Saturday, March 2, 2024

Morning Message: The Day of the Lord

Bobservations' Column
Titled - "The Day of the Lord"
Written by: Pastor Bob Lawrenz

As we have just finished chapter 19 and the beginning of chapter 20, we should be reminded about what the Holy Spirit has told John about Christ’s Second Coming. I have always been encouraged by John 15:15, as Jesus tells the Apostles that He has told them “...all things that His Father has told Him.”

And it’s always good to take God at His Word. Revelation 19:14 speaks of the “armies which were in heaven followed Him upon white horses.” It is the fulfillment of Zechariah 14:4,5 where we are told that “the Lord my God shall come, and all the Saints with thee.”

One of the exciting things about this fulfillment is the John 15:15 reference, where we started. Now we have a bigger picture of God’s faithfulness. And what we find is that John 15:15 is itself a fulfillment. The Father never wants to leave His children in the dark, without knowledge.

The Prophecies of the Prophets are incredible! In Amos 3:3, the Prophet asks a rhetorical question: “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” Of course, they cannot possibly do that without an agreement made in advance: Where was the walk to begin? What is the destination to be? What path would be taken? And what is the pace that the two would keep? Without agreement in all these things, the two are not walking together. The Holy Spirit’s words for Amos and for John to record are impeccably accurate. Amos is the Prophet that tells us almost 800 years before Jesus’ birth, about the “Day of the Lord” which we read about today. He describes it in 5:16-20. The prophecies are to help His children to be of one mind with Him.

All the intricacies of God’s Word are seemingly beyond finding out, until we run across them in the Word. Then we are held in awe at His wonderful works. This is why it’s so
important to be in God’s Word daily! Let’s see what other nuggets we can find as we go through the rest of the chapter.

“Surely the Lord God will do nothing but He revealeth His secret unto His servants the Prophets.” - Amos 3:7

Bobservations' Column: Audio Version

Sunday Morning's Audio Message:
Revelation 20:11-15 - "The Day of the Lord"

Summary/Additional Bible Notes Audio message posted Sunday afternoon!

"I won’t mind going to hell. All my friends will be there.” Many flippant comments like this are made by unbelievers who think that eternity is something to joke about. Everyone dies, and what the Bible says about eternal punishment reveals that it is no joking matter.

The word throne appears often in the Apocalypse, but we must distinguish between its different appearances. For example, the throne in chapters 4–5, as well as the one in chapter 7, is a throne of grace and mercy. Here stand the redeemed. They have been washed by the blood of the Lamb and offer their worship, praise, and thanks (5:8–10; 7:9–17). The throne in 20:11–15, however, is one of justice and punishment. Those who stand there will face only judgment. There we find no praise, no joy, no singing—only silent gloom as wrath is displayed and judgment meted out.

And who will sit on the throne of judgment? Scripture makes it clear that it will be the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus Himself said in John 5:22, “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.” It is the Lord Jesus, the despised Nazarene and lowly carpenter, who will occupy the judge’s “bench” on that day. The apostle Paul stated, “I charge thee, therefore, before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the living and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom” (2 Timothy 4:1). He will judge the living in the Judgment of the nations at the beginning of His Millennial Kingdom (Matthew 25:31–46); and at the end of the Kingdom, He will judge the “dead” at the Great White Throne.

Today we are finishing up the twentieth chapter of Revelation, verses 11-15.

After the final defeat and punishment of Satan, the rest of mankind is resurrected. These are the non-believers, brought back to life in the second resurrection. This brings them to a great white throne, symbolic of purity and justice. Unlike the rainbow throne described in earlier chapters, this one is austere. Those who died in Christ are judged on the basis of His life, rather than their own—those are the persons whose names were written in the book of life (John 3:16–18). In contrast, here at the great white throne judgment, unbelievers are judged on their own deeds, which means damnation (Romans 6:23). Every person who did not follow Christ is consigned to the lake of fire (Revelation 20:11–15).

Great White Throne (20:11) - Nearly fifty times in Revelation there is the mention of a throne.  This is a judgment throne, elevated, pure and holy.  God sits on it as judge (see 4:2-3, 9; 5:1, 7, 13; 6:16; 7:10, 15) in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ (see 21:5-6).

Earth and the Heaven Fled Away (20:11) - John saw the contaminated universe go out of existence.  Peter described this moment in 2 Peter 3:1013.  The universe is "uncreated," going into nonexistence.

The Dead (20:12) - 
The people described here, at the Great White Throne, are the unsaved dead. No one who has received Christ as his or her personal Savior will be there. There is no blowing of the trumpet, no white robes, no clean linen, no garments of righteousness—all characteristics of the presence of believers. (See 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18 and Revelation 19:8.) Scripture teaches that the final resurrection will not be a general resurrection but a resurrection with two stages—one for the saved and one for the unsaved.

Standing Before God (20:12) - In a judicial sense, as guilty, condemned prisoners before the bar of divine justice; there are no living sinners left in the destroyed universe since all sinners were killed and all believers glorified.

Books (20:12) - These books record every thought, word, and deed of sinful men - all recorded by divine omniscience (see Daniel 7:10, the verse that is the source of this text).  They will provide the evidence for eternal condemnation (see 18:6-7).

The “books” of 20:12 record all the evil deeds of the individuals standing before the Great White Throne. They are judged according to their “works,” or deeds. When their names are not found in the book of life, they will have no basis for objecting to the fairness of the Judge for omitting them. The “other” books will give evidence from their lives to demonstrate their culpability and the fact that they deserve the punishment they receive in the lake of fire.

The “books” will play one more role also: They will indicate the degree of punishment these people will receive. Although all will be “lost,” the measure of their punishment will coincide with the degree of spiritual truth they received and rejected in their lifetimes. (For a fuller understanding of this aspect of eternal punishment, see Matthew 11:23–24; Luke 12:41–48; and Hebrews 10:29.)

These passages are not meant for mere debate. They are meant to be pondered deeply by everyone who reads them. What is your condition before a Holy God, my friend? Will you be at this judgment, trembling before your Maker at the Great White Throne because you never received His grace provided for you in His Son, the Lamb? I urge you to trust in the blood of the Lamb today, so you will not have to face His wrath tomorrow.

Book of Life (20:12) - It contains the names of all the redeemed (see 3:5). It contains the names of all who have been saved from the second death. They belong to Jesus Christ, the Lamb who purchased their redemption. Other references to this book are Revelation 13:8 and 21:27.

Judge According to their Works (20:12) - Their thoughts (Luke 8:17) words (Matthew 12:7), and actions (Matthew 16:27) will be compared to God's perfect, holy standard (Matthew 5:48) and will be found wanting (Romans 3:23).  This also implies that there are degrees of punishment in hell (see Matthew 10:14-15; 11:22; Mark 12:38-40; Luke 12:47-48).

