How wise is our Lord, how kind, what great mercy He shows us by NOT telling us when our last day on earth will be! It would be like living on death row without hope for a re-trial! God gave us the key to the prison, He sent His Son Jesus to pay our debt, our ransom and when we accepted Christ we were set FREE! Praise the Lord that our HOPE and our security is not in the stock market, or in the mercy of man! Our Father reveals Himself as the caring Shepherd. One we can trust and rely upon to keep us from falling as He protects us from the wolves! Consider the book of Esther when Haman posts a decree in every language, in every city that ALL JEWS will be killed on a specific date, eleven months in the future! Mordecai was mortified, and certainly all Jews lived with increased distress knowing their execution date. The EARTH SHAKING NEWS is that during these END TIMES we know where we are going! This is a photo of EGYPT at Karnack in 2010. Mighty Egypt is in ruins. Today our world wide trust in CEO's, movie idols, kings, rulers, congress senators, talk show hosts, sport stars and people is rapidly crumbling. We have taken God out of schools, courts, rulings, laws and our USA coins have removed "IN GOD WE TRUST". Christians are killed in parts of the world for having a bible. The Roman emperor Nero officially sanctioned the torture and extermination of Christians. Citizens and subjects of the empire who refused to worship the ruler or confess that the emperor was divine were tortured, killed or exiled as traitors. The apostle John was exiled to the island of Patmos, a prison island. John received his revelation about the victory of God in the face of great terror and evil. John SAW God triumph over evil and that GOD totally annihilated evil at the end of time. John obeyed and sent letters to the seven churches of Asia to encourage and warn that God's victory will be with our without our co-operation. We must persevere in the midst of persecution and in death! The central event is the return of Jesus. "Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen" Rev 1:17 -- "He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name sake." Psalm 23 continues to reveal the courage and confidence that only He can give as we walk through the valley. As the shadow of death looms, we fear NO evil, because we are convinced, we are certain that God is with us. Because we believe in His word we can TAKE the courage of the living Word that is etched into our hearts. As death casts a spooky dark shadow, and we know our body will someday just poop out, we TAKE the Comforter's hand and follow our Shepherd into the house of the Lord and dwell in His loving presence forever! God's letters to the 7 churches, to our 7 conditions of soul today:
1) Ephesus (2:1) Praise patience, labor. Complaint: Lost love of Jesus.
2) Smyrna (2:8) Praise their suffering and poverty. Complaint: NONE
3) Pergamos (2:8) Praise martyrdom. Complaint: Immorality and idolatry
4) Thyatira (2:18)Praise love and service. Complaint: Wickedness
5) Wealthy Sardis (3:1) Praise the few faithful. Complaint: dead in spirit, complacent, forgot the forgiveness of lies, sloth, deceit?
6) Philadelphia (3:7)Praise faithfulness. Complaint: NONE
7) Laodicea (3:14)Praise NOTHING. Complaint: lukewarm faith, wretched, blind. Jesus is knocking on the doors of churches, on our hearts and pleading with us to let Him in. Like Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, He will raise our lukewarm faith --- IF we love Him, we will follow Him, we will be obedient, we will talk to Him, we will listen to Him, we will be His hands, we will be His feet, we will be His disciples and speak His words to the lost. "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." (Revelation 3:21-22) The HOPE we have is JESUS, it is HIS return. Who do you know who is hoping that the economy will repair itself? Who do you know believes that prayer will stop what God's Word says WILL happen? Has the 4th seal been opened? The 5th? The 6th? How the worldwide web and satellites enable us to see what is happening around the world, at the same time, isn't this a fulfillment of prophecy? PROPHETS TIME LINE SINCE 760 Before Christ was AMOS; HOSEA; MICAH; then from 740 - 681 BC the prophet ISAIAH gives God's message of divine judgement to the deaf ears of Israel and Judah. Isaiah named Cyrus (559-530 BC) as King 150 years before he was. Israel falls to the Assyrians in 722. God gave Isaiah visions of what would be, just as Jesus revealed Himself to the apostle John on the island of Patmos. We are slaves today, people are in bondage just like they were in Egypt. The twin towers came down, and wall street rattles still. Are not the storms more fierce, the tornado's, floods, fires, mighty hurricanes and earthquakes happening in more frequency with more intensity? Has God lifted His hand from earth for a time to allow us to live the consequence of our choices? God is faithful to fulfill His word, and He is! The apostle John saw visions of the throne and heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the elders, the living creatures and the number of them was 10,000 X 10,000, and thousands saying in a loud voice: "WORTHY IS THE LAMB WHO WAS SLAIN to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing." and the twenty four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever! WAKE UP and SEE through the EYE of the STORM. CHAPTER SIX = SIX SEALS and we are invited to COME and SEE in God's word a series of four judgments. These events are part of the tragic great tribulation, during which our Holy God pours out His wrath on a world that rejects Jesus as Lord. "Now I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals" REV 6: It is a time to WAKE UP, to open our eyes, and COME AND SEE. Prepare for His return!
