed emotion”, happy with the “joy” that comes with serving Jesus, and very “sad” about those who have “rejected” Jesus.

These events, the “binding of Satan”, the “Kingdom Period” and the “Great White Throne” are key in the scheme of God’s plan for the future. But let me remind you that what “triggers” these events is the Rapture.

The next event on “God’s calendar” is the Rapture. This is when Jesus calls us up to be with Him, in the heavens. This event could happen at any moment, therefore, we must be ready ever moment of ever day.

PRAYER THOT: Thank you Lord for supplying us with the scenario that will unfold in the very near future. All the events that lead up to these three elements, the “binding of Satan”, the Kingdom Period with the focus on Jesus Christ reigning on the Temple Mount, are in the process of being fulfilled everyday. Give me the power to live for you every moment of every day.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Revelation 19:19

And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him that sat on the horse, and against His army.

For further study - Revelation 19:1-21 & Zechariah 14:1-5

There is a verse in II Peter 1 that helps us in looking at these two portions of scripture, to understand what will happen at the return of Jesus to the earth. II Peter 1:20 tells us that there is “no prophecy of the scripture of private interpretation”.

This verse is stating that all scripture must “fit like a hand in a glove” as we read the different passages. No one scripture can contradict any other scripture, both passages must develop the same theme. Therefore, these two passages on the “return” of Jesus Christ to the earth must fit together.

But first, please notice that the first six verses of Revelation 19 are what I refer to as the “Halleluiah Chorus”. Verses 7-10 are the details for the “Marriage and the Marriage Supper of the Lamb”. These two events are another discussion at another time.

Starting in verse 11 and going through verse 21, we see the prophecy of the Return of Jesus and the Campaign of Armageddon, which also includes events revealed to the ancient Jewish Prophet Zechariah in his book, chapter 14, verses 1-5.

The events surrounding the Lord’s return actually begin in Zechariah 14, “the armies of the world” gathering at Jerusalem, Zechariah 14:1-2. This is the reason for the term “Campaign of Armageddon”, this final battle ends in the Jezreel Valley, but starts in Jerusalem.

The “armies of the world” gather in Jerusalem where Satan, the Antichrist and the False Prophet brought them to the city, through the means of “signs, wonders and miracles, Revelation 16:13-16.

Jesus will return to the earth, Zechariah 14:4, to the Mount of Olives, and the “armies of the world” flee to the north of Jerusalem, the Jezreel Valley for the final phase of the “mother of all battles”, the Battle of Armageddon.

This is the time that the “armies which were in heaven” follow Jesus on “white horses” Revelation 19:14. We that are Christians, who had been taken into the heavens at the Rapture, will come with Jesus to join with Him in His “rule and reign” over the earth.

You can read in the extended portion of our devotionals, verses 15-21, to see what happens during this “battle” to come. There are several other passages that will enhance your understanding of how this end times event unfolds, Isaiah 63:1-6 and Ezekiel 43:1-7.

These events will happen at the end of the Tribulation Period, at least seven years after the Rapture. I would call it “devastation before exaltation”. The “stage is set” for these prophecies to be fulfilled.

The world is watching as all the events called for in Revelation 4 through 19 that will take place in the last days are in place. That means we are ever so close to the return of Jesus Christ. Just this reminder, the Rapture is foretold in Revelation 4:1, thus we must be ready for the Rapture to happen at any moment, maybe even today.

PRAYER THOT: Dear Lord, it is amazing as I watch those events foretold in your Word almost at the point of fulfillment, which means that the Rapture, the next event on your agenda, is about to happen. Help me to live my life believing that it will happen at any moment, a life honoring to you.
Sunday, December 28, 2008

Revelation 18:17

For in one hour so great riches is come to naught.

For further study - Revelation 18:1-24 & 16:17-21

We come to this 18th chapter of Revelation for our devotional reading for today and find out that we are basically “living” in this portion of scripture. As we share some thoughts on this passage you will see what I mean, and agree that we are closer than ever before to the fulfillment of Bible prophecy.

In this chapter we can find the word “Babylon” used three times, the word “city” used six times and the word “great” used eight times. The focus of our reading is the “great city of Babylon”.