Death and Hades (20:13) - Both terms describe the state of death.  All unrighteous dead will appear at the Great White Throne judgment; none will escape.  All the places that have held the bodies of the unrighteous dead will yield up new bodies suited for hell.

Second Death (20:14) - 
The “first death” is physical death—something we all must experience (except, of course, for the generation of believers who will be transported into the presence of the Lord via the Rapture). The first death involves separation of the soul from the body. The second death (described in Revelation 20:14–15), will be the eternal separation of unbelievers from God. It has been said, with appropriate candor, “If you are born once, you will die twice; if you are born twice, you will die only once.”

The "second death" is for all those who were born only physically in their lifetimes. They were not born again spiritually (John 1:13; 3:6–7). The second death will involve a conscious and tormented existence in the lake of fire. The term lake of fire is a metaphor for a place that is too horrible to be imagined. Human language can only compare it to something we can faintly comprehend. The reality will be far worse than anything we can think of.

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Morning Message: Jesus Is Not Done!

Bobservations' Column
Titled - "Jesus Is Not Done"
Written by: Pastor Bob Lawrenz

For today’s teaching, I was undecided about the title, for about 15 seconds. I was thinking about entitling it “Satan: Bound, Loosed, and Doomed.” While all three of these things happen in today’s passage, the focus of a Pastor should always be Jesus; what Jesus has done, is doing, and promises yet to do. Warnings of the works of Satan are often appropriate, but the mighty works of Jesus should be the focus. Yes, there is much evil in the world, but Jesus has overcome the world.

Satan’s evil works are everywhere. I found that out while ministering to jail and prison inmates long ago. What I learned was unnerving. There was actually little difference between me, and those on the other side of the bars. There were typically worldly evils that lurked in my own heart! Thoughts, attitudes, and habits have to be examined, and then dealt with through God’s Word.

Inmates must deal with theirs, and the rest of us must address our own. Parole Officers are the ones that keep parolees accountable to the law. If a parolee violates the law, this thing called “recidivism” can kick in and they can be sent back into prison. They are not released again (in theory) until they repent and can be trusted to live daily under man’s laws.

For Believers, our gracious Lord Jesus is the one to hold us accountable to His Word. And yes, His grace is ever-present, His mercies are new every morning. But for our own sinful attitudes and thoughts to be purged, our repentance must be true, and that only happens through some measure of brokenness, and a love for Christ, never again wanting to do those old things that wall us away from Jesus.

Satan is bound and released in today’s teaching, but there is no brokenness in him, and he will soon meet his doom. When he is released, he will return again to his old tricks of deceit and lies to gather an army of the unregenerate who hate authority as much as he does. Satan’s plans do not change, he is still bent on being “like the Most High.” (Isaiah 14:14)

Bring your heart to Jesus. He will gently bring brokenness and make your heart new. Your own recidivism will come to an end.

“Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature, old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.”2 Corinthians 5:17

Bobservations' Column: Audio Version:

Sunday Morning's Audio Message:
Revelation 20:1-10 - "Jesus is Not Done!"

Summary/Additional Bible Notes: 

As we get into chapter 20 of the book of Revelation, we are now in the Millennial kingdom, the goal toward which all of redemptive history progresses.

When Christ returns, He will establish a literal kingdom on earth, which will last for a thousand years.

In this chapter we will see the binding of Satan for a thousand-year duration. Christ's thousand-year earthly kingdom, Satan's final rebellion, and the Great White Throne Judgment. In the end, Jesus Christ will make all things right. Alleluia!

John sees an angel binding Satan with a great chain and confining him to the bottomless pit for a thousand years. During this time, it seems Satan is not allowed to exert his normal influence on the world. Part of this binding, and eventual releasing seems to be to prove that mankind is desperately wicked—even after a millennium of peace, some people will still choose to reject God, as seen later in the chapter. During this time, those who were saved during the tribulation are brought back to life: the first resurrection (Revelation 20:1–6).

Satan's release at the end of the thousand years results in a rebellion. This is a sad commentary on man's limitless ability to reject God and follow his own stubborn pride. Even after ten centuries of peace and righteousness, led by Christ Himself, so many people will be willing to follow Satan that "their number is like the sand of the sea." Once again, those who oppose God will be soundly defeated—this time, however, Satan is cast forever into the lake of fire. There will be no escape or temptation from the Devil anymore (Revelation 20:7–11).

Bottomless Pit (20:1) - The place where demons are incarcerated pending their final sentencing to the lake of fire (22 9:1).

Laid Hold (20:2) - This includes not only Satan but also the demons.  Their imprisonment will dramatically alter the world during the kingdom, since their destructive influence in all areas of human thought and life will be removed.

Dragon (20:2) - Likening Satan to a dragon emphasizes his ferocity and cruelty (see 12:3).

Serpent of Old (20:2) - A reference to Satan's first appearance in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1-6), where he deceived Eve (see 2 Corinthians 11:3; 1 Timothy 2:14).

A Thousand Years (20:3) - This is the first of six references to the length of the millennial kingdom (see vv. 3-7).

Released for a Little While (20:3) - Satan will be released so God can make a permanent end of sin before establishing the new heaven and earth.  All who survive the Tribulation and enter the kingdom will be believers.  However, despite that and the personal presence and rule of the Lord Jesus Christ, many of their descendants will refuse to believe in Him.  Satan will then gather those unbelievers for one final futile rebellion against God.  It will be quickly and decisively crushed, followed by the Great White throne judgment and the establishment of the eternal state.

I saw (20:4) - Four times in this chapter, John says, "And I saw" (verses 1,4,11,12).  He was an eyewitness of these amazing events which are to come. 

Thrones...They that Sat Upon Them (20:4) - Who are these kingly judges? They are the saints.  Those who had been redeemed by His blood, resurrected from the grave, raptured into His presence, and evaluated for their rewards at His judgment seat.  (1 Corinthians 3:11-15; 1 Corinthians 6:2; Daniel 7:22). 

Souls of those Beheaded (20:4) - These are tribulation martyrs (see 6:9; 18:24; 19:2).  The Greek word translated "beheaded" became a general term for execution, not necessarily a particular method.

His Mark (20:4) - See 13:16).  Tribulation martyrs will be executed for refusing the mark of the beast.

Reigned (20:4) - Tribulation believers, along with the redeemed from both the Old and New Testament eras, will reign with Christ (1 Corinthians 6:2; 2 Timothy 2:12) during the thousand-year kingdom.

The Rest of the Dead (20:5) - The bodies of unbelievers of all ages will not be resurrected until the Great White Throne judgment (vv. 12-13).

