Revelation 17- Part 1

miniJimThere is so much parallel between the Book of Daniel and Revelation, a simple blog could not begin to conclude. The truly amazing facts are not so much the content as the fact that both books speak to the same thing. God’s direction is powerful today (N.T.) and yesterday (O.T.). Simply put and without explanation in this blog is that Daniel sets the stage for the Book of Revelation. We get details in Revelation than Daniel can only infer. It is also a special note that what Daniel saw as individual creatures, Apostle John sees as ONE 10 horned beast; [Revelation 13:2] “And the beast which I saw was like to a leopard, and its feet as of a bear, and its mouth as a lion’s mouth. Who might be the combined military or governmental forces that are represented as a leopard, bear and lion of Revelation? Recall that the Dragon and the Beast are two different entities.

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One Step Closer to Pulling Things Together

Chapter 17 of Revelation takes us a step closer to figuring this out. We have the dragon, beast 1 and beast 2, the image of beast 1, a red dragon with multiple heads and horns, a woman riding the beast which soon those in charge turn against it rider, four forces converging on Har Megiddo, the seventh bowl, kings in some symbolic adultery with the woman on the beast, blasphemous names, a mysterious Babylon the Great, a book of life and names not in it, three symbolic frogs hopping nation to nation to call to arms these ignorant arrogant millennial losers, a speaking image of beast #1, 10 unnamed kings (for an hour) who then hand over their authority to the anti-Christ…

no wonder people’s heads spin when trying to put this all together as one orchestrated sequence of events leading the return of Jesus the Messiah.

We MUST remind ourselves that the mind of God is so far greater than ours, it should be a simple thing to understand that our mental capacities are not equal to God’s, but our faith and hearts should be totally online. If not, then we need to check with our spiritual internet provider; what I enjoy calling our spiritual GPS; Gods Provided Seal on our forehead.

The very first thing we see in C17 is Apostle John in a bit of a dither. This is when I default to Young’s Literal Translation (YLT) as it is probably the most “literal” translation of scripture; but often difficult to read just for that reason. We say, the boy went to the game. YLT in in its literal translation would write, the games is to which the by went. Other translations try to simplify their translation but often lose something(s) in the process.

For this reason I include the YLT of C17: (1898) – All emphasis mine

And there came one of the seven *messengers, who were having the seven vials, and he spake with me, saying to me, `Come, I will shew to thee the judgment of the great whore, who is sitting upon the many waters, *often meaning angels

with whom the kings of the earth did commit whoredom; and made drunk from the wine of her whoredom were those inhabiting the earth;’

and he carried me away to a wilderness in the Spirit, and I saw a woman sitting upon a scarlet-colored beast, full of names of evil-speaking, having seven heads and ten horns,

and the woman was arrayed with purple and scarlet-colour, and gilded with gold, and precious stone, and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and uncleanness of her whoredom,

and upon her forehead was a name written: `Secret, Babylon the Great, the Mother of the Whores, and the Abominations of the earth.’

And I saw the woman drunken from the blood of the saints, and from the blood of the witnesses of Jesus, and I did wonder — having seen her — with great wonder;

and the messenger said to me, `Wherefore didst thou wonder? I — I will tell thee the secret of the woman and of the beast that [is] carrying her, which hath the seven heads and the ten horns.

`The beast that thou didst see: it was, and it is not; and it is about to come up out of the abyss, and to go away to destruction, and wonder shall those dwelling upon the earth, whose names have not been written upon the scroll of the life from the foundation of the world, beholding the beast that was, and is not, although it is.

`Here [is] the mind that is having wisdom; the seven heads are seven mountains, upon which the woman doth sit,

10 and there are seven kings, the five did fall, and the one is, the other did not yet come, and when he may come, it behoveth him to remain a little time;

11 and the beast that was, and is not, he also is eighth, and out of the seven he is, and to destruction he doth go away.

12 `And the ten horns that thou sawest, are ten kings, who a kingdom did not yet receive, but authority as kings the same hour do receive with the beast,

13 these have one mind, and their own power and authority to the beast they shall give over;

14 these with the Lamb shall make war, and the Lamb shall overcome them, because Lord of lords he is, and King of kings, and those with him are called, and choice, and stedfast.’

15 And he saith to me, `The waters that thou didst see, where the whore doth sit, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues;’

16 and the ten horns that thou didst see upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and shall burn her in fire,

17 for God did give into their hearts to do its mind, and to make one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast till the sayings of God may be complete,

18 and the woman that thou didst see is the great city that is having reign over the kings of the land.

Before moving on I feel totally compelled to issue a warning by example. During this end falseamongrealof time Tribulation, Satan will confuse many with false prophets, so-called miracles, a silver tongue of persuasion, unmatched deceit and a look-good universal church. Look at the picture on the right. If you look real close one can see the weeds that have grown up so close to the real flowers, one can easily be deceived into thinking the weeds are actually part of the flower arrangement. This is what Satan’s church will look like during the first 3 ½ years of the Tribulation. These fake flowers of beauty are so close in proximity to the genuine, one easily misses them.

Gradually more and more look-similar and delicate, but weeds grow up amongst the real thing. So close in proximity even the gardener will miss them. Eventually they overtake the garden while one stays politically and garden correct by watering, tolerating and wishing to be inoffensive to the garden saying it takes too much time to clean them out. They are allowed to be a part of the garden via compromise or failure to recognize they are plants but NOT flowers. This is precisely what is happening in our churches today.

