Saturday, November 25, 2023

Safe From the Sickle - Part 1


Bobservations' Column
Titled - "Safe From the Sickle"
Written By: Pastor Bob Lawrenz

In Revelation 7, we were introduced to “The 144,000,” about whom there has been much speculation as to their identity over the years. For a while, one of the cults believed they were the 144,000. But when their numbers began to exceed that number, they realized that they had a problem, because only that number of them would be sealed to God. Additionally, this group was “of the Tribes of Israel,” and the cultists were not. God knows whom the sealed are, even if the Cults do not. And He is about to tell us more about them in Chapter 14 of Revelation.

Today we learn a little more about them as John takes us back to them. They were “sealed” by the Holy Spirit from among the 12 Tribes of Israel, twelve thousand from each Tribe. This assuredly means they are Jews.

Then what follows is an innumerable multitude of people from around the world singing God’s praises. It is a holy interlude, and the host of angels and the 24 Elders bowed and joined in singing praises to God in heaven. This large group is identified as the Tribulation Saints, having been saved through the great tribulation period, along with the 144,000.

The identity of this Remnant of 144,000 is vital in knowing from where this innumerable multitude has come. (Hint: the 12 Apostles followed Jesus.)

John then shifts our attention toward a great victory upon Earth.

While the Dragon, the Antichrist, and the False Prophet have been engaged in a Spiritual invasion on Earth, the seat of their power on Earth falls. God’s wrath has begun against an unbelieving world. The Valley of Megiddo becomes our new focal point. The Armies of the world converge. We may have more questions as we close chapter 14 this week, but like chapter 7, our questions will be answered in the chapters ahead. Scriptures will be fulfilled in the times ahead.

From Matthew 13:17 -

“For verily I say unto you, that many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them, and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.”

Bobservations' Column: Audio Version:

Sunday Morning's Audio Message:
Revelation 14:1-6 - "Safe from the Sickle" - Part 1

Summary/Bible Notes 

Today we will be looking at Revelation chapter 14.  It's important to recognize that the events described between chapters 11-16 are not in chronological order.  John's is introducing certain key figures and future events towards the end of the Great Tribulation.

As we begin today's study, we notice that John is again writing about a group of believers we've read about before.  They are the 144,000, sealed by God, and emerge triumphant at the end surviving Satan's wrath, and God's judgments upon this sinful world.  Along with them are a group of others, both Jews and Gentiles who are saved and survive the tribulation.  Jesus, along with the 144,000 sealed believers sing a song of praise to God standing upon Mount Zion.  What a picture of contrast between these sealed, spiritually pure believers like beacons of purity and light with those who bear the mark of the Antichrist and worship the beast.

These sealed saints sing a song of praise for their protection and triumph, it is the song of redemption.  The angels will join in along with the Old Testament saints, the raptured church and the redeemed tribulation martyrs.  All of heaven praising God for His redemptive work and the return of Jesus Christ. 

The 144,000 are characterized as the ones who "follow the Lamb."  They are completely devoted no matter the cost.  Matthew 16:24, 
" If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me."  

Next week, three angels deliver messages of warning and prophecy predicting God's impending judgment on sin and evil. Included in these statements is a comment about those who accepted the mark of the beast, described in chapter 13. Those who take that mark are bound for eternal damnation—they are not believers. This further supports the idea that the mark of the beast is not some casual, hidden concept. Those who take it will know they are rejecting God by doing so. This passage ends with a word of encouragement for Christians who suffer persecution for their faith (Revelation 14:6–13).

The last section of chapter 14 depicts Jesus holding a sickle—a farming tool used to cut plants during the harvest. This passage symbolizes the return of Jesus, and the subsequent battle, in terms of a grape harvest. Just as mature grapes are fat and full of juice, the wickedness of unbelievers on earth will have reached a peak at this moment. Just as a winepress crushes and shreds grapes to make wine, the wrath of God will tear apart those who fight against Christ at the end of the tribulation (Revelation 14:14–20).

Mount Zion (14:1) - The city of Jerusalem, where the Messiah will return and plant His feet.

144,000 (14:1) - These are the sealed Jewish believers, 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes of Israel. 

