Are You Ready for the Rapture? - Nathele Graham - firstname.lastname@example.org
The Rapture is drawing nearer by each passing day. Every Christian should be eagerly watching the signs and yearning to hear that call from our Lord. When will it happen? That’s impossible to predict, but Jesus gave us a summary of the signs to watch for that would lead to the Tribulation; those final seven years will follow the Rapture. As we see the signs all falling into place, we can see just how close we are to going Home. There are also signs disclosed in Ezekiel, Daniel, Revelation, and more. Most Christians don’t study Scripture so they’re blind to what’s swiftly coming. The nightly news will report things from a secular view, but if you filter their reports through the lens of Scripture you might find some interesting facts. None of us know when we will be standing before Jesus, but either by death or by the Rapture, it is certain we will be there one day. The question is, when your time comes, what will you be doing?
As we go through this life, it can become easy to think like the secular people around us. Gossiping with co-workers or losing patience with people who don’t come up to our idea of perfection. Friends may tempt you to participate in activities that Scripture tells us are sin, or we might just selfishly decide not to help someone in need. We all make choices as to how we approach life. The Apostle Paul encouraged the Corinthians to take thoughts captive. “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds:) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; and having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-6.
Will you be acting or thinking in disobedience to God when you’re called Home? Or will you be standing firmly upon God’s word? It’s easy to try to please friends and family, but those people cannot bring salvation to you. Only Christ’s blood brings salvation and He deserves our obedience. Jesus told us very clearly that sin begins with our thoughts. “But I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” Matthew 5:28.
This also applies to women lusting after men. James had very good insight about temptation. “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God, for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man. But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived it bringeth forth sin and sin, when it is finished, bringeth for death.” James 1:13-15.
When you leave this world, will you be lusting after a sinful desire? Will you yield to the temptation of evil? Take your thoughts captive and don’t give Satan chance to ruin your life.
We all have to grow up and mature. Children react to situations in ways that are very immature. If another child takes Billy’s toy, Billy reacts by violence or yelling. Billy, and all of us, must learn to share and to find a better way to resolve the situation than anger and violence. “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” 1 Corinthians 13:11.
Good parents will guide children into maturity in everyday life, and maturity in their Christian walk. A Christian father should be the example to his son as to how to be a man, and an example to his daughter as to what to look for in a husband. The same with a mother. God, our Father, gives us guidance in living, and as His children we need to be obedient. There are many temptations, but if God’s word is written on our hearts, we will make choices that honor Him. In that way, whatever we are doing or thinking at the time we are called Home, we won’t be ashamed. Parents, be sure you have given your child the firm foundation of Christ. Lead by example so you, and your children, won’t have any shame when meeting Jesus. “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:” Romans 5:12.
We are born with a sin nature, but by accepting Christ’s sacrifice, our sins are forgiven. We must repent, and turn from sin.
Where did that sin nature come from? Eve chose to converse with Satan and was deceived into sin, but Adam chose to sin. “For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” 1 Timothy 2:13-14.
This stumbles many people. Paul isn’t saying that women aren’t important to God’s work, or lesser people than men, but he is saying that men are to be the leaders. In writing these commentaries, I’m very cautious. My husband began this ministry and God is allowing me to continue writing commentaries. I only study the men whom Ron trusted and thereby I stay under his authority, and in tune with God’s will. What will I be doing when I’m called Home? Prayerfully, I will be serving my Lord. Will I be harboring any sinful thoughts? Probably, but my desire is to take those thoughts captive and bring “… into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5b.
None of us can stand before God by our own merit. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.” Romans 3:23-25.
We are all sinners, but Christians are saved by grace. If you say “I’m a Christian”, shouldn’t your actions speak louder than your words? Works won’t save us, but they are important in serving Christ. Jesus said “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house and it fell: and great was the fall of it. Matthew 7:24-27.
We all have a foundation in life. Either a secular foundation built upon sand that will fall when storms hit, or the wiser foundation built upon the Rock. The Apostle Paul carries this truth into his first letter to the Corinthians “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.” 1 Corinthians 3:11-13.