Examples of what these weeds will look like:

  1. A song sung in church with a great tune but unidentifiable as a praise or worship song
  2. A person whose tithing is a goodly share of the church budget but demands political correctness be exercised within the church; not identifying or giving warning of sin.
  3. Pastors who fear calling out sin as defined in the Bible; Ephesians. Don’t be offensive.
  4. Board members who command weight and influence within the church, a community, city or politics but have little to no bible knowledge.
  5. Those willing to sit in the pews and not overtly stand on the promises of God.
  6. Inter and intra denominational bickering that leads to separation of church and church. There is but ONE CHURCH of which Jesus Christ is the head; not the pope or St. Peter.
  7. Churches that teach good living and self-improvement while ignoring the WORD.
  8. Beautiful buildings with debt that requires a congregation of several #2’s (above) to pay the debt.
  9. Singers and instrumentalists on the Praise Team who are really good but live lives unbecoming of The Church of Jesus Christ.
  10. Prayer that is not in the spirit as commanded in Romans 8 (study the entire chapter).

Take a moment of pause while using your weed-sin pulling tools and write in more cautions from which will come the universal false church.  [Mark 13:22, Matthew 24:24]

During the final 3 ½ years (Tribulation) there will no longer be any doubt. Satan sets himself up in the Temple of God in Jerusalem, slaughters Jews and those who refuse to bow the knee to him while claims to be God. Those who refuse to worship will be shrewdly eliminated.

Back to our study; C17:1 – 6 (we will pick up on more of 17 in our next blog)

The first six verses set the somewhat mystery stage of dragon, woman, fornicators, scarlet beast,…with their explanations in the remainder of C17. Let’s look at them.

The beast that was, is not, and is about to come up from the abyss then go away to potofdestruction is often identified with the Roman Church of the dark and pre-dark ages. It wasn’t until Napoleon disposed of the Pope who ultimately died in prison do we get the “then it was not.” The future and news worthy items today per the pontiff and his decrees show the Roman Church and its global influence is once again asserting [coming alive] itself.

Drunken (17:6) from the blood of the saints can be present or past tense. Most likely it is a continuum or revival of the Holy Roman Empire that replaced the original Roman Empire. Still considered the Roman Empire but with the innocuous word “holy” as the first word in the title. However we read “the blood of the Saints and of those who witness of Jesus.” The saints are those from the past and those who witness and are present at this time of bloodshed.

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Revealed Word

To understand the Word of God, one must grasp the reality that the Holy Spirit is the Rev Paul Hoffmasterrevealer of Truth and without His leading the Bible simply becomes words of historical relevance. The Holy Spirit not only empowers the believer, but directs the Christian through the illuminating of God’s Word. (John 16:13a) Whenever there is no divine revealing of the Scripture, a manipulating of the Word to satisfy the human questing of the individual will evolve. Much of the Scripture is shrouded or veiled and must be revealed through the Holy Spirit. So much Biblical misunderstanding is a direct result of carnal reading motivated by individual priorities. As one listens to the plethora of doctrines one can see that the Holy Spirit is not involved in many of the interpretations. Some of the teachings that come out of Scriptural manipulation give fuel to the critics who continue to make sport of the Christian’s beliefs.

Late night Bible Study

The Holy Spirit will help us begin our Biblical journey, but it will be our responsibility to accept and act upon the revealed Word. How we respond to the Word will determine what kind of Christian experience we will have. Revelation reveals the Word. Reason dilutes the Word. Faith experiences the Word. When conflicts arise in the Christian’s life, it is not time to revert to carnal man but to face the problem with the faith that God will guide us through His Word to the victory.

The Apostle Paul was called into the ministry not by self determination, but by “Jesus Christ and God the Father.” (Gal. 1:1) He stated that no human being was instrumental in his decision to follow Jesus. He further proclaimed that the message he brought was not something he learned, but rather that he received it by “revelation.” (v. 12) Success in one’s life is achieved by acting upon the revelation that is conveyed to us through the Holy Spirit. Blessings come when we stop leaning on our own understanding and start acknowledging the Truth that is shown to us. The Christian life is a journey of affirmative action. The Word “Go” is the catapult to not only spreading, but living, the Gospel. You can’t spell “good” or “Gospel” without it. When you the take the “Go” out of Gospel you have a “spell” and that is what some Christians seem to be in. When the Holy Spirit opens our understanding to His Word, we must respond as if our life depended upon it.

When we open the Word of God our expectancy level should be high, for we anticipate that the living God is going to speak to us. Reading the Word any other way is to make the Bible simply “literature.” When we read the Scripture, it is either LOGOS (God’s unspecified Word), or RHEMA (God’s revealed Word.) In John 1:1, it is declared that “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Jesus is the living Word and the Bible is the written Word. How we treat the written Word is how we will treat the Living Word. To say we love Jesus and at the same time neglect the Bible will expose a flaw in our Christian walk. Let the Holy Spirit reveal to us the hidden treasures of God’s Word and then let us learn to say as Mary did, “be it unto me according to thy word.” (Luke1:38)

What’s In Your Church?

churchChurch services are meant to be about worship, ministry, instruction in the word, and the sacraments. They are not about foolish displays of human bravado and unnecessarily tempting or testing the Lord in experiences. How some who claim Christian standards can get their priorities so bent out of shape, wrong emphasis, and distraction of study is quite remarkable.

