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.  

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