Father's Name (14:1) - This is the counterpart to the mark of beast; it is the stamp that will identify the 144,000 as belonging to God (see 13:6).

A New Song (14:3) - This is the song of redemption, which is being sun by all the redeemed saints in one gigantic choir.  All are rejoicing in worship and praise for the triumphant accomplishment of God's entire redemptive work before Christ's return. 

(14:4) - The 144,000 will all apparently be young Israelite men who have kept their sexual purity.  What a beautiful illustration of God's ability to keep believers remarkably pure in the midst of great difficulty.  These young men will have resisted the perverse system of the Antichrist, and the incredible pressure and temptation to give in.

Follow the Lamb - Unwavering loyalty to Jesus Christ no matter the cost.

Firstfruits (14:4) - These men are the "firstfruits" of the future redeemed Israel.  The are set apart for special service to God. 

No Guile (14:5) - These men speak God's truth accurately and precisely, and without exaggeration,

Everlasting Gospel (14:6) - This is the final, climactic reference to the gospel in the Bible.  It is called "everlasting," so it can be no different from the gospel preached by Paul.  In fact, it will be proclaimed by an angel from heaven, and Paul had specifically warned against any gospel preached by an angel if it was different from the gospel he preached (Galatians 1:8).  This is the good news concerning everlasting life and entrance into the kingdom of God.  He is urging the people of the world to change their allegiance from the beast to the Lamb.  It is also called in the New Testament the gospel of God, the gospel of Christ, the gospel of peace, the gospel of grace, the glorious gospel, and the gospel of the kingdom.  It is the good news that God saves by the forgiveness of sin and opens His kingdom to all who will repent and believe.  The whole world will hear the gospel preached as God graciously provides this final call.

Saturday, November 18, 2023

The False Prophet - Revelation 13 (part 2)

Bobservations' Column
Titled - "The False Prophet"
Written by: Pastor Bob Lawrenz

In recent weeks, we have been introduced to “The Dragon,” and to “The Beast.” These are roles for Satan and the Antichrist during the coming period of the Great Tribulation. Today we will be introduced to the third and final member of the Unholy Trinity. There is a pattern of deception and copycat fulfillment of God’s promises among false religions.

In the Bible’s historical Books, we learn of the many false prophecies made by a Jewish priesthood that led the people astray into idolatry. Our reading today covers one of the false prophets during the time of the Babylonian Captivity. False prophets were as numerous then as they are today. God has already judged them all. Their only hope today’s fakes is to repent, and convert to a belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. False prophets are the bane of God’s Word.

With the Babylonian captivity looming ahead for the Jews, all was falling down around them in Jerusalem. The false prophets told the people that all was OK.

God has no use for liars. And this third member of the Unholy Trinity is a religious leader who will lead people astray. He is known as The False Prophet in the coming chapters.

He is the final character in the copycat Unholy Trinity. The title of last week’s message was “Holy Men of God.” After today, we will have a picture of Satan empowering two “unholy men of Satan.” They receive their power and position from the highest member of their group, Satan, playing the role of The Dragon.

As we think of the advancements in technology, especially in the field of Artificial Intelligence I believe this is how the Unholy Trinity will dupe people to leave God behind, and worship a false god. When I think of AI, I can’t help but think of silk flowers. 40 years ago; they were introduced as artificial flowers. Fakes, Without a fragrance. Artificial. Easily identified upon inspection as not real! But today?

The coming deception will be easy for an already Christ-rejecting world to accept, as they bow and worship the Antichrist. It is the grand deception.

From 1 John 2:18,

“Little children, it is the last time: as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.”

Bobservations' Column: Audio Version:

Sunday Morning's Audio Message:
Revelation 13 (part 2) - "The False Prophet"

Summary/Bible Notes:  

Today we will be looking at part 2 of Revelation chapter 13. The message today is titled, "The False Prophet," the third and final evil character of the unholy trinity.

During the tribulation period, the world will be ruled by a godless man presiding over an evil governmental and religious system. This chapter associates this ruler with the terrible beast in Revelation and Daniel.