When the Apostle Paul was under guard and being transported to Rome to exercise his Roman citizen right of appeal to Caesar, he gathered wood for a camp fire. In this process he was bitten by a viper [Acts 28:1-6]. Even though he shook it off into the fire, those from the Malta population around him were startled that he did not dminiJimie. At first, in verse 4, they thought Paul “to be a murderer” and their superstitions considered the snake bite an omen and him a “dead man.”    However, he simply shakes the viper off into the fire and continues unaffected. The local natives who lived on the Island of Malta then thought him a god. Both of their assumptions were based upon weak knowledge, superstition, and past experience.

There is no later mention, message or proclamation by Paul that this is due to his faith and that this should now be a test of one’s belief in Jesus Christ. He did not seek to prove anything and had just saved his prison guards from a shipwreck. This happened while he was serving not seeking. As Bill Muehlenburg puts it, Paul was not “majoring in a minor principle” for living a life in Jesus.

The real danger in this passage is to think the successful practice of snake handling snake handlingis some form of proof of one’s faith. Some churches in the South do precisely this. Many good intending men (and women) have died, one might say, in his or her misunderstanding of a minor incident per scripture and attempting to major in it as a routine church-sanctioned practice; just like the Malta Islanders who witnessed this event by the campfire swung from one unproven expectation to another false conclusion. Miraculous yet minor incidents in scripture should never become major practices or theological planks.

This instance is only mentioned as one incident in the travels and life of Paul (Acts 16:18). It also may be based upon and incorrectly juxtaposing a supposition from Mark 16:18. Mark is the first New Testament book ever written. There is even strong theological thought that Mark 16:8 was actually the end of Mark’s passage in chapter 16. Mark 16: 9-20 seems out of place from the previous 8 verses since it is based upon a suddenly hurried shorthanded coverage of events. Some translations don’t even mention the verses in 16:9-18. The ESV, GNB, Wescott-Hort Greek New Testament, and the Lexham English Bible, to mention but a few, put these verses and passage in [brackets] to denote the possibility these were inserted by someone else at a later date. The Book of Mark is the ONLY synoptic gospel to record this account.

NOTE: Scripture is inerrant however, those who translate it can be in error. Some may even have an agenda for so doing. Study, Study, Study to show one’s self approved [2 Timothy 2:15]; begin with awareness, next step is to study for understanding, only then comes personal conviction of accept or reject what one was originally and only recently made aware. A jump from awareness or introduction to new information to conviction misses the critical step of study or understanding. Knowledge without understanding is very dangerous ground. Such is the original basis of ‘jumping to a conclusion.’

The reference in Mark 16:9-20, whether he actually wrote it, is often a situation of reading the text outside of its own context. In verse 14 we read that whomever, presumably Jesus, is addressing “the eleven and their unbelief” of it being Him who appeared to them. His statement per “the eleven” becomes what is ­­-called in grammar, an antecedent to the “believers” mentioned in verses 16 and 17. These men were not without fault. They were sitting at their tables not even remembering that Jesus promised his resurrection would be three days after his crucifixion. In verse 14 Jesus rebukes their unbelief. Yes, some of these guys were in unbelief. Then, in the following verses (16 and 17), talking to the same eleven and knowing the free will of man has not been removed, Jesus says “those who remain as unbelievers will not have this power that is mentioned in the following verses” (my paraphrase). But, those who with their free will decide to totally believe, to them will be given the powers to overcome the things mentioned in verses 17 and 18.

Once again to address a previous article about what some call grave-sucking. This was an Old Testament one-time occurrence that was NOT intended for anything but to fulfill a promise made to Elisha and to get this dead guy out of the way so the other Israelis could flee the scene. It was nothing other than an act of urgency. Just as with snake handling, and the rest of Mark 16: 17, 18 which is only discussed in the Book of Mark. The eleven were protected, but were not instructed to practice this to prove anything. There is real caution and danger of practicing “grave sucking” to supposedly absorb the spirit of the deceased. A person is opening one’s self up to be dwelt by a spirit or spirits. Who can control what type or kind of spirits may leverage this opportunity. As Christians we already have the indwelling of the most powerful Spirit; i.e. the Holy Spirit.

Revelation Study 2015

Revelation Study 2015jStark3

Date line May 19, 2015

A senior House of Representatives Democrat said Tuesday [May 2015] that the White House’s description of supposed progress in the war against the Islamic State should ring “alarm bells,” and called the fall of the city of Ramadi to the extremists “a very serious and significant setback.” [emphasis mine]

“I don’t think we’re losing the war, but I don’t think we’re making tremendous progress either,” Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, told reporters.

It is common knowledge to those who search for it, the world troubles have centered around the Middle East for centuries if not a couple of millennia. I like how T.O.W. editor Chris? put it; when John noted the “end is near, he didn’t mean he would see end time but that the Kingdom of God is ‘in your face’”. One better be prepared. I remember as a Boy Scout, the motto “Be Prepared.” What has changed? Nothing has so being prepared is always in our face.

The late John Walvoord of author and research fame at Dallas Theological Seminary, in one of his books on Revelation, he notes the following chapter by chapter identities:

Brief on Revelation:

  1. The Thing That You Have Seen
  2. The Letters to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, and Thyatira
  3. The Letters to Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea
  4. The Church in Heaven
  5. The Lamb and the Seven-Sealed Book
  6. The Beginning of the Great Day of God’s Wrath
  7. The Saints of the Great Tribulation
  8. The Seventh Seal and the Beginning of the Trumpets
  9. The Fifth and Sixth Trumpets: The First and Second Woes
  10. The Mighty Angel with the Little Scroll
  11. The Two Witnesses and the Seventh Trumpet
  12. The Conflict in Heaven and on Earth
  13. The Two Beasts
  14. The Victory of the Lamb and His Followers
  15. The Vision of the Seven Last Plagues
  16. The Bowls of God’s Wrath
  17. The Destruction of Ecclesiastical Babylon
  18. The Fall of Babylon
  19. The Second Coming of Christ
  20. The Reign of Christ
  21. The New Heaven and the New Earth
  22. Concluding Revelations and Exhortations

Note that the late John Walvoord, as do I (this site’s author), believe the church is GONE in chapter 4. I suggested in my previous Revelation posting that the church rapture happens between the end of chapter 3 and 4:2 of Revelation.