First Resurrection (20:5) - Scripture teaches two kinds of resurrection: the "resurrection of life" and "the resurrection of condemnation" (John 5:29; see also Daniel 12:2; Acts 24:15).  The first kind of resurrection is described as "the resurrection of the just (Luke 14:14), the resurrection of "those who are Christ's at His coming" (1 Corinthians 15:23), and the "better resurrection" (Hebrews 11:35).  It includes only the redeemed of the church age (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), the Old Testament (Daniel 12:2), and the Tribulation (V. 4).  They will enter the kingdom in resurrection bodies, along with believers who survived the Tribulation.  The second kind of resurrection, then, will be the resurrection of the unconverted, who will receive their final bodies suited for torment in hell.

Blessed (20:6) - Those who die in the Lord (14:13) are blessed with the privilege of entering His kingdom (see 1:3).

Second Death (20:6) - The first death is spiritual and physical, the second is eternal in the lake of fire, and final, eternal hell (vs 14).  

Satan...Loosed (20:7) - He is loosed to bring cohesive leadership to the world of rebels born to the believers who entered the kingdom at the beginning.  He is loosed to reveal the character of Christ - rejecting sinners who are brought into judgment for the last time ever.

Gog and Magog (20:8) - One of the most amazing commentaries on the fallen human nature to be found in all the Word of God is right here in this passage.  After one thousand years of a perfect human environment, with an abundance of material provisions and spiritual instruction for everyone, no crime, no war, no external temptation to sin, with the personal presence of all the resurrected saints and even of Christ Himself, and with Satan and all of his demons bound in the abyss, there are still a multitude of unsaved men and women on earth who are ready to rebel against the Lord the first time they get a chance.

Gog and Magog are the name given to the army of rebels and its leader at the end of the Millennium.  They were names of ancient enemies of the Lord.  Magog was the grandson of Noah (Genesis 10:2) and founder of a kingdom located north of the Black and Caspian Seas.  God is apparently the leader of a rebel army known collectively as Magog.  The battle depicted in verses 8 and 9 is like the one in Ezekiel 38, 39; it is best to see this one as taking place at the end of the Millenium.

Beloved City (20:9) - Jerusalem (see Psalm 78:68), the capital city during Christ's millennial reign.  The saints will be living around the city where Christ reigns (see Isaiah 24:23).

Fire (20:9) - Frequently associated in Scripture with divine judgment of wicked men (2 Kings 1:10, 12, 14; Luke 9:54; 17:29).

Deceived (20:10) - Just as his demons will entice the world's armies into the Battle of Armageddon, Satan will draw them into a suicidal assault against Christ and His people (16:13-14).

Tormented Day and Night (20:10) - See 14:11. Continuous, unrelieved torment will be the final state of Satan, fallen angels, and unredeemed men. Here is the final end of the rebellious "son of the morning" who wanted to exalt his own throne above God's throne.  The great blasphemer, the idol, the false god, the breaker of God's rest, the rebel against his father, the murderer from the beginning, the robber, the great adulterer, the father of lies, the coveter of divine worship, the one who is the very antitheses of the holy and gracious God, the Devil, will finally be cast forever into the lake of fire.  Hell is the place of torment, not annihilation. 

Saturday, February 17, 2024

Morning Message: A Second Coming

Bobservations' Column
Titled - "Separating the Death and Resurrection of Jesus, from the Stupidity of Easter"
Written by:  Pastor Bob Lawrenz

Easter Season is upon us, as of this past Wednesday. Some denominations recognize only the 40 days before we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. Why only 40 days? Do we not have 365 days each year to prepare our hearts for the Lord? Every day is a day to prepare our hearts for the coming of the Lord. And, Jesus never celebrated Easter, but it has been Easter in the Church beginning about 200 AD. Jesus celebrated Passover, a day commemorating the Israelite’s release from the slavery of Egypt.

Easter, as celebrated today in the west and other places, has little to do with the Resurrection of Christ Jesus, or the Jewish Feast of Passover. The bunnies and eggs of Easter are symbols of the fertility that chickens and rabbits seem to enjoy. Even the word “Easter” is derived from an ancient Pagen goddess called Astarte. We find her in Roman, Greek, Mesopotamian, Egyptian cultures, and even Anglo-Saxon culture had “Eostre.” In Asia Minor, in the region of Ephesus, she was called Dianah, and referred to as “the many breasted one.” In every culture, and by her many names, she is the goddess of fertility.

Hence, the Church has lent the fertility symbols of ancient Pagens to the celebration of Christ’s Resurrection. They indoctrinate little children into the practices by plying them with decorated eggs, Chocolate Easter Bunnies, and Easter Egg Hunts on the White House Lawn, none of which will ever bring forth new life. Yet adults cry “Oh what fun!” as their children chase after the symbols of fertility and idolatry.

It was the blood sacrifice of lambs, their blood smeared on the lintels of Jewish houses that caused the angel of death to pass over those homes, and move onto bring judgment to the Pagen idolaters of Egypt. God judged those that enslaved His Chosen People and introduced them to their false gods. It was the blood sacrifice of Jesus that paid for our sin, so that God’s judgment would pass over us. Jesus, is the Lamb of God, the Paschal Lamb, from the Hebrew/Aramaic “Pascha.”

“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness.” - 2 Corinthians 6:14

Bobservations' Column: Audio Version

Sunday Morning's Audio Message:
Revelation 19:11-21 - "A Second Coming" (Part 2)

Summary/Additional Bible NotesAudio Message forthcoming!

In part 2 of Revelation 19, John's amazing vision in this section also includes the long-awaited second coming of Jesus Christ. This is a moment of incredible triumph. Jesus' first arrival on earth was humble (Luke 2:7) and involved His sacrificial death on a cross (Philippians 2:8). His return is neither humble nor meek. Christ is described as a royal conqueror, wearing a robe dipped in the blood of His enemies, at the helm of the armies of heaven. Now displayed as the King of kings and Lord of lords, Jesus will single-handedly obliterate the earthly armies which have amassed against Him (Isaiah 63:3). This results in the damnation of the Antichrist and False Prophet, who become the first two beings cast into the eternal lake of fire (Revelation 19:11–21).

These events mark the end of the tribulation, and the beginning of the millennial kingdom: a thousand-year reign of Christ on earth. 

The second coming of Jesus must be distinguished from the rapture of the church prior to the seven-year tribulation.  At the rapture, Christ comes for His saints (John 14:3; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).  At the second coming, He comes with His saints.  At the rapture, Christ meets the saints in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:17) to take them up from earth to heaven (John 14:2-3).  At the second coming, He descends with them from heaven to the earth (Zechariah 14:4).   These are two distinct events.