1st Seal: Jesus rides white horse and goes out conquering souls
2nd Seal: Jesus rides red horse. Blood shed, peace removed. War. 3rd Seal: Black horse. Withdrawal of abundant crops. Scarcity in the land, man must pay more for food of less quality. Price of bread in 2010? 4th Seal: God gives Death power with Hades covering 4th of the earth. God limits His judgement in war and famine. Pestilence causes widespread death.
5th Seal: As the lamb opened this seal John could see the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God. They cried "How long, O Lord, and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?" Then a white robe was given to each of them and they were asked to rest a bit longer. 6th Seal: UNIVERSAL devesation. Behold a great earthquake, the sun turns black, the moon is red. Stars fall to earth. The sky recedes and every mountain and island is moved. All kings, presidents, rich, poor and great commanders, every slave, every free person hid in caves and in the rubble crying and begging "Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?" REV 6:16
7th Seal: Four angels stood at the 4 corners of the earth and held back the winds. A voice commanded not to harm the earth until the servants of God are sealed on their foreheads, the minds of 144,000, of all the tribes of the children of Israel. Scholars believe that the 144,000 is the fulfillment of God's promise to Israel by sealing members of the Jewish nation. Patient is our Lord Almighty that He gave us ample warning in His word, and in the world that we can see. The first seal, the great years of REVIVAL! The 2nd seal, the ongoing WAR on earth! The 3rd seal the scarcity and starvation of people around the globe, the fall of the economy in 2009. The 4th seal - the widespread death of multiple Psunami's, 911, Katrina, Haiti, Chile, Indonesia. Floods, Fires, Famine, Skin eating disases, Swine Flu, Contaminated water, Pests in the fields, Gangs gaining strength over police, Cities, States and Countries around the globe filing bankruptcy, with increased crime and governing officials caught cheating, lying. THE GREAT TRIBULATION refers to a SEVEN YEAR period of unparelled trouble on earth, concluding with the return of Jesus Christ. Oh Lord Jesus, You have given us TIME to repent, TIME to listen, TIME to see, and now we have a limited amount of TIME to take your message of SALVATION to the world! The Bible is the inspired, inerent word of God. We have been given the blessed Holy Spirit to teach us, give us understanding, eyes to see, and ears to hear. The Book of Revelation is chiefly referring to events that are occuring right before our eyes. We are the witness of what has been revealed by Jesus Christ to John at Patmos. WOW! Jesus Christ is returning soon. We do not know the day, the hour, the year. But if we have 10 years left or 7 years left, how will we serve Him?
