Saturday, December 2, 2023

Safe From The Sickle - Part 2

Bobservations' Column
Titled - "Safe From The Sickle" Part 2
Written by: Pastor Bob Lawrenz

Today we start with Babylon in the text. Similar to its namesake from the Tower of Babel in Genesis 10, it was and will be mankind’s attempt to reach up to God. All the while, God wanted to reach down to man by sending His beloved Son, Jesus, a feat which He fulfilled miraculously. Babel was the natural extension of Genesis 9’s dictate that men should judge other men by their deeds, and not by their words, and to judge righteously. This sets the stage for men ruling over other men. It establishes that some men are destined to rule over others, and with God’s approval, according to them.

Babylon, as recorded, “is fallen; is fallen.” The Babylon of tomorrow is Satan’s premiere offering to mankind. All the world will live under a single set of laws culturally, and worship a single god, for the sake of peace. Participating nations will identify “religion” as a hindrance to world peace. Financially, the world will be controlled by a single world-wide financial system which will level the playing field among the rich and the poor, but in theory only. It is a socialist concept.

Babylon will fail twice (“is fallen, is fallen”), economically, and religiously. An even playing field requires a leader and a follower, setting the stage for the “haves” and the “have nots.” Mankind’s sin nature is never addressed when the leaders become wealthy and the poor get poorer. We would revert to the age-old system of conquer, or be conquered, as in times of tribal wars. The winners rule more people and territory, and the losers are absorbed, or killed.

God always strove to keep His people separate, and not to be absorbed into the masse of humanity. To be absorbed meant that the bloodline of Messiah would be compromised. This co-mingling of blood erases racial and ethnic lines, lines that God Himself designed (Acts 17:26). The bloodline of Noah’s son, Shem is the semitic line from which Messiah would come. Those that fight against the Jews, essentially fight against God. God wanted the bloodline that leads to Messiah to be preserved.

Mankind wants it obliterated. Sin would therefore not be dealt with, ever. But God persevered, and Christ Messiah was born. God is always faithful to fulfill His Word.

From Psalm 89:34 –

"My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that has gone out of my 

Bobservations Column: Audio Version:

Sunday Morning's Audio Message:
Revelation 14:7-20 - "Safe From the Sickle - Part 2"

Summary/Bible Notes:  

Today we will be finishing up the rest of chapter 14, verses 7-20 in the book of Revelation.

John’s attention now points to three angels who deliver urgent messages from the Lord.  The three angels deliver messages of warning and prophecy, predicting God's impending judgment on sin and evil. There is a specific warning to those who take the mark of the beast described in chapter 13. They are not ignorant of what they do, they know they are rejecting God by doing so. They have rejected Christ the Savior, the only means of their salvation and will face eternal damnation for doing so. This passage ends with a word of encouragement for Christians who suffer persecution for their faith (Revelation 14:6–13).

The first angel declares the everlasting gospel message over all the earth.  The emphasis is the coming judgment.  The Angel cries out, “fear God and give glory to Him and worship Him” as their Creator.  "The hour of his judgment is come." God in His grace is still giving man every opportunity to repent and believe upon Him. The message points to God, the Creator of all things.  For generations, the world has been indoctrinated in the theory of evolution.  Yet the fact remains, Christ is our Creator, He is the Savior and the coming King.  He alone has the right to judge all men.  (See Romans 1:25; 12:9).

The second angel announces the imminent fall of the kingdom of Satan. This includes the fall of both the religious and political aspects of the that kingdom. Modern Babylon is the reinstituting of ancient Babylon.  A kingdom perpetrating a humanistic and a satanistic world system.  A system uniting mankind in a religious, economic, cultural and political rebellion against God. Although this message is presented prior to the second coming of Christ, it is presented in the current tense “Babylon IS fallen”. Emphasizing the certainty of the fall of the Satanic kingdom. The actual fall of Babylon will occur at the end of the tribulation as described in Revelation 18.  Here the pronouncement is made. 

The third angel announces the coming judgment of anyone 
who take the mark of the beast described in chapter 13.  Taking the mark of Satan is permanent.  They are not ignorant of what they do, they know they are rejecting God by doing so. They have rejected Christ the Savior, the only means of their salvation and will face eternal damnation for doing so.  Those who are marked by the beast are members of Satan's kingdom. He pictures the deliverance of God’s wrath as a cup of wine that is poured out upon their heads. As the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of Babylon's fornication, so now shall they drink the wine of God's wrath.   Remember, the Lord Jesus Himself, as the Lamb of God, had once drained the cup of God's indignation, enduring all the fury God's wrath, substituting His blood atonement for us.  But now!  Now they have willfully rejected Christ's work of atonement and must now drink for themselves the cup of God's wrath.  Along with this message, he emphasizes their eternal judgement which takes place in the presence of the Lord and His angles. It involves torment in everlasting fire and brimstone in the Lake of Fire.