What a glorious description of Jesus' return in verses 11-13.  Heaven opens, Jesus is sitting on a White Horse, He is called Faithful and True.  He judges in Righteousness and is waging war.  His eyes are a flame of fire and on His head are many crowns.  He has a name written on Him that no one knows except Himself.  He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.  This is our Savior, our Lord and King.

He is no longer riding on a donkey, but on the white horse of a Conquering King.  His rule is described in graphic, powerful imagery in verses 15 and 16.  From His mouth comes a sharp sword.  Christ will wield that sword with deadly effect as He strikes down the nations.  All those gathered at the battle at Armageddon.  The world's unredeemed people, those who have survived the tribulation, will be judged at the sheep and goat judgment following His return.  

John describes a banner around His robe and on His thigh with a name written, "KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS."  Jesus is absolute sovereign and possesses absolute rule in His kingdom.  

The last few verses describe another angel with a key role in the Apocalypse.   The darkness is lifted the smoke from Babylon's destruction is cleared.  The utter destruction of Babylon can be seen.  The fulfillment of Ezekiel 39:12 begins.  All those who sought to make war against Christ and His army will in an instant be destroyed.  The beast, the false prophet, those who received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image will be thrown into the lake of fire (See: Matthew 25:41; 66:24; Matthew 13:42; Mark 9:48). All those who war against Christ are killed with the sword which came forth from His mouth.  

Heaven Opened (19:11) - The One who ascended to heaven and had been seated at the Father's right hand (Hebrews 8:1; 10:12) will return to take back the earth from the usurper and establish His kingdom (5:1-10).  The nature of this even shows how it differs from the Rapture.  At the Rapture, Christ comes for His own, meets them in the air and takes them from earth to heaven.  There is no judgment.  At His second coming, Christ returns from Heaven to earth, with His own to judge.

White Horse (19:11) - The white horse portrays Jesus as the conqueror on His war horse, coming to destroy the wicked, to overthrow the antichrist, and to defeat Satan and take control of the earth.

Faithful and True (19:11) - He who sits on the white horse is called Faithful and true.  He was called the "faithful and true Witness" (Revelation 3:14).  He is faithful to His promises (2 Corinthians 1:20), and everything He speaks is always true (John 8:45; Titus 1:2).

In Righteousness He Judges (19:11) - He who is faithful to His word and righteous character, will also judge in righteousness.  

Makes War (19:11) - portraying the holy wrath of God against sinners.  God's patience with sinful, rebellious mankind ends.

Eyes Were a Flame of Fire (19:12) - Nothing escapes His piercing vision.  The eyes that wept over the fate of unrepentant Jerusalem, over the sorrow, suffering, and death in this sin-cursed world, are now flashing with the fire of judgment.  

A Name... No One Knew (19:12) - Though John could clearly see the writing on the crowns, He could not decipher it, nor could anyone.  Evidently it is written in characters of some unknown script, beyond our own learning.  It is not a name ascribed to Him in this passage, or any passage of scripture.  It is probably the name which is above every name (Philippians 2:9), not the name "Jesus" but the name "given to Jesus" (Philippians 2:10) when He was raised from the dead and exalted "far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named" (Ephesians 1:21).  The names assigned the Lord Jesus Christ in Scripture are many and beautiful, but all of them together cannot exhaust the infinite meaning of His ineffable name. 

Robe Dipped in Blood (19:13) - Not only is this graphic symbolism, but stark reality.  This is the shed blood of His enemies.  The slain multitudes are real, as is the Conquering King.

The Word (19:13) - Jesus is the image of the invisible 'God; the express image of His person; and the final, full revelation from God.  Jesus is the Word!

Armies in Heaven (19:14) - Composed of the church (vs. 8), tribulation saints (7:13), Old Testament believers, and even angels.  They return not to help Jesus in the battle, but to reign with Him after He defeats His enemies (20:4).

Sharp Sword (19:15) - Symbol of Christ's power to destroy His enemies (1:16).  The sword comes out of His mouth, indicating that He wins the battle with the power of His word. 

Rod of Iron (19:15) - Swift, righteous judgment will mark Christ's rule in His kingdom.  Believers share His authority (see 2:2, 27; 12:5).

Winepress (19:15) - symbol of judgment (14:9)

On His Thigh (19:16) - Jesus will wear a banner across His robe and down His thigh with a title emblazoned on it that emphasizes His absolute sovereignty over all (17:14).

Supper of the Great God (19:17) - Also called "the battle of that great day of God Almighty" (16:14), it will begin with an angel summoning birds to feed on the corpses of those who will be slain (Matthew 24:27-28).  God will declare His victory before the battle even begins.  The Old Testament frequently pictures the indignity of carrion birds feasting on human flesh (Psalm 79:2; Isaiah 18:6; Jeremiah 16:4; 19:7; 34:20; Ezekiel 29:5). 

His Army (19:19) - Described by Zechariah, as "all the saints" (14:5).

Beast Captured, and the False Prophet (19:20) - In an instant the world's armies are without their leaders.  The beast is the Antichrist (13:1-4); the false prophet is his religious cohort (13:11-17).

Cast Alive (19:20) - Banished alive and directly to the lake of fire.  The beast and the false prophet are the first of countless millions of unregenerate men and women who will join them, as will the fallen angels.

Lake of Fire (19:20) - The final hell, the place of eternal punishment for all unrepentant sinners.

Fire...Brimstone (19:20) - both words associated with divine judgment (14:10; 20:10; 21:8).  Everlasting fires.   There is no question that the Bible teaches that the ultimate destiny of all the unsaved is to be cast into the "everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matthew 25:41).  This will be their eternal prison.  

Saturday, February 10, 2024

Righteous Judgments

Bobservations' Column
Titled - "Righteous Judgments"
Written by: Pastor Bob Lawrenz

As I write this, today is Friday, February 9th. When looking at the opening lines of Revelation 19, we read of John hearing the praises of many people in heaven:

“A great voice of much people in heaven, saying, ‘Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God;’”

Of the many voices that John has heard during this revelation given to him by the Lord, John is differentiating one voice from another, and from a multitude of voices and God’s thundering voice when He speaks.

Whether studying His Word, or just living my life, what voices am I hearing? Who have I been listening to? And if it’s God, have I been paying close attention? This morning, I met two nice young men, one who made a remark to his friend, referring to the seven days of creation. And, he made mention of attending denominational grammar school. Clearly, he had not read that there were just six days of creation, for God rested the seventh day. I knew what he meant, but he got it wrong. He and his friend were using religious words as they did their work around church. “Shalom” every time they went in and out of the building. They were aware of my presence; maybe they wanted to impress me with their respectfulness in a house of worship, I don’t know.