Chapter 4 is a description of Heaven itself. This is what the redeemed will see upon his or her arrival at the “pearly Gates”. If Walvoord describes chapter 4 as “the church in heaven” and chapter 4 is a detailed description of heaven, the supposition that a chapter 4 church rapture is near if not ON the bull’s eye.

Today I wish to challenge each reader with the some of the arguments against a pre-tribulation point of view. Revelation Commentary.org is a good example. Their research and articles are well written, reasonably sensible, but dead set against pre-tribulation. Here is their scriptural argument against a pre-tribulation view point. …and I quote:

“There are at least nine different references to the church in Revelation 4-19:

  1. Every tribe and tongue and people and nation, 5:9c
  2. A kingdom and priest, 5:10
  3. Fifth seal martyrs, 6:9
  4. A multitude, 7:9; 19:5-6
  5. Bond-servants, 11:18; 19:2, 5
  6. Our brethren, 12:10
  7. The rest of her children, 12:17
  8. Saints, 13:7, 10; 14:12; 18:20, 24
  9. Wife, 19:7” (end quote)

(We will discuss the first 7 as all are self-evident to be out of context when examined)

Source: http://www.revelationcommentary.org/04_chapter.html

Let’s look at seven of their supposed points used to contest pre-tribulation views.

First, recall that the restrainer, often referred to as the Holy Spirit, is part of the God-head. That means he is omnipresent. He is everywhere all the time and cannot be denied existence. II Thessalonians 2:5-8 is as good of a reference to this part of study as any. It says:

2Th 2:5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?

2Th 2:6 And now ye know what withholds that he might be revealed in his time.

2Th 2:7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.(study note: what v6; he v7)

…until he is taken out of the way.” Without getting too theologically steeped in Greek, there are a few things to consider per the Greek. As always, when something of fact is stated in the Bible or life itself, look for the context. In scripture study, read and study the pre and post verses. In life events, be more than simply aware of something; include understanding and find convincing evidence that one has the facts within and around the issue of concern or study.

In II Thessalonians 2 Paul is warning those in Thessalonica, and alerting us who are currently alive. To be “taken out of the way” in no way suggests that the restrainer is removed from the scene. Many times in watching football, a defensive back is “taken out of the way” by a blocker. This doesn’t mean he was no longer in the game. The same is true here. The restrainer withholding the wicked one is no longer doing so. He is omnipresent so he is still present. But, and this is a significant BUT, the wicked one (Satan) is given opportunity for 42 months to fulfill scripture and prophecy without the imposing of restraints.

I point out that there are many interpretations or views as to who is or what might be the restrainer. The Greek for restrainer is ka-te’-kho. It simply means “to hold back.”

A photo of some handcuffs with a restrain theme

The Greek for restrainer is ka-te’-kho. It simply means “to hold back.” The English restrain as you see defined in this IMAGE is similar but not the same.

Regardless of any who or what, God’s will or word is good enough to withhold the evil one. As is the warning by the Apostle Paul, the restraints on Satan, the lawless one and/or the anti-Christ or dragon are withdrawn for but a season. This in NO WAY means the omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent God is gone. People will recognize Christ as Savior during the tribulation, but that will mean they become the focus for elimination by the evil one.

Here we discuss one-by-one, published arguments against pre-tribulationism:

Argument #1 against pre-tribulation: Every tribe and tongue and people and nation, 5:9c

To simplify the challenge of this argument against pre-tribulation, read the next verse. It is a continuation of verse 9 so should be read as one statement or sentence.. 10 “…and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” This is not a reference to saints during the Tribulation time, but during the Millennial Reign of Christ on earth; His earthly millennial kingdom reign. This argument is taken out of context. Go back to my warning above; “…until he is taken out of the way.” Where the restrainer was taken out of the way for a season, Satan is now taken out of the way for the 1,000 year reign of Christ from Jerusalem.

Argument #2 against pre-tribulation: A kingdom and priest, v10 of chapter 5

The same counter for argument #1 also addresses #2 in any doctrinal stance against pre-trib. This passage is not a reference to the church at all. It is post Tribulation era scripture; Christ’s kingdom on earth in Jerusalem. The end of this verse states… “and they shall reign ON EARTH.” Is there even a shred of evidence prior to or during the Great Tribulation “priests to our God” are reigning on earth? NONE! Therefore either the church (believers in Jesus Christ) have been redeemed and have returned to earth with Christ, or there is no meeting Christ in the clouds; i.e. a rapture.

Argument #3 against pre-tribulation: Fifth seal martyrs, 6:9

“When he opened the 5th seal, I saw under the alter souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne.”