Revelation 12 brought the introduction of the Dragon, Satan, as he attempted to thwart God’s plan of redemption. He failed to destroy the promised Redeemer, the Messiah, and Jesus Christ the Son of God was born. Consequently, in anger, Satan declared war against the children of God.  Who are the children of God?  They are Believers, the Followers of Jesus Christ. The scene ends in Revelation 13:1 with the summoning of two beasts.  What is coming next? What is about to happen to those left upon the earth?

Last week we read about the first beast who rises out of the sea, the Antichrist.  This week we will read of the second beast who rises out of the earth, the False Prophet.

In the absence of the Church and the Holy Spirit, the unholy trinity will commit blasphemy against the Lord continuously and will establish the Antichrist's system, a one world system that will raise up the Antichrist as the false Messiah.    

This week, just as the false christs who have plagued mankind will culminate in the final Antichrist, so also will the false prophets culminate in a final false prophet.  He will be Satan's last and most powerful lying deceiver.  

Along with Satan, the counterfeit of the Father, and Antichrist, the counterfeit of Jesus Christ, the False Prophet will form the satanic false trinity.  He will be the counterfeit of the Holy Spirit.  The false prophet will be Antichrist's partner in Satan's massive final deception of the world. The False Prophet, like Antichrist, will be Satan's mouthpiece, speaking his words.  He will speak winsome, deceiving words of praise about the Antichrist, luring the world to worship the satanic dictator. 

This unholy trinity takes control of the earth.  Their sole purpose is to deceive and destroy the completion of God's redemptive plan.   We will read about their counterfeit miracles, a mock resurrection, the beast of the sea (the Antichrist) secures economic and political control of the world. The beast of the earth, the Antichrist’s prime minister of propaganda and high priest.  He will install a false religious system requiring worship of the beast. A worldwide identification scheme, the infamous number 666, is implemented. Only those who bear the number can buy and sell. 

This blasphemous trio, Satan, the Antichrist and the False Prophet, will control every aspect of the world, but only for a limited time.

Another Beast (vs. 11) - This is the final false prophet (16:13; 19:20; 20:10) who promotes Antichrist's power and convinces the world to worship him as God.  This companion beast will be the chief, most persuasive proponent of satanic religion (16:13; 19:20; 20:10).  The Antichrist will be primarily a political and military leader, but the false prophet will be a religious leader.  This beast will consolidate all the religious systems of the world in one world religion of satanism.  Politics and religion will unite in a worldwide religion of worshiping the Antichrist (see 17:1-9, 15-17). 

Out of the Earth (vs. 11) - This is likely another reference to the abyss that lies below the earth.  The false prophet, a child of hell, will be sent forth and controlled by a powerful demon from below.  The earth imagery, in contrast to that of the foreboding, mysterious sea in verse 1, may imply that the false prophet is subtler and more appealing than the Antichrist.

Two Horns Like a Lamb (vs. 11) - This describes the relative weakness of the false prophet compared to the Antichrist, who has ten horns.

Like a Lamb (vs. 11) - The false prophet will appear like a lamb, gentle and winsome, only later will he reveal his satanic character. 

Spake Like a Dragon (vs. 11) - The False prophet will be Satan's mouthpiece and thus his message will be like the dragon, Satan - the source of all deception and false religion.

Exercises All the Power of the First Beast (vs. 12) - The false prophet excercises the same kind of satanic power as the Antichrist because he is empowered by the same source.  He too will have a worldwide influence and reputation as a miracle worker and speaker. Worship (vs. 12) - He wields influence to establish a false world religion headed by the Antichrist and to entice people to accept that system.

Whose Deadly Wound Was Healed (vs. 12) - Referring to a false resurrection after a false murder to inspire allegiance from the world.  A satanic imitation of resurrection, a blasphemy against Christ.

Great Wonders (vs. 13) - The false prophet performs signs and wonders, signs that counterfeit the miracles of Christ.  Satan has used this deception before (Exodus 7:11).  These false miracles will be used to convince the world that Antichrist is more powerful than God's true witnesses, including Jesus Christ.

Fire Come Down from Heaven (vs. 13) - Undoubtedly a lying wonder, indicating that the false prophet continually does counterfeit atmospheric electrical phenomena.  The two-witnesses, like Elijah, will have been able to call down real fire from heaven, and the false prophet will desire to demonstrate to the world that he has similar powers.