But who had they been listening to? What have they been reading? It wasn’t God’s voice, and it wasn’t the Bible they had been reading, yet they seemed comfortable speaking to each other, in front of me. They also spoke of Super Bowl Sunday coming up, and neither of them liked beer or alcohol (Bless them!), and neither of them smoked (two thumbs up!). Their conversation revealed they had both had some “church” teachings, but they were not Biblical teachings!

They finished their work and left the church with a sincere “Shalom.” I invited them to come back on a Sunday. And then they were gone. I was surprised that I did not hear “Namaste’, the traditional Hindu greeting, or good=bye

“Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. …”  - Genesis 3:1

**It’s interesting to note that the serpent came from the field, into the Garden.

Bobservations' Column: Audio Version

Sunday Morning's Audio Message:
Revelation 19:1-10 - "Righteous Judgments"

Summary/Additional Notes:  

As we begin chapter 19 of Revelation, the scene shifts from earth to heaven.  John describes rejoicing and praise.  History, literally, "His story," is finally reaching its culmination and Christ will establish His kingdom on earth.  

From the beginning God is.  He is eternal. He is Creator. He is the beginning and the end.  He is sovereign over the events of the world. He is true to His Word, and His Word will come to pass.  When Jesus returns, He will reward His followers, and punish His enemies.  

As we begin Revelation 19, to this point, the earth has been subjected to a series of judgments by God. These were first described as seal judgments (Revelation 5—8), then through the trumpet judgments (Revelation 8—11), and finally the bowl judgments (Revelation 12—16).

The last two chapters gave a poetic description of the fall of "Babylon," both as a corrupt religious system and as the political empire of the Antichrist (Revelation 17—18).

Here, John witnesses prayers from heaven which precede a great celebration, followed by the triumphant return of Jesus Christ to earth.

With the opening hallelujah, this multitude in heaven gives three attributes that God is worthy to be praised for: His salvation, His glory and His power. The salvation, the glory and the power are ascribed as belonging to our God, He alone is worthy of this great praise. Because God displays these attributes His judgments are true and righteous. God does not just judge for the enjoyment of it, He never judges falsely. When He judges it is because He is the Judge of all the earth and it is true that man has turned away from Him and rebelled against His goodness, so His judgment is true, and His judgment is righteous.

John goes on to tell us that God is worthy to be praised because He has judged the great harlot, which personified Babylon both as the false religious system in chapter 17 and as the economic and political system in chapter 18. The wickedness of both these systems had corrupted the whole earth and the whole earth had lusted after the great harlot committing immorality with her and drinking the wine of her deception, but not only did God judge her for deceiving the world, but He also avenged the blood of His servants who were murdered by her hand.

This tribute of praise is followed by the second hallelujah and a statement that the smoke of Babylon will continue to rise forever. This cannot mean that the city will continue to burn forever, but it will be fulfilled by the unending judgment upon the people who participated in her wicked deeds.

God reigns over all and His plan for this world will be fulfilled, this we can be sure of. God is intimately involved in His creation and all His creation must answer to Him. He is the Judge of all the earth.

This passage this morning is also a reminder to us that we as the Church are the Bride of Christ and the marriage symbolism is beautifully fulfilled in the relationship of Jesus Christ to His Church. The wedding contract is consummated at the time that the church is redeemed, the contract was drawn up before the foundation of the world was laid, in eternity past. When Christ comes for His church at the rapture, the second stage of the wedding is fulfilled, the Bridegroom goes to receive His bride and escort her to His heavenly home. The third stage follows which has just been announced, that is the wedding feast or celebration.

Prophecy at its very heart is designed to unfold the beauty and the glory of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In this time in history, the present age the Spirit of God is not only to glorify Christ but also to show believers things to come as they relate to the person and majesty of Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ is not only the major theme of the Scriptures, but also the central theme of prophecy.

After these things (19:1) - Time key - after the destruction of Babylon at the end of the Great Tribulation, and before Christ's kingdom is established.

Great Voice of Many People (19:1) - The great assembly of heaven sounding forth a great chorus of praise.  Some call it the mighty "Hallelujah Chorus," when the innumerable host in the heavens spontaneously break forth in a great response of praise.  The imminent return of the Lord Jesus Christ prompts this outburst of praise.

Alleluia (19:1) - The transliteration of this Hebrew word appears four times in the New Testament, all in this chapter (v. 1, 3, 4, 6).  This exclamation, meaning "praise the Lord," occurs frequently in the Old Testament (see Psalm 105:45; 106:1; 111:1; 112:1; 113:1; 117:1).  

The reason for their praise emerges:  
  • God's deliverance of His people from their enemies (vs. 1); 
  • God's justice (vs. 2); 
  • God's permanent destruction of human rebellion (vs.3) 
  • God's sovereignty (vs. 6); 
  • God's eternal communion with His people (vs. 7). 
Judgments (19:2) - The saints have longed for the day of judgment (6:10).  Like God, His followers love righteousness and hate sin.  Righteousness honors God and sin mocks Him.  Believers long for Christ's kingdom where righteousness and truth reign.

Smoke Rose Up (19:3) - Still rejoicing over the fall of Babylon, John interjects the sad observation that the smoke of the burning city will continue ascending eternally.  The unsaved souls will be resurrected for the last judgment and will be cast into the lake of fire for eternity. 

Four and Twenty Elders (19:4) - Redeemed saints, representatives of the church (see 4:4).

Four Beasts (Cherubim) (19:4) - Represent the host of heaven, all the heavenly angels.

Small and Great (19:5) - All the redeemed will be "His Servants" there, no matter how great or small had been their position in their previous earthly lives.  

Omnipotent (19:6) - He is the Lord God "Almighty".  This is used nine times in Revelation as a title for God (see vs 15; 1:8; 4:8; 11:17; 15:3; 16:7, 14; 21:22). 

Marriage of the Lamb (19:7) - The church was betrothed to Christ.  In the New Testament, the Church is symbolized as the pure and faithful Bride of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:2).  This is the final, perfect eternal union between Christ and His followers.  All sin will have been purged and cleansed, and full fellowship reestablished forever. 

Righteousness of the Saints (19:8) - The practical results of Christ's imputed righteousness granted to believers at salvation.  This is the outward manifestation of inward virtue.

They which are Called (19:9) - Not the church, but those saved before Pentecost, all faithful believers saved by His grace through faith up to the birth of the church (Acts 2). Though they are not the bride, they still are glorified and reign with Christ in the millennial kingdom.  The guests will also include tribulation saints and believers alive in earthly bodies in the kingdom.  The church is the bride, pure and faithful.

Fell at His Feet (19:10) - So magnificent is the mighty angel, John, overwhelmed, falls in worship before an angel.  Not the last time he makes this mistake (22:8, 9).  Both times the angel reminds him not to do this.  God and God alone should be worshiped.  No created thing or being is ever to be worshiped.  All power and authority belong to God, and He alone is worship of all honor, praise and worship.  Angels are merely "ministering" spirits (Hebrews 1:14). 

The Testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy (19:10) - The central theme of both Old Testament prophecy and New Testament preaching is the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. In 1 John 4:1-3, John had warned, "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits, whether they are of God...Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God."   The testimony of Jesus IS THE SPIRIT OF TRUE PROPHECY.  The most amazing of all revelations is that the Almighty Creator had become the man Jesus, to save His people from their sins. 

Saturday, February 3, 2024

In One Hour

Bobservations' Column
Titled - "In One Hour"
Written by:  Pastor Bob Lawrenz

We have a closing view of Babylon today in Revelation 18, just a few verses.

From the beginning of this chapter, we have read of this great city’s downfall. The riches and wealth of the city have come to a permanent end. We have already had a tiny taste of this in most of our lives. We witnessed it, and have seen its aftermath. It was covered world-wide on the world’s media platforms in print, on radio, TV, and all over the Internet.

Just short of 25 years ago, religious zealots praised and celebrated the attack on the World Trade Center in New York. TV and the Internet covered the attack in-depth via video broadcasts. We do not know if Babylon is identified as New York City, but many of NY’s character and traits fit the description, as do several other major world cities. But perhaps the most striking that we have seen is the name itself: “The World Trade Center”

First Responders of all sorts were already enroute or in-place by the time the media set their cameras up in time to watch the second plane hit its target. Initial reports told us of the first plane striking the tower. Was it an accident? Pilot error? Avionics gone wrong? Those questions were no longer asked once the second tower was hit by a second plane. Media viewers watched in horror as the second plane turned deliberately towards its target. Multiple planes were hijacked and flown to different targets. Their pilots all on a suicide mission.

Just four miles away stood the United Nations Building, where heads of State and Ambassadors from around the world meet to make sure the nations of the world did not run amuck from one another. Sadly, and full of hypocrisy, many of our nation’s enemies meet in that building yet today.

Western Countries bewailed the losses from the World Trade Center attack.

The Islamic nations of the Middle East celebrated, and partied in the streets.
Islamic zealots became the enemies of the modern world, and heroes of Islam.

This was a small taste of what’s coming. Babylon will be coming down. Our loving Savior, however, has told us that He would be faithful too His Church. To His Word, and to His Church faithful will He always be.

From Revelation 18:10 - 

“Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, 'Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour is thy judgment come."

The South Tower collapsed, just 56 minutes after the plane struck.

Bobservations' Column: Audio Version

Sunday Morning's Audio Message:
Revelation 18:19-24 - "In One Hour"

Summary/Additional Bible NotesAdditional Study Notes are forthcoming!

Last week we looked at the judgment of God on the physical city of Babylon which will be the political and economic capital of the Antichrist’s world empire. We went through the first 18 verses where we looked at several aspects of judgment. As we finish up this chapter, we will look at a few more aspects of judgment...  judgment that is mourned by the unrepentant yet celebrated by the saints.  It is a judgment that is finished and justified.

This is the final and absolute destruction of the beast's vast economic and political system.

The city-nation of Babylon, in the end times, is the hub of commerce and power, and of pervasive wickedness, sinfulness, idolatry and sensual perversions (Revelation 18:1–3).

The sins of Babylon are enormous, and her judgment from God will be in proportion to that sin. The rapid nature of this judgment is revealed.  Babylon is fallen, is fallen!  In one hour, she’s been laid waste. This was the city, the great city. No city like the great city, and it went down in one hour – not literally, but in one great hour of immediate judgment.  Babylon falls completely and forever! 

In verse 20, 
"Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her" heaven rejoices.  There is rejoicing because righteousness triumphs, because Christ is exalted, because the kingdom comes, and the people damned to hell with all their power and all their will, and all the expression of their heart made their choice against every conceivable warning. This is the rejoicing that heaven waits for, beloved, even today, when sin is crushed, when sinners are destroyed, when the cursed earth is burned and a restored earth is made, and Jesus comes and sets up His kingdom, and peace and righteousness reign. And if you’re a Christian you understand that, because the Lord has endured humiliation long enough, and so have His people. And righteousness and justice and truth and purity have had enough abuse.

Additional Study Notes are forthcoming!

Saturday, January 27, 2024

Last Call for Grace and Mercy

Bobservations' Column
Titled - "Last Call for Grace and Mercy"
Written by: Pastor Bob Lawrenz

Finality has come. In recent chapters we have read that “Babylon is fallen, is fallen,” in the Old Testament as well as the New. Her end has been coming for a long time. The final warnings of chapter 15; judgment for the Beast, antichrist in 16; judgment for the False Prophet in 17, and now in chapter 18, we hear of God’s great mercy and grace to the remnant of His people. To Jews, yes, but also to apostate Believers. In fact, to any who have honored God’s presence in their lives, they are being called upon to “come out” of Babylon. The evidence of her lies is being exposed. Take advantage of God’s disgust with Babylon, and His love for His own! Our gracious Jesus gives Believers with only a mustard seed sized faith another chance to hear, and to follow Him.

As the end of Babylon comes, the words of Joshua 24:15 echo in our minds, “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Decisively, we will serve the Lord!

To the Believer, the only rational choice is obvious. But not everyone left on the Earth at this time will be rational! Jesus is asking each for a decision, just the same. There are many gods of this world, but a Believer will see that the gods of this world are failing, and they will choose the God of Heaven instead. As Babylon’s finality becomes obvious, only those whose hearts are hardened will go down with Babylon, rejecting the truth, and still hoping in the lies of the Dragon (Satan).

From Joshua 24:16b -

“…God forbid that we should forsake the Lord, to serve other gods;”

Bobservations' Column: Audio Version

Sunday Morning's Audio Message
Revelation 18:1-21 - "Last Call for Grace and Mercy"

Summary/Additional Bible Notes

To review, the bowl judgments have already been poured out (chapter 16). Both last week and this week's teaching reveals the future end of the satanic religious, political and economic system of Babylon, and the beast who leads it.

The mighty system of the Babylon of old is not really dead.  
Babylon’s first mention in the Bible was as a place of rebellion against God (Genesis 11). The ancient nation of Babylon was a dominating power throughout the later centuries of the Old Testament. Babylon was the nation God used to judge Israel, sending them into exile beginning in 605 BC and destroying the temple in 586 BC. Babylon was arguably the first kingdom to have a global influence, a system very much alive today through the world financial institutes. Even after its fall in roughly 539 BC, Babylon continued to be seen as a place of evil (see Zechariah 5:5–11).