Finally, the believer's patient service to Christ while on earth is based upon these three messages: 1. The need of the gospel message to the lost. 2. The certainty of the defeat of Satan and his Kingdom.  3. The promised recompensing of the lost who have abused God’s people throughout history.  They are also reminded of the wonderful eternal blessings awaiting them… eternal rest, and rewards for their faithfulness.

In the last section of this chapter, John sees the coming of Christ pictured as two reaping's of the earth.  The first reaping represents the Lord's taking home of His people prior to the falling of His wrath.  The second reaping symbolizes the wrath of God falling upon those who reject Him.  The sacrifice of Christ not only secured the salvation of His people, but also secured His role as judge of the wicked. 

The Son of man begins His mighty reaping, the "reaping of the earth."  Jesus holding a sickle symbolizing His return, 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).

Loud Voice (14:7) - The angel of the Lord will be flying from nation to nation, shouting it loudly enough so that everyone on earth can hear. They will be without excuse having heard the gospel.

The Hour of His Judgment Has Come (14:7) - The last moment to repent and believe before God's wrath is poured out.

Him Who Made Heaven and Earth (14:7) - Creation is the great proof of God, which preachers will appeal to as the ground for all people to believe in Hi and worship Him. It is the foundation of the gospel. Creation is not some peripheral doctrine; it is foundational to everything else in the scriptures.

Babylon is Fallen (14:8) - Babylon refers to the entire worldwide political, economic and religious kingdom of the Antichrist (see 16:17-19 for details). The original city of Babylon was the birthplace of idolatry where the residents built the Tower of Babel, a monument to rebelliousness and false religion. Such idolatry was subsequently spread when God confounded humanity's language and scattered them around the world (see Genesis 11:1-9). Having ignored the first angel's message, a second angel is sent to announce judgment, proclaiming the certain destruction of the great enemy of the gospel.

Wine of the Wrath of her Fornication (14:8) - Babylon, having caused the world to become intoxicated with her sinful pleasures and emersed in an orgy of rebellion, hatred and idolatry toward God. Fornication means spiritual prostitution to the Antichrist's false system.

The Cup of His Indignation (14:10) - Divine wrath is not an impulsive outburst of anger aimed at those whom God doesn't like. It is the settled, steady, merciless, graceless, and compassionless response of a righteous God against sin. His cup of indignation is God's collected wrath poured out upon the children of hell, those who rejected God, their Creator and His gracious gift of salvation.

Fire and Brimstone (14:10) - Always a divine punishment. In this chapter this reference refers to hell, the lake of fire (see 19:20; 20:10; 21:8). Brimstone is a fiery sulfur (see 9:17).

Forever and Ever (14:11) - This is the doctrine of eternal punishment. The third angel brings another message, warning those who will take the mark of the beast. The torment of hell is the ceaseless infliction of unbearable pain to all those who spurn the love and grace of Christ and His sacrifice for us and offer of salvation.

Son of Man (14:14) - Here Jesus returns to the first and eternal aspect of His person and work, He is the Son of Man. He is ready to reap the harvest of the earth, separating the few remaining stalks of wheat from the great mass of tares, and this is a judgment committed to the Son of man (see Matthew 13:41; John 5:27).

Sickle (14:14) - The harvesting tool with a razor-sharp, curved steel or iron blade and wooden handle, used by farmers to cut grain. It represents swift and devastating judgment.

Another Angel (14:18) - This angel is associated with fire on the altar representing the prayers of the saints (6:9-11; 8:3-5). Fire refers to the constantly burning fire on the brass altar of the Jerusalem temple. This angel is coming from the heavenly altar to ensure that all the prayers of all the saints for judgment and the coming of the kingdom are answered. He calls for judgment to star.

The Great Winepress (14:19) - This vivid imagery signifies a horrendous slaughter or bloodbath. Here it refers to the slaughter of all enemies of God who are still alive, facing the destruction at Armageddon, the final battle against God's enemies, staged on the plain below Bozrah, deep in Edom, up beyond Megiddo through the valley of Jezreel. This battle occurs outside of Jerusalem. These armies of the beast, gathered together to battle the returning Christ, will be instantly slain simply with the "sword" of His mouth.

Up to the Horses' Bridles
(14:20) - The severity of the slaughter is indicated in the imagery of the blood of those killed in the Battle of Armageddon splattering as high (about four feet) as the bridles of the horses involved. Incredible.

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