Image to the Beast (vs. 14) - This refers to replication of the Antichrist that is related to the throne he will erect during the abomination of desolation, halfway into the Tribulation period.  This will happen in the Jerusalem temple when the Antichrist abolishes the former false world religion and seeks to have people worship him alone as God.  The false prophet and the Antichrist will again deceive the world, with a clever imitation of Christ, who will later return and reign from the true throne in Jerusalem.

Speak (vs. 15) - The false prophet will give the image of the Antichrist the appearance of life, and the image will seem to utter words - contrary to what is normally true of idols (see Psalm 135:15, 16; Hab. 2:19). be Killed (vs. 15) - His gentleness is a lie, since he is a killer (7:9-17).  Some Gentiles will be spared to populate the kingdom (Matthew 25:31-40) and Jews will be protected (12:17). 

Give Life (vs. 15) - In another display of his power to deceive, the false prophet will "give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak..."  The false prophet will animate the image of the Antichrist so that it gives the appearance of being alive.  With today's AI technology, this is not out of the realm of possibility.  Add to that the world's desperate need, amid the carnage of the tribulation, to believe in a death conqueror. 

A Mark (vs. 16) - In the roman Empire, this was a normal identifying symbol, or brand, that slaves and soldiers bore on their bodies.  Some of the ancient mystical cults delighted in such tattoos, or markings, which identified members with a form of worship.  Antichrist will have a similar requirement, one that will need to be visible on the hand or forehead.  This is the mark of the beast.  It will be universally required for all transactions.  It will assure their loyalty to the beast, but will also assure an eternal destination in hell for all who accept it (14:9-11). 

Buy or sell (vs. 17) - The Antichrist's mark will allow people to engage in daily commerce, including the purchase of food and other necessities.  Without the identifying mark, individuals will be cut off from the necessities of life.

Number of His Name (vs. 17) - The beast (Antichrist) will have a name inherent in a numbering system. 

His number is (vs. 18) - This is the essential number of a man.  The number six falls one short of God's perfect number, seven, and thus represents human imperfection.  Antichrist, the most powerful human the world will ever know, will still be a man, that is, a six.  The ultimate in human and demonic power is a six, not perfect, as God is.  The threefold repetition of the number is intended to reiterate and underscore man's identity.  

The exclamation "Here is wisdom" is a warning to those alive at the time to be wise and discerning.  They will need to recognize what is happening and understand the significance of the number connected with the Antichrist's name, and the eternal consequences for branding it on their bodies in allegiance to him.

Saturday, November 11, 2023

Holy Men of God - Revelation 13 (part 1)

Bobservations' Column
Titled - "Holy Men of God - 2 Peter 1:19-21"
Written by: Pastor Bob Lawrenz

Often when we read the Bible, new information comes along, and we can be left with more questions than answers. This is why the nature of the Book of Revelation is so important. As we read through it, it is as though an artist was unveiling his latest sculpture during a museum opening. As the covering over the sculpture is removed, we see it a bit at a time, more and more as the covering comes off. The Book of Revelation is the unveiling of God and His ultimate plan for all of Creation. We not only see God’s handiwork a little at a time, but His purpose(s) for everything in the history of His Creation: the whole world and its universe.

Just as gasps from the museum crowd convey their wonder and awe for the Artist’s handiwork and skill, Earth’s population will be in awe of God’s power and skill in guiding us through history and make us wonder why Satan ever thought he could be like the Most High (Isaiah 14:12-14).

How did God allow THAT? What was His purpose for THIS? Why did mankind have to CHOOSE? Where did THEY go? When will THAT happen!? Will we see THEM again?

As we go through Revelation 13, we will see shadows of past prophecies, and evidence of Solomon’s words, ‘There is nothing new under the sun.”  We will see the brush strokes and the chisel points, and the sanding of severe cuts to smooth out God’s plan to create some new things and restore others. All things shall be reconciled to Himself. Questions invariably will arise, followed by either more questions, or the answers we seek.

God is unveiling the works of His hands. We will eventually see the entirety of His glorious work, and the reasons for every use of His chisel or brush. We shall be awed at His Masterful ability to fend off His enemy from destroying His exquisite work. It’s not just a sculpture, but His Kingdom that He is building, and all shall eventually bow to Him, to the exclusion of all others.