Babylon is a city that has a 4,500 year old history that dates back to soon after the “flood” of Genesis 6-8 and the times of “Nimrod”, the great grandson of Noah. Nimrod built Babylon in defiance to God who told all of Noah’s family to be fruitful and “re-people” the earth.

Instead, Nimrod went into the valley between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers and on the shores of the Euphrates built a “great city” the city of Babylon that still stands where it was first built.

Babylon has a long history that includes being the headquarters for the Babylonian Empire where Daniel and Ezekiel were taken as captives, along with the Jewish people, 2,500 years ago.

It was also the headquarters for Alexander the Great and the Grecian Empire. Alexander, at 32 years of age had conquered the known world, and after his death at this young age had his empire divided into four parts.

Both of these accounts, which include the city of Babylon, are the fulfillment of Bible prophecy. In fact, the events in history associated with Babylon are “prototypes” of that which will happen in the future, seemingly the very near future.

The actual city of Babylon, which has never been destroyed as called for in Isaiah 13-14 and Jeremiah 50-51, Babylon will be destroyed, as foretold in our devotional reading today. This destruction will come to this the headquarters for another “world leader”, the “Antichrist”.

In the last three and one half years of the Tribulation Period Babylon will come back to power and be the “economic, political, governmental center” of the earth. Antichrist will rule the world from this location on the Euphrates River.

Our key verse, verse 17, along with verses 10 and 19, indicates that the “great city of Babylon” will be destroyed in “one hour”. In Revelation 16:17-21 we see how this unfolds. There will be a “major earthquake”, the largest to ever hit the earth, verse 18.

Also, large “hail” the size of a “talent”, around 75 pounds, will fall on the “city”, verse 21, and devastate this “stronghold of Satan”. Finally, the many prophecies of the destruction of Babylon will be fulfilled, after 4,500 years.

In fact, this destruction of Babylon is the last event to happen before Jesus Christ steps back on earth, Zechariah 14:4, in Jerusalem, on the Mount of Olives. I believe these events are near, in light of the events that are unfolding today.

Babylon, Biblical Babylon, is what we know today as Iraq. The war, and now the rebuilding of war-torn Iraq are the “setting of the stage” for these prophecies to be fulfilled. As I said, we are living in the days that will lead up to God’s Word being completed, as it was written.

Once again I remind you that before all of this comes to pass there will be a shout from the heavens to call us up to join Jesus Christ. The Rapture, which can happen at any minute, could happen very soon now as we watch “Babylon” play its role in the end time events as recorded in Bible Prophecy.

PRAYER THOT: Dear Lord, what a day we are living in as we see prophecy coming to pass before our eyes. As we watch current events, in light of Bible prophecy, help us to live these days prepared, pure and productive as we await your shout to join you in the heavens.
Saturday, December 27, 2008

Revelation 17:17

For God hath put in their hearts to fulfill His will.

For further study - Revelation 17:1-18

We come to this very interesting chapter in the book of Revelation, this 17th chapter, where John reveals the “false church” that will be in place during the first half of the Tribulation Period.

The word “church” is not used in these verses because the “true church”, an assembly of Bible-believing, born-again Christians will have departed from this earth and moved up into the heavenlies to be with Jesus Christ. These Christians leave this place at the Rapture, before the “judgment” begins here on the earth.

This is not the “true church”, but a “false church” that comes to power soon after the Rapture, in the beginning of the seven years of judgment on the earth. There is much we can talk about, information that describes this coming “false church”.

Verse 5 refers to “Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots”. This is a reference to Genesis 11:4 where Nimrod establishes a “religion” in Babylon 4,500 years ago, “let us build a tower whose top may reach unto heaven”. This verse is speaking of the “mother-son cult” that was started in Babylon.

This “false religion” was started in Babylon, right after the Flood, and at the fall of the Babylonian Empire in 539BC moved its headquarters to Pergamos in Asia Minor. This is the location where the Roman Emperors were “deified”. They were called “Pope” as their “religious” title.

The “Beast” in this passage is the “Antichrist” and the “whore” is the “false church”. The word “woman” is also referring to this “whore”, the “false church”. The “Revived Roman Empire” is the “ten horns” in this passage.

Verse 9, the reference to “seven heads” in verse 9 is speaking of the “seven-mountained” city of Rome. This city, Rome, is the headquarters for the “one-world false church” under the leadership of the “Antichrist” during the first half of the Tribulation Period.