This passage is post-rapture and mid-tribulation. The evil one, Satan, anti-Christ or the dragon will target any new Christians who accept Christ as savior during the Great Tribulation. Those identified in this passage are those who accept Christ during the tribulation. The supposed ‘wonder of peace and understanding,’ Satan himself is initially disguised as a redeemer and peacemaker; somewhat tolerant until the mid-point of 3 ½ years into the Tribulation. It is these Christians John sees “…under the alter.” If this is not so, then those who believed and trusted in Jesus Christ but were not “slain for the word of God” they are not and never were/are souls under the alter. This of itself highly suggests these poor souls not under the alter never had a relationship with Jesus Christ as his or her savior. They are as lost as the heathen who openly rejects such a plan of salvation.

The Holy Spirit is still present, but the restraining of Satan is temporarily set aside. Yes, the souls under the alter, slain during the tribulation cry out “…how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on earth?” These souls are those slain during the tribulation. Since the church has already been raptured, the souls of the tribulation Christians remain (under the alter) until the 2nd advent and millennial reign of Jesus Christ.

Look at the obvious in the words found in 6:9 themselves… under the alter? There is no new alter or Tabernacle in presently in Jerusalem, not until the first half of the Tribulation. This reference can’t be the souls since the beginning of time or the church age; i.e. the rapture has occurred. It is a reference to those who actually suffered death under the rule of the evil-one and during the Great Tribulation when the restrainer is temporarily set aside. It is their souls who cry out to the Lord for vengeance (Greek: dispotace); 2nd advent and their redemption.

Again my apology for the Greek lesson but it is noteworthy here. The words “on them” in the Greek is apo. It means a separation from the whole; whole what? Answer: Man-kind! It is the TIME when the restraining power imposed on Satan, anti-Christ, dragon or whatever, is separated from mankind as a whole. Why this distinction? John is pointing out that the whole is no longer on earth. It is Satan against the Christians who accept Christ during the Tribulation but not yet redeemed as is the Christian church at the rapture. They are waiting for the 2nd advent and their release from the grave.. under the alter.. Another point is a promise made in Old Testament times and New Testament times: Deuteronomy 31:8 (O.T.) and Hebrews 13:5 (N.T.). “I will never leave nor forsake you.” If the church is redeemed/raptured before the tribulation, God keeps his promise since he has raptured the church.

JIV NOTE: The Hebrew for forsake is ‛âzab meaning ‘depart from or leave behind.’ In the Greek, forsake is egkataleipō meaning ‘to leave in straits or helpless.’

Argument #4a & b against pre-tribulation: A multitude, 7:9; 19:5-6

Talk about taking something out of context… WOW!!! Pure deception; the truth but not the whole truth is being stated as an argument against a pre-tribulation rapture of the Christian body of Christ sometimes poorly understood when called the church. This is gross evidence of out of context. Reading the passage content to grasp the context we see that this is a gathering around the Throne of Christ. This has nothing to do with refuting or challenging a pre-tribulation point of view. It is an event yet to happen in the timeline of God. Verse 14 says: “These (the multitude) coming out of the great tribulation…” Out of the great tribulation means those who were in the tribulation plus those who are redeemed before the tribulation. There is no way to consider this being the church alone. It specifically identifies the multitude as those who have accepted Christ as messiah (Hebrew children) and savior (Gentiles) DURING the tribulation. These are the people Left Behind and who now understand the facts of redemption.

7:9 This multitude in verse 9 is standing before the Throne of Christ. Whether one holds a pre, mid, or post Tribulation rapture point of view, all agree the “standing before the Throne” is AFTER the Great Tribulation. This verse is not evidence that pre-tribulation is either right or wrong. It also does nothing to support a mid or post-tribulation point of view.

JIV CAUTION: Don’t be party to those who listen and do not bother to double check the presented information or even turn to the reference in Bible. This includes my statements.

STUDY THE WORD for yourself!

STUDY THE WORD for yourself!

19:5-6 (multitude argument)

V5… And from the throne came a voice saying, “Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, small and great.”

V6… Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns.
Verse 4 states that it is the 24 elders and the four ‘living creatures’ who now bow down in worship and it is to them that the voice gives the command to shout out. This may, but I do not know, include the angels of heaven who continuously support the God-head. Angels are often referred to as a multitude or great multitude. (One example: Luke 2:13; ESV. The NIV uses the term ‘company’)

Back up to verse 1…After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven” [ESV]. Quickly ask ones’ self, after what? Answer: After the judgment of the harlot and from those souls under the alter asking for vengeance. What connection can anyone who is anti-pre-tribulation suggest to glean evidence that this somehow disproves a pre-tribulation point of view? In both verse 1 and verse 5, John identifies this sound “as what seemed to be the voice (NOT VOICES) of a great multitude.

This voice shouting out is IN HEAVEN. If it is the church shouting out, it is obvious the church is IN HEAVEN. It could also mean the all of the heavenly host is shouting in ONE accord.

Argument #5 against pre-tribulation: Bond-servants, 11:18; 19:2, 5

Who are the bond-servants and when is this era during God’s *time-table? Go back in this passage to better understand this scriptural context and what it reveals:

*JIV NOTE: time is a creation of God (Genesis 1:4). In God’s plan for His creation(s) we must speak of events, not time-tables.

Rev 11:1 Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff, and I was told, “Rise and measure the (1) temple of God and the (2) altar and (3) those who worship there,

Rev 11:2 (a continuation from v1) but do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for forty-two months.

This era in bible history, now known as prophecy is yet to be played out. 11:3 specifies this prophecy is while the two witnesses from heaven are on the scene in Jerusalem witnessing. It is during the first half of the Tribulation period of seven years (Daniel’s 70th week). Verse 19 states that the Temple in heaven is opened.