From Job 34:19 -

“How much less to him that accepteth not the persons of princes, nor regardeth the rich more than the poor? For they all are the work of His hands.” 

Bobservations' Column: Audio Version:

Sunday Morning's Audio Message:
"Holy Men of God" - 2 Peter 1:19-21 and Revelation 13:1-10

Summary/Bible Notes

The title of today's message may throw you off a little bit because Revelation 13 is about the coming Antichrist, or "the beast rising up out of the sea," and the False Prophet, or "the beast coming up out of the earth." 

The title of this message is taken from our morning re
ading in 2 Peter 1:19-21.  It is to remind ourselves that God's Word came to us by His prophets of old, His witnesses, those who experienced a supernatural relationship with Him, and who were also given supernatural revelation. God, by means of the Holy Spirit, superintended the recording of all of their experiences and all of their writings so that they, in effect, were the revelation of God Himself. 

As the time draws nearer to the Second Coming of the Lord, this world will wax worse and worse.  Deceivers and Deception will abound, and Believers need the spiritual gift of discernment. 

Remember, the Revelation of Jesus Christ was given to John by God “to show his servants what must soon take place.” It is the final warning that the world will surely end, and judgment will be certain. The nature of the Book of Revelation is so important, that God promises to bless all those who read it, and who hear it (understands), and who keep it. It is the unveiling of God and His ultimate redemptive plan for all of His Creation. It is the ultimate battle of Good and Evil, between God and Satan, between the Kingdom of God, and the kingdoms of this world. So, as we plow through the incredible visions given to John by Jesus Christ, remember God's Word is sure, it is everlasting, and it is true.

Despite the terrifying picture painted in Revelation 13, it ultimately serves as a reminder that, even in the face of great tribulation, faith and perseverance are our callings. This chapter isn't intended to frighten, but to warn, to inform and prepare, emphasizing the importance of remaining vigilant and faithful to God's word. It's a testament to God's sovereignty and the ultimate victory that awaits His faithful servants.

Sunday Morning Audio Message - Pastor Bob Lawrenz

The Beast from the Sea (Revelation 13:1-10)

John describes a beast rising from the sea, endowed with the dragon's power, throne, and authority. It has seven heads and ten horns, with blasphemous names on its heads. This beast is likened to a leopard, a bear, and a lion. It receives a deadly wound that is healed, causing the whole world to marvel and worship the beast and the dragon. For forty-two months, the beast speaks blasphemies and wages war against the saints, exerting authority over every tribe, people, language, and nation. Those whose names are not written in the book of life will worship it. Here, John calls for the endurance and faith of the tribulation saints.

During the tribulation period, the world will be ruled by a godless man presiding over the political kingdoms of this world, as well as the religious kingdoms of this world. 

The Sand (vs. 1) - The imagery of the sand of the seashore depicts the nations of the world (20:8).  In John's vision, the dragon (Satan) will take command over the kingdoms of this world, as if they were his rightful possession.  Yet we know that he is a liar and a thief, a usurper who is seeking the world's worship and adoration.  

The Dragon summons the Antichrist, described as "a beast rising up out of the sea."

The Beast (vs. 1) - Literally "a monster" (see 11:17).  This describes a vicious, killing animal.  This beast is not the dragon, but a man.  This term represents both a person, (the Antichrist), and his system, (the world). His characteristics are almost identical with that of the dragon, indicating that he is in a distinct sense related to the dragon.  He is called "the son of perdition" in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, as well as "the man of sin." Daniel calls him "the prince that shall come" (Daniel 9:26).  Isaiah calls him "the wicked" (Isaiah 11:4), and Christ calls him "the abomination of desolation" (Mark 24:15). The final satanic world empire will be inseparable from the demon-possessed man who leads it. 