The wealthy people of Israel were enjoying peace and prosperity. They were complacent and oppressing the poor, even selling the less fortunate into slavery. Today we have homeless under bridges, we have single mothers turning to prostitution, we have drug lords and gangs that rule our cities. "But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream." Amos, a man of God, a lay person, a sheep herder. Amos was not the son of a priest or a prophet. He was a humble servant of the God. God gave Amos a vision of the future 1:2 and told him to take his message to Israel, to the Northern kingdom 7.15. Amos outlined the sins of Israel 2:4. Amaziah, a priest in Israel intervened and tried to stop his warning of God's disgust with His people. "The days are coming" declares the Sovereign Lord, "when I will send a famine through the land --- not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord. Men will stagger from sea to sea and wander from north to east, searching fro the word of the Lord, but they will not find it." Amos 8:11 God's covenant with His people (2 Sam 7:12) that God would raise up a ruler to restore the house of David, the ornate temple that was reduced to a "fallen tent". This promise will not be fulfilled by an earthly king, or a political ruler, but by the Messiah, who will renew us and rule forever. "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." John 7:37 Apocalypse = a universal or widespread destruction or disaster. Over 500,000 dead in PORT-AU-PRINCE. The earth quaked in Haiti on Jan 11, 2010. City offices collapsed. The tax office collapsed. Schools and hospitals collapsed. Schools have a lot of dead people in them. Colossal damage reported by the Red Cross for a population of 9 million who already lived in extreme poverty. Red "CROSS" accepts donations for Haiti, Chile, Indonesia. Have I not COMMANDED you? BE STRONG and of GOOD COURAGE; DO NOT BE AFRAID, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is WITH YOU WHEREVER you go" (Joshua 1:9)
This passage is and has been the source of great comfort and INCOURAGEMENT (inside COURAGE) for the saints down through the ages beginning with Joshua's generation. It is a COMMAND, not a suggestion to the people of God. "Have I not commanded you..." The command is given in the positive and negative. The positive command is be strong and be of good courage, the negative command is do not be afraid, confused or dismayed. Now the question is, how are we to be strong when we are so weak? How are we to take courage when we are terrified? How are we to be of sound mind when we are completely disoriented by the NEWS, by the REALITY of the REVELATION of the SEALS that have been opened? The answer is found in the last part of our verse, "for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." Complete dependence upon God and recognizing His presence among us has always been the Christians source of strength and courage in these trying times. What a COMMAND, what a blessing to those who OBEY. The book of revelation reveals signs of the end, NOT the date, NOT the time, NOT the how! We can therefore PRAISE GOD for His mercy! If we have seven years after the 7th seal is opened, we have been protected by His grace in that we DO NOT KNOW! We are called to LIVE in VICTORY over impending physical death, trusting God for our eternal life, in NEW heavenly bodies! For those who have been given a terminal diagnosis, this is NOT easy to say or hear. DEATH IS NOT OUR FINAL DESTINATION! God calls some of us to be NOBLE in our death. To courageously die, to depart this world with confidence, knowing that we are loved and that God is using our life and our death as a powerful witness to those who are watching. As we slowly wither, as we draw closer to our last breath, it is a comfort to think of Jesus telling our story at the banqueting table as we sit with the saints that have gone before us. COURAGE is not the absence of fear, but it is taking the truth confidently to our grave. That we know there is something more important than this life and we take our last breath as a choice to DO this for His glory, for a purpose larger than we know. Let us therefore live FULLY empowered by the Holy Spirit until our tents fold, until our body just craps out. AMEN The Book of Revelation describes Jesus as the "Word" and the "Lamb of God". John the apostle wrote the book of Revelation as he witnessed "the word of God" and the tesimony of Jesus Christ. A primary criterion for apostolic authority was to be an eye witness to the message. "Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection." (Acts 1:21) Lord Jesus I pray that to all who read this EARTH SHAKING NEWS that they BELIEVE and LIVE according to Your commands, that they are certain of a destiny way beyond a casket, that they REJOICE in the ROYAL destiny of joining YOU in Your glorious Kingdom! That we look forward to a REUNION of souls in the magical place that YOU prepared for us. ALL praise, honor and glory to God, Halleluiah and AMEN!