A great personal side study can be found at: http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/revelation/revelation-11/revelation-11-2.html

Chapter 20, another review of God’s divine plan, explains that this is the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem and the beginning of open war between the power of darkness and Jesus Christ. There is additional symbolism where Revelation 12:6 states that she fled to the wilderness after her son was “caught up to God and to HIS throne.” Again, the simple question is… what has this to do with a pre-tribulation rapture of the church be it a correct or incorrect view when the scripture used to support an anti-pre-tribulation view isn’t even discussing the church?

Verse 7 of chapter 12 is quite plain. Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back…, “
A quick review before plowing forward: this passage takes us back to when Satan and his rebelling angels (followers) were cast from heaven to earth. This explains Satan’s domain on earth. But, verse 10 of chapter 12 adds a summation of then and the soon-to-be New NOW!

And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, (Lord’s Prayer: thy kingdom come, they will be done on earth as it is [after Satan was cast out] as it is in heaven) emphasis mine. When Christ returns to earth his will is done on earth. He is of the Tribe of Judah, the line of King David, and from whom the scepter will never be removed; Genesis 49:10. Geological fact: When Christ returns to earth he will stand on the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4) and it will divide to the north and the south. Geologists have determined that there is a natural fault line precisely as Zechariah describes a split in the mount; i.e. Valley of Megiddo.
JIV NOTE: Armageddon??? The geological institute in Tel Aviv discovered a major fault line running right through the Mount of Olives. It takes a line from the Mount Olives over to the Kidron valley all the way into the valley of Hinnom . The fault line follows the Kidron Brook which empties into the Dead Sea.

Read http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/israel-s-largest-underground-water-source-discovered-near-jerusalem-convention-center-1.365216 for additional secular facts to back up other prophecies of the New Jerusalem.
Conclusion? The casting from heaven and the roaming to and fro of Satan on earth is viewed by John. He will later have additional insights per the continuation of events during the Tribulation We will discuss them later in our study. One might easily put Revelation 11:18 in a predestination category. Remember that John is viewing multiple future events: past, present, and future while getting a lesson and review of how it all began. This helps John see the whole picture and probably why he had to “SEAL UP” some of these predestined events until they are revealed on God’s sequence of events. Perhaps since tears are not wiped from our eyes until chapter 21, we too will get a heaven-side view as did John of *events during the tribulation. *Events are all played out prior to “the wiping of all tears from our eyes.

19:2 & 5 “ …for his judgments are true and just; for he has judged the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her immorality, and has avenged on her the blood of his *servants.”

*The bond-servant argument against pre-tribulation views; i.e. “servants” in the above are those souls under the throne; those who follow Christ during the 7 year tribulation.
The judgment of the great prostitute is a foregone conclusion; again, a judgment yet to happen but unavoidable by Satan’s team of deceivers. This is what predestination actually means. Just as Christians are predestined or appointed of God that once we accept Christ as our Lord and savior, we are predestined to be(come) sons and daughters of God the Father. The avenging on her the blood of his servants is a post judgment that has already been determined by God the Father. This is a historical event that is to come. This is another example of trying to disprove pre-tribulation by not understanding or deliberately avoid the context of the passage.

Argument #6 against pre-tribulation: Our brethren, 12:10

…for the accuser of our *brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. *accusing since the Book of job to the present.
How this is an argument against pre-tribulation is a mystery to me. Adam, Methuselah, Noah, Seth and Shem, Abraham, and John himself are “our brethren.” So is the Christian reader of this document. Satan began accusing God’s human creation at the Garden of Eden with the deception of Eve. So what’s new? This doesn’t even qualify as a receptacle capable of holding any argument against pre-tribulation beliefs. This isn’t a stretch of the truth, whole truth and nothing but the facts; it is total bible revision in an attempt too make it fit some ones doctrinal platform or plank in his or her denominational platform. I am almost embarrassed to assess their shallow claim as evidence presented to refute pre-tribulation. Context, context, context. Did I mention context?
Argument #7 against pre-tribulation: the rest of her children; 12:17 (our final review for this blog)

“Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the *commandments of God and hold to the **testimony of Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea.”

*The commandments of God (Old Testament)

**Testimony of Jesus (New Testament)

Once again we need to understand the history that is here being played out. This is all about the Nation of Israel. The “woman” gave birth to a son. Then she fled to the desert just as Joseph and Marry fled to Egypt to avoid the death order of King Herod on all children under the age of 2. This is paralleled in the Old Testament when the Pharaoh gave orders to kill all children under the age of two when hearing about the birth of Moses. This woman in Revelation is symbolic of Mary who gave birth to the future Messiah of Israel and the one who provided the plan for salvation. Jesus was taken to heaven until the fruition of end time is ordained of God the Father. Mary and Joseph are from the Tribe of Judah. Her offspring are the Jews as they are identified today.

This covenant between God and Israel is exclusive to them. The church does not fit into this passage even with a stretched but well intending imagination. The Judeo-Christians of end time see the errors of their ways. They become followers of the real Messiah. Satan, who is not then restrained, will try to destroy them. This takes us to the great war against Israel when the nations of this world align themselves against her; the *200,000,000 man army outside the walls of Jerusalem. We can see this happening on the news of today as world opinions are turning against Israel. The pieces are falling into place, but this argument of making war against her offspring as proof the church still on earth is shallow at best. There has been “offspring” since Adam and Eve yet God flooded the world on “some of her offspring.”