Seven Heads and Ten Horns (vs.1) - This description is very much like that of Satan in 12:3. The heads may represent successive world empires - Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome... and the final kingdom of Antichrist (see 17:9-10).  This final kingdom is made up of all the kingdoms represented by the horns.  Ten is a number that symbolizes the totality of human military and political power assisting the beast (Antichrist) as he controls the world.  The ten kingdoms of the last days remain to be identified in the future.  Horns always represent power, as in the animal kingdom.  Daniel shows that the human Antichrist will rise up from these ten kings (Daniel 7:16-24).  John picks up the numerical imagery of Daniel 2:41-42, which refers to the ten toes on the statue's clay and iron feet.  The apostle sees the beast as the final world government - the anti-Christ, anti-God coalition - headed by a revived Roman Empire, having the strengths of various world powers, yet mixed with weakness and ultimately crushed (see Daniel 2:32-45; 7:7-8, 19-25).  The crowns represent the regal dominion of this confederate kingdom... Satan is the prince and the power of the air.

Name of Blasphemy (vs. 1) - That is, the whole power was blasphemous in its claims and pretensions. The word "blasphemy" here seems to be used in the sense that titles and attributes were claimed by it which belonged only to God. On the meaning of the word "blasphemy." The meaning here is, that each one of these heads appeared to have a frontlet, with an inscription that was blasphemous, or that ascribed some attribute to this power that properly belonged to God; and that the whole power thus assumed was in derogation of the attributes and claims of God.

The Beast Which I Saw (vs. 2) - This hybrid beast - part lion, part bear, part leopard, part dragon is a composite of the three beasts of Daniel 7:1-6, being itself the non-descript four beast of Daniel 7:7.  It will have gained supremacy over the other three, which seem to represent the western confederacy, the northern confederacy and the eastern confederacy.  

Pastor Bob expounds and offers more interesting insight as to who these nations are.

Wounded to Death (vs. 3) - Both the beast and the head of the beast (both the man and the ancient kingdom) will appear to have been mortally wounded, but both will seemingly be miraculously restored.  This "beast" the Antichrist is said to have ascended "out of the bottomless pit" (11:7).  Satan had enabled him to counterfeit a resurrection from death, creating such great admiration in the world eliciting global submission and worship.  This is part of his lying deception (see vs. 12, 14; 17:8, 11; 2 Thess. 2:9).   His deluding powers will cause the world to follow him unquestioningly (vs. 14; 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12). 

Worshipped the Dragon (vs. 4) - Those ungodly men and women still living on the earth will not only be aware of the war between God and Satan but will have deliberately chosen to cast their lot with Satan and the beast rather than with God.  They will all become Satanists, worshiping Satan as god. 

Was Given (vs. 5) - Our Sovereign God will establish the limits within which the Antichrist will be allowed to speak and operate.  God will allow him to utter his blasphemies, to bring the rage of Satan to its culmination on earth for 3 1/2 years. 

In verses 5-6, something important is revealed, please note: It says twice there “there was given to him.” There was given to him a mouth that spoke arrogant words and blasphemies, and there was given to him forty-two months to function. In both these cases, it was given by God, and He has established the limits. And so, it is God who gives him the authority to act during this period of time, the last three and a half years of the time of the tribulation. Literally, God steps out of the way and lets him say whatever he wants to say, and Satan is primarily an arrogant blasphemer. It will be characteristic, then, of the unhindered Antichrist who will be free to do whatever he wants and say whatever he wants for this period of time to blaspheme continually... his days are numbered.

Blasphemy Against -

His Name (vs. 6) - "His Name" identifies God and summarizes ALL His attributes.

His Tabernacle (vs. 6) - This is symbolic of Heaven.

Those Who Dwell in Heaven (vs. 6) - The angels and glorified saints who are before the throne of God and serve Him day and night.

To Make War with the Saints (vs. 7) - The Antichrist will be allowed to massacre tribulation Saints (see 6:9-11; 11:7; 17:14).

Book of Life (vs. 8) - 
Revelation 20:15 declares, “If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” The Book of Life, in this context, is the set of names of those who will live with God forever in heaven. It is the roll of those who are saved. This Book of Life is also mentioned in Revelation 3:5; 20:12; and Philippians 4:3. The same book is also called the Lamb’s Book of Life because it contains the names of those who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lord Jesus (Revelation 13:8; 21:27).

Lamb Slain (vs. 8) - The Lord Jesus who died to purchase the salvation of those whom God had chosen, fulfilling His eternal plan.