In Revelation 17, the angel identifies Babylon the Great as “that great city that rules over the kings of the earth” (Revelation 17:18). The angel also provides some detail of the events leading up to the fall of Babylon the Great (Revelation 17:1–5). At the conclusion of this vision, the angel provides an interpretation of the vision and the events it relates (Revelation 17:7–18).

The vision describes a woman, or harlot, sitting upon a scarlet beast covered in blasphemous names (see notes from Revelation 17). The woman is immoral and corrupt, leading others down the same path of corruption. This woman is dressed in expensive, fine apparel, and the beast she rides has seven heads and ten horns. On the woman’s forehead is her identity, 
“Babylon The Great, The Mother Of Harlots And Abominations Of The Earth.” (Revelation 17:5).

From John’s vision, we draw several conclusions about Babylon the Great:
  • Babylon in the end times will have influence over all “peoples, multitudes, nations and languages” (Revelation 17:15).
  • Babylon the Great will promote religious heresy, indicated by its association with blasphemy (Revelation 17:3) and its depiction as a prostitute (see Psalm 106:39; Leviticus 17:7; Judges 2:17).
  • Babylon will brutally kill the true followers of God: the woman is “drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus:” (Revelation 17:6; cf. 18:24).
  • Babylon in the end times will once again be a place of luxury, wealth, and opulence - the center of world finances (Revelation 18:7, 11–17).
  • Babylon the Great will be a center of worldwide merchandising (Revelation 18:19, 23).
  • Babylon will actively lead people astray into corruption (Revelation 18:23; 19:2).
  • Babylon the Great will be associated with a federation of ten kings, plus the beast (Revelation 17:12; cf. 13:4).
  • End-times Babylon will thrive for a time, but then the beast and the ten kings will conclude that such a financial, religious, and political system is no longer needed. They will proceed to dispose of it: “And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.” (Revelation 17:16-17).
  • The fall of Babylon the Great is the result of God’s judgment as He works through the ten kings to accomplish His will (Revelation 17:17).
This week we learn the details of the final destruction of "Babylon" and the beast's vast economic and political system.

The sins of Babylon are enormous, and her judgment from God will be in proportion to that sin. The rapid nature of this judgment is first mentioned here, then further noted in later verses (Revelation 18:4–8).

John hears another voice warning "my people" to flee the city. This parallels the Old Testament warning given to Lot to evacuate Sodom in advance of God's judgment (Genesis 19:12–13). Not only does God want "His people" to avoid being caught up in the sins of Babylon, but He also warns them that tangible judgment is coming, and they need to flee.

Today, as we look at Revelation 18, John has recorded a vision of a mighty angel descending from heaven to announce the fall of Babylon the Great. Babylon the Great is not only the last human empire this world will ever know, but it is utterly evil.  It is a world system, associated with the Antichrist of the end times, and is pictured as a prostitute committing fornication with the kings of the earth (Revelation 17:1–2). The “whore of Babylon” or “mystery Babylon” makes war against the true saints of God (verse 6) and is best interpreted as an ungodly, end-times religious system.

In Revelation 18:4, God commands His people to "come out of her."  It is the last call of God's grace and mercy to God's people, a warning to escape the judgment and utter ruin of Babylon the Great. This is the False Prophet's false religious system, as well as the Beast's Economic and Political system.  The false religious system had her time of influence, when
“...all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.” (verse 3). But she is the subject of God’s wrath, and she will be judged: “For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.” (verse 5). She will suffer a quick demise: “Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.” (verse 8), and “And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.” (verse 21).

The message the angel proclaims is for God's people to disentangle themselves from the world system.  The first reason they must "come out of 
her” or quite literally, "flee Babylon" is so they "will not participate in her sins" (Revelation 18:4). The materialistic Babylon will exert an almost irresistible influence on Believers to participate in her sins.  Have nothing to do with the false system of the Antichrist. Separate from the enemies of God.  (See Jeremiah 51:6-9)

Second, God's people must flee so they do not "receive any of her plagues." To share in the sin is to share in the guilt. God wants His people to maintain their purity and to be free from judgment. Finally, believers must flee Babylon because "her sins have piled up as high as heaven."  Piled is from a Greek word that literally means "to glue together" or "to join."  The angel proclaims that, "God has remembered her iniquities" (verse 5).  Although God is long-suffering, He does not turn a blind eye to sin.  He is holy and righteous, and sin will be judged.  He does not forget, and he knows that the measure of her wickedness is full.  Babylon's rebellion has been long, and deep, and wide, and the time has come to drink of God's cup of wrath.

The question for us to really ponder is this, why should any believer be living in "Babylon" in the first place?  Babylon is the very hub of wickedness, anti-Christianity.  They should already know they do not belong; for LIGHT cannot dwell in darkness!  This is the slippery slope of compromise, the compromise of God's written Word, and the compromise with the world's system and all if its snares.

Warning after warning throughout the Old Testament and the New, yet God's warnings go unheeded. From the beginning of this book to the end, they will not yield to God.  They reject God and His Word!

While God's people are told to separate from spiritual Babylon (Revelation 18:4), in the Old Testament, God's people were told to separate from physical Babylon.  Israel had been held captive in Babylon for seventy years as judgment for sin and idolatry.  At the end of this captivity, God told them to flee: 
“Flee (literally, run for your lives) out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul: be not cut off in her iniquity; for this is the time of the LORD'S vengeance; he will render unto her a recompence. . . We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed: forsake her, and let us go every one into his own country: for her judgment reacheth unto heaven, and is lifted up even to the skies. . . My people, go ye out of the midst of her, and deliver ye every man his soul from the fierce anger of the LORD” (Jeremiah 51:6, 9, 45; see also: Isaiah 52:11 and Jeremiah 50:8).

God always separates His people from His wrath: 
  • Abraham/Sodom and Gomorrah - Genesis 18:25 
  • God's judment upon the Egyptians with plagues, (Exodus 8:22–23; 9:4–6, 26; 10:23; 11:7).
  • Moses commanded the Israelites to separate themselves from the family of Korah. Just before God’s judgment of the rebels, Moses “warned the assembly, ‘Move back from the tents of these wicked men! Do not touch anything belonging to them, or you will be swept away because of all their sins.’ So, they moved away from the tents of Korah, Dathan and Abiram” (Numbers 16:26–27). Immediately following, the earth opened up and swallowed Korah and the other rebels alive (verses 31–33).
In 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11, scripture tells us that "For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. 11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do."

The call every believer is to separate themselves from the wickedness of the world. We are to “come out of her” and be separate (see 2 Corinthians 6:14-17). 

Here in chapter 18 of Revelation, we see 
God's judgment pronounced (vs. 1-3); avoided (vs 4-5); defined (vs 6-8); lamented (vs. 9-19); exalted and praised (vs. 20); completed (vs. 21-23a); and lastly, justified (vs. 23b-24).