Verse 16 tells us that the “Revived Roman Empire”, most likely the European Union of today, will rise up and destroy the “False church” at the end of the first three and one half years. Notice that they do this because the Lord put it in their hearts to do His will, verse 17.

There are several thoughts that you might consider, as we conclude our reading for these devotionals. This “false church” is in the “making” today, especially with the “emerging church” movement and the coming together of all types of religious groups.

The lack of the study of “Bible Prophecy” in most churches and even a real study of true “Biblical doctrine”, which is disappearing from our churches, is evidence that we are moving ever so close to the time of this “false church” of Revelation 17.

Please remember, before this “false church” is up and operating in the Tribulation Period the Rapture takes place. The “true Church” will depart this place and go to another, into the presence of Jesus Christ. We are so very close to the Rapture, it could be today, so keep looking up.

PRAYER THOT: Dear Lord, please revive your “true Church” in these last days so that we might reach out to as many as we can before the Rapture. Thank you for the warnings found in your Word to alert us to what is coming. Help us to live expecting you to shout today for us to join you in the heavens.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Revelation 16:16

And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue, Armageddon.

For further study - Revelation 16:1-16

As we come to this 16th chapter of Revelation we read the prophecy of the last set of seven judgments, the “Vial Judgments”. There are three sets of major judgments in the book of Revelation, the Seals, the Trumpets and the Vials.

These judgments get progressively worse as events proceed through the seven years of Tribulation. The Seal Judgments take place in the first half of the Tribulation and the Trumpet and Vial Judgments in the last half. When the world comes to the Vial Judgments things will be moving very quickly.

If you have already read about the Trumpet Judgments in Revelation 8,9 and 11 you are aware of the “ecological judgments” that have taken place and now John reveals the final acts of judgment on the earth, to bring it under submission.

Bringing the “earth and earth-dwellers” under submission is one of the purposes for the Tribulation so that the God of Heaven can give Jesus Christ, His Son, “dominion”, make Jesus the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

In our devotional reading, the extended portion, you will notice that we stop with verse 16 and leave out the “seventh vial”. I will deal with the last “vial” judgment in another devotional.

I’ll not take the space to explain the first five vial judgments, they pretty well explain themselves and display the “wrath” of God in His judgment on “unrepentant” man. I will share several thoughts about the sixth vial and the parenthetical portion of the 16th chapter of Revelation.

When the “angel”, the sixth angel, pours out his vial on the earth the focus is the Euphrates River so that this river is dried up to make way for the “Kings of the East” to make their way into the Middle East, in particular the Jewish State of Israel, actually the “City of Jerusalem”.

The sixth vial judgment and the prophecy of verses 13 to 16 go together in that they are talking about all the nations left on the earth, after almost seven years of intense judgment, gathering at Jerusalem for the “Campaign of Armageddon”.

The “Kings of the East” would be at least the nations of China and India, plus many other Far East nations. Remember, almost half of the earth’s population live in that region of the world.

The “River Euphrates” is the natural border that separates the Middle East and the Far East. These nations in the Far East will move towards Jerusalem for the beginning of the “mother of all battles”, the Battle of Armageddon, which I referred to as the “Campaign of Armageddon” because it begins at Jerusalem, not the Jezreel Valley.

The Devil, along with the Beast, Antichrist, and the False Prophet, verse 13, use “demonic deception” and perform “miracles”, verse 14, to gather the “kings of the earth and of the whole world”, to the Middle East, Jerusalem and then the Jezreel Valley for the “war to end all wars”.

This look at most of Revelation 16 should give each of us the evidence that we are quickly moving towards the fulfillment of Bible prophecy and the return of Jesus Christ to the earth. Today we have a proliferation of “miracles” around the world, along with “demonic deception” that is preparing for verses 13 to 16 to be fulfilled.

I hasten to remind you that before all of these prophecies are fulfilled the “shout” will come from heaven for the “body of Christ”, the Church, Christians to go to be with Jesus in the heavens. This “shout”, of course, is the Rapture and it can happen at any moment, so keep looking up, it could be today.

PRAYER THOT: Dear Lord, thank you for the “warning” of coming events, contained in Bible prophecy, so that we can recognize the times in which we are living. Help us to live in light of this knowledge and warn the lost of what they most do to prepare for the end times.