From the Foundation of the World (vs. 8) - According to God's eternal purpose, before the creation, the death of Christ seals the redemption of the elect forever.  Antichrist can never take away the believer's salvation, never.  (See John 17: 5, 24; Acts 15:18; 1 Corinthians 2:7; Ephesians 1:4; 2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 1:2; 1 Peter 1:20.)

Let Him Hear (vs. 9) - The interjection of Revelation 13:9-10 in the midst of the beast rising and allowed unimaginable power during this time takes us back the messages to the seven churches (2:7).  It is a note of exhortation and encouragement to the tribulation "saints" (13:7, 10) who will shortly be facing either submission to the beast or martyrdom.  This is not the church, but those who have thus far have survived and are still living during the tribulation. 

Saturday, November 4, 2023

The Devil Cast Down

Bobservations' Column
Titled - "The Devil Cast Down"
Written by:  Pastor Bob Lawrenz

We managed to get through the first 10 verses of revelation 12 last week. Verse 10 is where we will pick up, and continue through the chapter. Ten verses are not much to cover, but I suppose a truly in-depth study would mean that we would still be in the first chapter of this wonderful book. Like a tapestry, everything seems smoothly put together, but behind the front, looking at the back of it, we see threads of study going everywhere throughout the Bible, connecting seemingly unconnected thoughts together to make the intricate pattern of the tapestry’s front view.

Last week, we learned that the Spiritual battle being played out in heaven (verse 7), came to a severe turn, and Satan was cast out. Where did he go? Isaiah 14:12-15 tells us one destination: “Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.” His own pride will be his undoing. Has this happened yet? No, this is for a future day, part of the prophetic character of Revelation. John is speaking of those times “which shall be hereafter,” according to Revelation 1:19. Revelation 12:13 says he was cast to the Earth, for now!

What does this mean for us today? Today, the great dragon, the old serpent called the Devil, and Satan (verse 12:9), still has access to the throne room of the Father. There, as in Job 1, Satan is asking God to consider the faith of yet another believer, and how far he can go to attack their faith in God and Christ Jesus. Will it be you, or you, or me? By what are you tempted? Where is our individual weakness, those sins that do so easily beset us? Satan is a conniving liar at all times. Walk circumspectly, be alert to, and aware of your surroundings, for our adversary, the Devil is looking for the next one to devour (1 Peter 5:8). Don’t let him find you in the wrong place at the wrong time. Walk in freedom, but do not tempt the Lord. Job learned a hard lesson in his day.

So, as you go about this week, be aware that Satan wants to sift us all, to test our faith as we walk humbly before our God and Savior. It is the Church that Satan targets. All others already belong to him.

2 Peter 3:17 -

“Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness.”

Bobservations'Column: Audio Version

Sunday Morning's Audio Message:
Revelation 12:10-17 - "The Devil Cast Down"

Summary/Bible Notes:  

Today, we are finishing up the twelfth chapter of Revelation.  You remember, last week we read of the great war in heaven between God and Satan.  It is a war that has been going on since Satan's rebellion against God.  Satan's fall took a third of the angels with him, and they were cast out of heaven to earth.  Since then, Satan and his demonic hosts have done everything imaginable to stop God's redemptive plan for mankind throughout our entire history.  He did everything to stop the coming of the promised Redeemer. 

Since the death, resurrection and ascension of Christ, Satan's attacks are focused on the Church, and this will continue until the Rapture.  During the tribulation, Satan will increase his efforts to destroy the Jewish people, so that the nation cannot be saved as God promised (Zechariah 12:10-13:1; Romans 11:25-27), and to prevent Christ from establishing His millennial kingdom.

So, in Revelation 12:1-6, John introduces all the combatants in this war.  In Revelation 7-12, John describes the first phase of Satan's final assault on God before Christ returns.

Again, since Satan's fall (Isaiah 14:12-14; Ezekiel 2:11-18), Satan is actively battling with the angelic host, and with believers (Daniel 10:12-13; 1 Peter 5:8).  Believers must be Aware and Alert to all of his schemes, giving him no opportunity to weaken our faith and testimony to the world (Ephesians 4:27).  We are to resist him (James 4:7). 