*Revelation 9: 14-16… This passage alone is a huge challenge to those who want to suggest that the church is referenced in Revelation chapters 4-19 and there is no pre-tribulation church rapture. This huge army does not align itself against the church for one good reason; it is no longer here. Only Israel remains as part of God’s elect and chosen.

Conclusion: I do the research and report. YOU decide. Maybe you should also do some research and not take anyone’s opinion for an eternal yet very personal decision. The Tribulation and God’s judgment is not a laughing or “for discussion” only issue or possibility. It is not a matter of IF, but of WHEN. When ‘when’ becomes “the when,” it becomes a then and no longer a choice.

Keep up with this study and learn.

Dr. Jstark
May 2015

Fitness – Team Work – Playing the Game

jStark3Charles Spurgeon once stated: “A time will come when instead of shepherds feeding the sheep, the church will have clowns entertaining the goats (Spurgeon)”

What Charles Spurgeon said is serious and should *rock the membership of churches, church boards, pastor associations, and quite frankly… the graves of our founding fathers. Many, far too many churches have become lighthouse clubs instead of lighthouse stations. Meeting to entertain as Charles Spurgeon phrased it; not meeting to exercise our Christian duty, our spiritual gift(s) and to bring in the poor and needy souls from the neighborhood.

*At minimum it should disturb church boards enough to take inventory and assess their church goals and attitudes.

The Olympics, yes even those in London, 2012, can be a solid set of lessons for all God-centered churches and Kingdom Minded men and women. Every Olympian has three things in common:

1. They are physically fit and work at it daily.
2. They understand that they are part of a team
3. They know their role, team position and in what part of the Olympics they are qualified to compete.

No one can compete, that is, expect to be competitive, if s/he is not Physically fit to compete. It is all part of preparation for the event.  How does one prepare? Practice – practice – practice, but there is more too being prepared. I recall as a youngster joining the Boy Scouts of America. The Scout Motto, at least in the 1950’s was “Be Prepared”. We spent many a weekend and during our weekly scout meetings learning and preparing for life, survival skills, personal hygiene, respect for authority, listening then doing, exercising, and becoming prepared.

The Apostle Paul and others in the Bible use physical activity (sports) as an example of how we are to live the Christian life. A few examples include:

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7)

You were running the race well. Who cut in on you and stopped you from obeying the Truth”? (Galatians 5:7; ISV)

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Heb. 12:1).

“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.” (1 Corinthians 9:24)

Sometimes rather than run the race we simply sit in the stands, sometimes cheer; even offering suggestions as to how the athlete or team could have done better. We sound like the expert but in reality have never left the rocking chair, pew, stadium benches or *quit somewhere along the way.

*Quitting? I recall the story about an Olympic runner from Britain in the 1992 Olympics.

Britain’s Derek Redmond had dreamed all his life of winning a gold medal in the 400-meter race, and his dream was in sight as he ran in the semifinals at the Barcelona Olympics of 1992. He was running the race of his life and was nearing the finish line when all of a sudden he felt a sharp pain go up the back of his leg. He fell face first onto the track with a torn right hamstring.

As the doctors were approaching, Redmond fought to his feet and began hopping to the finish line. When he reached the stretch, a large man in a T-shirt came out of the stands, brushed aside a security guard and ran to Redmond, embracing him. It was Jim Redmond, Derek’s father. “You don’t have to do this,” he told his weeping son. “Yes, I do,” said Derek. “Well, then,” said Jim, “We’re going to finish this together.”

And they did. Fighting off security men, the son’s head sometimes buried in his father’s shoulder, they stayed in Derek’s lane all the way to the end, as the crowd rose and clapped and wept.

Derek didn’t walk away with the gold medal, but he was a winner because he did His best. In a sense, he also didn’t “walk” away from his sense of duty to finish the race just as the Apostle Paul tells us in Galatians 5:7. Paul never intended his words in 1 Corinthians 9:4 to mean if we can’t win the prize, then give up. God measures us by our effort. Quitting, never getting out of the start gate or off the star-blocks is not an option.Finish Banner (clipping path included)

Go back to 2 Timothy 4:7. The Apostle Paul is speaking in the past-tense meaning he did his best while he could. We know from history that Paul would become one of the first Christian martyrs of the Roman Emperor Nero. Paul also knew that not only his career, but his life was about over. His race had been run. This is why he speaks in the past-tense in this verse. He didn’t quit. His race was over. He was in prison soon to be executed. He ran and hobbled at times to the very end.

The passage in 1 Corinthians 9:24 has been, and continues to be, used as an excuse by pew-dwellers to remain on the sidelines in our Christian living and the use of their Spiritual Gift within the local congregation. I must ask him or her to read 1 Corinthians chapters 12-14; Romans chapter 12; Ephesians chapter 4; and 1 Peter chapter 4. Each of these chapters tells us to USE our gift from the Holy Spirit while on earth; to live a life worth living; to be Kingdom Minded.

Being prepared or “fit” in a spiritual sense means to be studied in the Word and having a prayer life with both being daily exercises. Studied in the Word is much more than listening to a Sunday sermon or daily (hopefully at the minimum) devotions. Being studied means at minimum knowing the scriptures required to lead another lost soul to Christ and being a true lighthouse for God; a lighthouse that , like in Matthew 5:14 cannot be missed.

“Ye are the light of the world. A city set on a hill or mountainside cannot be hidden”.

The second common fact of all Olympians is that they understand that they are part of a team. The Olympian may be in a solo competition, but s/he did not get their alone. There are those who gave financial backing, moral support and let’s not forget the trainer(s). There are the members of the Olympic team who encourage and assist with another’s training when needed.