Earth Lightened with His Glory (18:1) - The fifth bowl judgment (16:10) will have plunged the world into darkness.  Against that backdrop, the sudden, blazing appearance of another angel, a being of great power and luminous energy as to illumine the whole earth.  The light and Glory of God! It is His light alone that dispels darkness.  Jesus is the Light of the World.  His light is in every believer, and as His followers, we are to shine the light of His glory in this spiritually darkened world. (Romans 1).

Babylon the Great is Fallen (18:2) - The entire evil religious, political and economic system of the beast in the last of days will be destroyed. This is the future event; mankind's last great empire will face the wrath of God.  Such devastation and annihilation will leave the place to demons and evil spirits.

Wine of Her Fornication (18:3) - Religious Babylon (chapter 17) lures the nations into spiritual drunkenness and fornication with false gods (17:2, 4); commercial Babylon (chapter 18) seduces the unbelieving world into a materialistic stupor, so that the people of the world will become drunk with passion because of their relationship with Babylon. The Babylon's of Revelation 14, 17 and 18 are all the same thing, it is the one great system of the Antichrist, yet there are differences.  There is a religious Babylon, the great whore, and an economic/political Babylon, the scarlet beast, but they are two sides of the same coin, their roles all support the same thing. Here the whole world drank of the filth of Babylon, and thus the wine of God's wrath.
  • spiritual fornication
  • idolatry
  • ]corruption and greed
  • unspeakable sinfulness
Kings...Merchants (18:3) - Political rulers and corporate leaders alike are swept up in this worldwide system of commerce (14:8; 17:2).  So easy to see this, even now.

Come Out of Her, My People (18:4) - God will call His own to disentangle themselves from this evil system.  It is a sad commentary on Christian men and women, that throughout history, their greed and desire for acceptance by the world has made them so willing to compromise with the spirit of Babylon. Babylon in all its forms has always been the enemy of God.  Still there will be a number of new Christians choosing to live in Babylon falsely believing they will be safe, even under the terrible judgments and repeated warnings and pleas of the Lord's witnesses during the early years of the tribulation.  As always, God warns His People not to compromise with the Babylonian system but to separate from it (2 Corinthians 6:14-18).  The message is to abandon the system before it is destroyed.  The judgment of God on that society living in sinful arrogant self-indulgence must be avoided.

Remembered (18:5) - God remembers all the willful rebellious sin against Him from the Tower of Babel through today.  Scientific technology, and the gross pride of man who usurp the glory of God for themselves.  It is a comfort to know that God does not remember the iniquities of His people (Jeremiah 31:34) but does remember to protect them (Malachi 3:16-4:2).  BUT... for the unrepentant, they will face the wine of His wrath, and it will destroy them.

Reward (or repay) (18:6-7) - The angel calls for God to recompense wrath to Babylon in her own cup to repay her according to her deeds (see 17:4).  This is an echo of the Old Testament law of retaliation (Exodus 21:24), which will be implemented by God (Romans 12:17-21). 

Cup (18:6) - The cup of wickedness from which so many have drunk (14:8; 17:2, 4, 6) will call for the cup of wrath (14:10; 16:19).

Am No Widow (18:7) - A proud, but empty, boast of self-sufficiency.  This is pride at its worst!

Her Plagues (18:8) - These could include those of 16:1-21 but must be the special destruction of the city as well, described as "death, mourning and famine."

In One Day (18:8) - The special judgment of Babylon will take place in a very brief period of time (see verses 10, 17.).

Kings (18:9) - The political leaders of the world will weep because of the loss of this capital city will signal the doom of the Antichrist's empire, and with it, the source of their power (see verse 3, 17:2).

Bewail (weep) and Lament for Her (18:9) - "Bewail" means "to sob openly."  "Lament" translates the same Greek word used to express the despair of the unbelieving world at the return of Christ (1:7).

Alas, Alas (18:10) - The same Greek word "ovai" as translated "woe" in Revelation 8:13.

Slaves and Souls of Men (18:13) - The slave trade, long banned by the civilized nations of the world, will reappear in Antichrist's debauched commercial system. 

Dust on Their Heads (18:19) - An ancient expression of grief (see Joshua 7:6; 1 Samuel 4:12; 2 Samuel 1:2; 15:32; Job 2:12). Here we see the extremity of their despair. This is the hopeless lament of souls who know they are lost and doomed but are unable even to acknowledge or care about the sin of unrepenting unbelief which put them there.  Their only thought is one of loss of wealth and power.  

In One Hour (18:19) - One brief period of swift judgment (see vs. 8).

The message for this morning stops here, but included are some notes for the last few verses of this chapter:

God Hath Avenged You on Her (18:20) - Though all of heaven are included in the exhortation, as well as the apostles and prophets, the angel will exhort the tribulation martyrs (6:9-11) to rejoice, not over the deaths of those doomed to eternal hell, but because God's righteousness and justice will have prevailed.

Great Millstone (18:21) - Millstones were very large, heavy stones used to grind grain.  This metaphor portrays the violence of Babylon's overthrow. 

Shall Not Be Heard (18:22-23) -The fall of Babylon ends whatever semblance of normalcy will still exist in the world after all the judgments.  Life will be totally disrupted and the end near.  No more music, entertainment, peace, industry, supply, no more power for light, no more weddings... because God will destroy the deceivers and the deceived.  All of man's prideful accomplishments will be destroyed, they will lament and will never know real peace.  

Sorceries (18:23) - The "sorceries" comes from the Greek "pharmakeia" indicating the widespread use of drugs as well as occult arts in this great New Age metropolis.

Blood of Prophets and Saints (18:24) - The religious/economic and political systems embodied in "Babylon" will commit unspeakable atrocities against God's people (see 6:10; 11:7; 13:7,15; 17:6; 19:2).  God will avenge that slaughter of His people (19:2). 
"Throughout history the kingdoms and empires built by proud, arrogant, God-rejecting people have come and gone.  The spirit of humanism first expressed at Babel has permeated human history ever since.  Unshakable optimistic despite centuries of war, slaughter, injustice, and cruelty, people will seek a utopia, to be brought about by humanity's upward scientific progress.  Having taken control (so they think) of their "own destiny," sinners have no use for God and haughtily replace Him as self-styled gods devoted to their own sovereignty.

Compared to the glorious, indescribable majesty of the omnipotent God, all of man's vaunted empires are a mere "drop from a bucket" (Isaiah 40:15), and God "has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed" (Acts 17:31).  Nowhere in Scripture is there a more detailed description of the coming judgment than in Revelation 6-18.  With the destruction of the last and greatest human empire, the stage is set for the triumphant return of the Lord Jesus Christ." 

2007 - Because the Time is Near - "The Business of Babylon" - J.Mac

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