The future battle finds Michael and the angels waging war with the dragon.  This ultimate battle may be triggered by the rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).   Michael and Satan, having known each other since they were created, Michael an archangel, defender of God's people; and Satan, the archenemy of God and His people.

Evicted from heaven, Satan's full fury will explode on humanity when he is cast to the earth for the last time.  Once, the most glorious, created being (Isaiah 14:12), is forever known as Satan, or "the Adversary."  He is the deceiver of the whole world, enemy of God, enemy of man.  

In verses 10-12, there is another celebration, Satan and his demons have been defeated, and his presence has been removed from heaven.  The Saints in heaven rejoice with an outpouring of praise, the accuser of the brethren has been cast down.  They rejoice in the salvation, the power and the kingdom of our God... and in the authority of His Christ.  

The joyous praise of triumph is followed by a sober warning to the earth (vs. 12).   The Greek word for "wrath" refers to a violent outburst of rage.  Satan's rage now becomes more violent because he knows his time is short. 

Satan wages war on earth in three phases:
  • Phase One (verses 13-14):  Satan's hostile pursuit and persecution of the Jews as they flee into the wilderness. 
  • Phase Two: (verses 15-16):  Because his initial attempt to massacre the Jewish people is prevented, he sends a destroying army after them to sweep them out of their hiding place.
  • Phase Three: (verse 17): Again, his plans are foiled, so he turns his fury towards new targets.  Anyone who names the name of Christ - Jew or Gentile.  This too will fail.  Satan cannot stop Christ's Kingdom from being established, be Christ is our Victor!


The Accuser (vs. 10) - 
Satan is God’s great enemy, and therefore the enemy of Christians as well. Among several other names, Satan is known as the accuser. Satan was formerly a beautiful and powerful cherub, likely the highest of all angels. But iniquity was found in him (Ezekiel 28:15), and he was lifted up in pride, desiring to be greater than the Lord God (Isaiah 14:12–15). He led an army of angels into rebellion, which resulted in his ejection from heaven—along with every angel who had followed him (Ezekiel 28:17–18). Now Satan prowls the earth, seeking to hinder all he can from choosing salvation and living a life of obedience (1 Peter 5:8). In addition, Satan acts as the accuser of believers in an attempt to discredit them before God.

For the time being, God has allowed Satan the accuser limited access to heaven.

Satan is relentless in his accusations—he accuses God’s children continually. He hates God and all that God is, which means he also hates God’s mercy and forgiveness extended to sinful humanity. Satan the accuser stands before God in an attempt to somehow lessen God’s love or diminish God’s mercy. Fortunately, his accusations against us fall on deaf ears: “Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies” (Romans 8:33). Salvation belongs to the Lord, and His justification cannot be reversed. God is greater than our accuser.

In today's text we find that Satan will no longer be able to accuse believers before the throne of God because he will no longer have access to heaven.

Blood of the Lamb (vs. 11) - No accusation can stand against those whose sins have been forgiven because of Christ's sacrificial death (see Romans 8:33-39).

Time is Short (vs. 12) - Knowing that his time is limited, Satan will intensify his efforts against God and mankind, and specifically target Israel (vv. 13, 17). 

Wings of a Great Eagle (vs. 14) - This are not actual bird's wings, but rather a depiction of God's providential protection of Israel. 

A Time, and Times, and Half a Time (vs. 14) - Again this speaks of 3 1/2 years, the time period of the second half of the tribulation (see vs. 6; 11:2-3; 13:5).

As a Flood (vs. 15) - This, too, is a symbolic flood.  The devil is energized in full fury, enraged at the Jews in particular, and will send a "flood' after them, probably military might, but God will destroy them all. 

Swallowed Up the Flood (vs. 16) - Means of destruction is apparently a great earthquake, a great fissure opening up in the earth, swallowing up Satan's army. 

Remnant of Her Seed (vs. 17) - Satan will turn his frustrated rage against every follower of the Lamb he can find - Jew or Gentile.

Commandments of God...Testimony of Jesus Christ (vs. 17) - The revealed truth from God and Christ contained in Scripture.  Obedience to God's Word always marks a genuine believer.

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