Foreword:

Ever wonder what God might have to say to YOU today? Here are things to ponder, and things to receive into your heart. If you have a question, put it in the comments. I respond as much as I can.

A note for all my readers: I've been experimenting with YouTube videos for Bible teaching for a while, and I'm working through Revelation here. My YouTube videos are currently short studies in Matthew, and at present I'm posting videos on Revelation as well. Both appear on the blog, which is turning into a Vlog. I encourage you to subscribe to my YouTube channel for better coverage.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Revelation 12-19: Does WHO you worship really matter?

In my daily Bible reading, I've been going through the prophets--you know, those guys named Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and so forth ("and so forth" is a compendium of 13 prophets...). One of the things I keep hearing from atheists and agnostics is that "it doesn't matter IF I worship God, or whom I worship." This runs completely counter to the statements of the prophets, all of whom categorically reject that idea.
From other religions, and some Christians, I hear "All roads lead to the same place," and "It's more important THAT you worship than WHO you worship. There are many other similar statements, and they can all be described as, "Which god? Doesn't matter."

If you are a Christian, I hope you have the good sense to reject this asinine drivel. In this post, I want to discuss how GOD looks at people who worship other gods than Him. So here are some passages:

1. The first commandment, of the 10: "You shall have no other gods before Me." True, this was written to the nation of Israel, but we stand in the same line, and almost all Christians agree that the 10 Commandments are important.

2. The "Great Commandment:" When Jesus was asked, "What is the first (foremost) and Great Commandment, He answered: "You shall love the LORD your God (insert Yahweh/Jehovah here) with all your heart, soul, mind and strength." Jesus did not say, I might point out, that "You should love your 'Higher Power...'" or that you should "love whatever god you worship..." HE said, "You shall love the Lord your God..." That is a specific person. It is not just anybody.

3. Jesus taught that there was only one way to God, and it was Him: He said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; NOBODY comes to the Father, except through ME." (John 14:6, for those who don't want to look it up).

4. Paul, the great apostle to the Gentiles, specifically connected rejecting the God of the Bible to terrible moral and spiritual decline. See Romans 1:
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.
20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

The final result is here, in his conclusion:

28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper,
29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips,
30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents,
31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful;

32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.

This conclusion is one of the most damning passages in the history of mankind, because as Paul wrote this, he was in Corinth, no doubt watching all the things that happened in the city he was in on a daily basis, and concluding that the rejection of God was behind all the evil in the world.

5. John the Apostle says the same thing in John 3:
19 "This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.
An evil heart is at the root of the rejection of God, and the result of that rejection is more evil, until the person and his society is utterly consumed.

This all comes to a head in Revelation 12-19, where the worship of God (the God of the Bible) is rejected by most of the world, and Christians and Jews are "outed" as the real cause of all the world's problems (classic method of "deflection," here), so much so that they are persecuted and must go into hiding.
At the same time, the Dragon empowers the Antichrist, who comes into power and displays himself as God. In addition, much of the world's population worship the Dragon himself, and they accept an identifying mark that makes them his servants, his possession.

Now if it really did not matter who you worship, then Dragon-worship would be just fine and have no consequence, only benefits. However, Dragon-worship is what brings all the judgments of Revelation. Why is that?

Well, folks, the reality is that when you worship some other entity than the God of the Bible and His Son Jesus Christ, you really are fulfilling the Dragon's plans for you, and you will pay for that.

The very idea that God will judge the world is currently derided and laughed at by many, but all we need to say about this is, "Wait and see."

Here are some of the results that arise from "Dragon worship..."
1. Dragon-worship makes you hate and persecute Christians (Revelation 12:17, 13:6-8. Dragon-worship is the real source of persecution, whatever anyone may say.

2. When the end-game occurs, it will make you willing to accept the "mark of the Beast," in order to buy and sell. Accepting that mark is the single most destructive thing you can do to your own soul. It finalizes your commitment to the Dragon and to the Antichrist, and puts you eternally at odds with the True and Living God.

3. Dragon-worship will curse you, and make you unable to stand before God in the final judgment and you will be destroyed. Revelation 14:9.

4. It will make you the recipient of awful judgments that fall only on the Dragon-worshippers. Revelation 15:1-11,17-21.

5. It will make you wail, weep and find no relief when Jesus Christ returns. Revelation 1:7, 19:12-21.

Had enough? If I'm talking to you, and you happen to be reading this and raging over it because you think I'm an insufferable jerk and a liar and idiot and you wish I was dead, you've probably proved my point, at least in part.