Christians have the same responsibility within the local church. We may not be the one actually running the race, but our spiritual gift may not be that particular role. But we have a role and that is not to be a spectator.

Here is my very brief point on TEAM WORK: It is possible for a church to get too dependent on pastors, and then we forget that we are really part of a team called the Body of Christ. If we think that the minister is the player, God is the coach, and the congregation is the crowd of spectators, we’ve got it wrong; very wrong and there is no scripture to support such a thought. In reality and as God/Christ ordained it, the whole congregation, those claiming to be believers, is the team, the pastor is the coach – God is the team owner and the local neighborhood and the world itself is the audience. I might suggest that the real question is – are you a member of the team?

If you are not a Christian; i.e. a member of the team (body of believers in Christ), you are not even in the race. You have no hope to stand in the victory circle to receive your crown of life. I encourage you to give your life to the Lord today, by *believing in Jesus, turn away from your sins, confessing your faith in Jesus and be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins.

*To believe that there is/was a Jesus, that there is/was a supreme being; i.e. God, is in itself is not enough. Even demons, fallen angels, believe there is a God, Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ (James 2:19). You will have eternity one way or the other. The only option is which eternity? Heaven or Hell? Blunt? Yes, but we are not talking about the Olympians at this moment. We are talking about your future… after death. Denial of such a thing changes nothing. If I am wrong, then that is it; it is all over. If you are wrong, well… eternity awaits your arrival, but which one?

Getting back on track; Christians are to be an active member of a local church body and team. We must use our spiritual gift within that local body of believers and let others use their spiritual gift(s). We are not all an eye or a foot, but we are all a functioning member of one body (1 Corinthians 12:12).

Occupying several square inches of a pew or seat in a local church, even if it is every week, is not a demonstration of our faith as true believers. James tries to make this clear in his Epistle by telling us that faith without works is dead. The word faith in the Greek, pistis, means to give credence to our claim; wearing the uniform of our team; using our Spiritual Gift(s) for the church/kingdom.

The word ‘dead’ in the Greek as written in James 2:17 is nekros. It means… It doesn’t really exist. I have a particular love for how the NIV writes it: “In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”  In other words… our faith without works to demonstrate our faith is not very convincing to those around us (the audience) yet alone to our own being. Put in an Olympic or any other sport term, simply stating that one is on a team does not demonstrate that s/he really is on that team. Where is the evidence?

Christ gave up his human life as a sacrifice for our eternity with Him in Heaven. He is the only passage. John 14:6 and John 15:13 make this very clear. This may be a poor comparison of His sacrifice for us but I recall a news story from 1987:

On August 16, 1987, Northwest Airlines flight 225 crashed just after taking off from the Detroit airport, killing 155 people.
One survived: a four-year-old from Tempe, Arizona, named Cecelia. News accounts say when rescuers found Cecelia they did not believe she had been on the plane. Investigators first assumed Cecelia had been a passenger in one of the cars on the highway onto which the airliner crashed. But when the passenger register for the flight was checked, there was Cecelia’s name.

Cecelia survived because, even as the plane was falling, Cecelia’s mother, Paula Chican, unbuckled her own seat belt, got down on her knees in front of her daughter, wrapped her arms and body around Cecelia, and then would not let her go.
Nothing could separate that child from her parent’s love—neither tragedy nor disaster, neither the fall nor the flames that followed, neither height nor depth, neither life nor death.

Such is the love of our Savior for us. He left heaven, lowered himself to us, and covered us with the sacrifice of His own body to save us.

Finally, knowing our position on the team: Can one imagine the looks on the faces of fans, coaches and other Olympic competitors if Michael Phelps, the great USA Olympic swimmer, was seen lined up for the 1500 meter foot race or the pole vault? Neither sport is one for which he is qualified. We must know our position in Christ and within the local church body. As believers, we all have specific roles to play. However a foot is not an eye just as a great swimmer, though physically fit and wearing the uniform of the team he represents is not the one we want running the 1500 meter foot race or the pole vault. Neither are his or her gift or talent.

Bible study keeps us spiritually fit. The Apostle Paul tells us how to be a team. But as disciples on earth and the working body of Christ, God tells us what the game is and our role through the spiritual gift(s) of each believer. Alas, EVERY BELIEVER has what his and her responsibility to and in the Church… YOUR CHURCH. Don’t get caught up in image building responsibilities. One spiritual gift is not superior to another. The Apostle Paul writes on this but the passage in Matthew 6:1 comes to mind:
Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.”

Matthew, talking directly to the Jews at this point but inferring it to all, is saying, if we want the prime jobs of recognition in any church body so that others will oooh and awwww at our position, we have already been rewarded. God owes us nothing additional once in heaven.

Let me conclude this written message by citing something I recently read on the Internet published by Grace Communion International. I know little about them but in this following quote, they have it right.

“We have come to a greater awareness of the spiritual gifts God gives his people. We understand from Scripture some basic points:

• Every Christian believer has at least one spiritual gift, usually two or three.

• Every believer should be using his or her gifts to serve others in the church.

• No member has all the gifts, so we need each other.

• No [single] gift is given to all members of one local body/church. (emphasis mine)

• God decides who receives which gift(s).

Every member ought to be involved in some ministry, some area of service (“ministry” refers to all types of service, not just pastoral work). Every Christian should be using his or her gifts to serve others “for the common good” (1 Cor. 12:7; 1 Pet. 4:10)”.Support

In other words, our role (3rd point) on the team is to support one another.

-Dr. jStark