I'm actually your friend. I'm telling you what will happen if you DON'T worship God and His Son Jesus Christ. He is the ONLY way.

So why did I write all this?

Because I read the prophets recently, and most recently Ezekiel, and I once again discovered a truth that is as old as time itself: "Who you worship is everything." I watched, in my mind's eye, as Ezekiel went and discovered what his fellow Jews were doing in Jerusalem (See Ezekiel 8). I also watched as God responded to those evils (See Ezekiel 9)--how few were left alive, and how those who were still alive were subjected to intense misery and suffering (also see Lamentations).

A wise man once said, "God deferred His judgments against Israel and Judah for generations, sending them prophet after prophet, but judgment finally did come because the people wouldn't listen, and when it did come, it was utterly without pity." This is a true statement.

Ecclesiastes said, "Because sentence against an evil work is not swiftly executed, the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil."

You think that because judgment is deferred, it will never happen. WRONG.

You also think that it will "not be as bad as all that." Absolutely WRONG. It will be far worse than you imagine, far worse than any of the "dystopian futures" discussed in the current crop of sci-fi movies and series, far worse than the "Zombie Apocalypse," far worse than you ever dreamed, even in your worst nightmares
Endless terror.
Constant oppression.
Forced worship (of the Dragon).
Awful judgments.
And then if you survive all the rest, ...Armageddon, where the bodies heap up until there is no room, and finally, judgment by a God who has divested Himself of all mercy in your case, because you rejected Him and decided on the Dragon and his ways instead--and refused to listen when He begged you to turn to Him.
Do I want this to happen to you? NO.

The real question, though, is "Do you want it to happen to you?" You can avoid all this by turning to God. You may be persecuted, but that is much better than what awaits you if you reject God and His Son Jesus Christ.

Jesus said this: "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. (John 5:24)

What I want for you is that you decide to follow Jesus Christ completely, so that you do not experience all the evil that is in the Dragon's heart, and all the judgments God has for those who refuse Him. If you refuse God, disaster awaits. If you follow Him, heaven awaits. 

Pretty simple, isn't it?


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Dragon...Revelation 12:

As we move through this chapter, we'll see similar connections multiplied many times over, all pointing back to the Old Testament, and in most cases to a time millennia ago.

For now, a simple application: There are three hugely important things said about the Dragon in Rev. 12:
  1. He is AT WAR with humanity. Especially with all the "remnant of her seed"--that would be all who are the sons and daughters of God through Jesus Christ.
  2. He WILL come to earth, and that 3-1/2 year period will be like no other the world has ever seen.
  3. He IS DEFEATED. The Dragon's fury is the rage of a defeated foe, not the spoils-taking of a victor.
So who is he? Well...he's identified by the text as...
The Great Dragon...(12:9)
The Serpent of Old (ancient Serpent, See Genesis 3)...(12:9)
The devil...(12:9)
Satan...(12:9)
The Deceiver...(12:9)
The Accuser...(12:10)

In other words, the implacable, always evil adversary of God and humanity, the hater of all that is connected to God and good.

THIS is the personage who is cast out. No longer can he stand in God's presence, accusing you and me to God (see Job 1-2); no longer can he enter into God's presence after having been on the earth; no longer can he fight with the angels. He is finished. 
However, he does have a short time left on earth, and he uses it to his great advantage; in Revelation 13-19, he enables the rise of the Antichrist, stands behind the False Prophet and gives him his power, causes all the world to worship both him and the Antichrist, with the exception of those who choose Jesus Christ, and fills the world with even more evil than exists today. I remember back when the genocide was going on in Rwanda, and the comment was made, "It's as if all the demons in Hell have been let loose;" That was bad, but there it will actually be true. Satan and all his servants will be unleashed on the earth for "a short time." Satan's destruction is certain, but he definitely goes out with a "BANG!" He hopes to include YOU in that explosion.

I sincerely hope, that if you are alive at that time (and some of us may be), that you choose the living and true God, not the Antichrist and the Dragon.  They don't care what ultimately happens to you--they just want followers, so they can destroy them with their evil; God does care about you, and what happens to you. He wants you to come to Him. Only if you have rejected God and His Son will you believe in the Dragon and the Antichrist--and if you reject Jesus Christ, you WILL believe in the Dragon, because Scripture says, "God will send them strong delusion..." so that you will definitely be deceived if you reject Christ. Don't reject God. Choose Him. Choose Jesus Christ. Do it now!