If you think you can accept Christ and then live a worldly, self-serving life, you need to think again. What you do with Christ’s free gift of salvation will affect your eternity. You won’t lose salvation, but you will lose rewards. “If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” 1 Corinthians 3:14-15.
What will you be doing when you’re called Home? Will you be building upon a foundation that is firmly set upon the Rock, Jesus Christ? Or will you be building on a foundation of sand with wood, hay, and stubble? The rewards you earn for things done for God’s glory, will bring eternal joy.
Brothers and sisters, we cannot know when we will find ourselves standing before our Lord. Will you have a heart attack? Maybe a car wreck will send you Home, or some other unexpected event. I’ve known many people who have died unexpectedly. Some of those people leave no doubt in my mind that they are with the Lord eternally, because they lived their faith so everyone could see. What if you don’t die? What if the Rapture happens? “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” 1 Corinthians 15:51-52.
You won’t have time to go make apologies to someone you’ve caused trouble. You won’t have time to go do that good deed you chose not to do because it interfered with your fun. You will be doing something. I hope you’ll be serving the Lord.
I know what I’d like to be doing when He calls me Home. I’d love to be sharing the Gospel. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be sharing God’s truth with the person who is the last to accept Christ during the Church age? “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles come in.” Romans 11:25.
There will be one last Gentile to come to faith. Time is getting short and if your grandmother, uncle, cousin, or friend haven’t accepted Christ for salvation, they won’t “go to a better place” after death. Share the Gospel with everybody you can, and be a source of Christian encouragement to those who have given their life to Christ.
What will you be doing when God calls you Home? Make sure what you’re doing is something that glorifies Christ.
God bless you all,
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What Deal Are the Americans and Saudis Negotiating? – Caroline Glick - https://www.prophecynewswatch.com/article.cfm?recent_news_id=6277
Under the headline, "U.S.-Saudi Deal Sets Path to Normalize Kingdom's Ties with Israel," on Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal published a detailed report of the content of U.S.-Saudi discussions. The headline was accurate as far as that goes. But the content of the article made clear that Israel is not the real focus of the discussions.
Although the story paid homage to the media's favored issue: Israeli concessions to the Palestinians, it acknowledged that the Palestinians are at best a tertiary issue for Saudi officials who "have dwindling patience for uncompromising and divided Palestinian leaders with limited popular support."
U.S. and Saudi negotiations are centered on two main issues: China and America's strategic alignment in the Middle East.
China is the focus of U.S. demands from the Saudis. U.S. President Joe Biden's advisers have presented economic, technological and military demands to the Saudis relating to their burgeoning ties with China. Economically, Biden's advisers are seeking assurances from the Saudis that they will not replace the U.S. dollar as the currency of exchange in global energy markets.
Over the past year and a half, the Saudis have agreed to sell their oil to the Chinese in yuan. The problem with the U.S. position is that it was the Biden administration itself that created the opening for a parallel market for energy sales not tied to the petrodollar.
The Biden administration responded to Russia's invasion of Ukraine 18 months ago by imposing unprecedented economic sanctions on Russia's international trade. Among other things, it barred the purchase of Russian oil. But price increases in the global energy market as a consequence of the move made it unsustainable.
Russia was quick to respond in cooperation with China, India and other key economies by setting up alternative, non-dollar-denominated energy markets. If the United States wants to restore the petrodollar's position as the sole currency of exchange in the global energy markets, then it has to scale back its anti-Russian sanctions or massively increase its own oil production to increase supply in the international market.
Obviously, such policies require shifts both in the administration's domestic energy policies and in its Russia policies. The likelihood of such moves on the eve of a presidential election, when Biden needs to keep progressive activists in his camp is not high.
As for technology, the Journal reported the Biden administration is demanding that the Saudis limit their use of Chinese Huawei 5G technology.
The issue of Chinese 5G technology is similarly complicated and at least in part, driven by U.S. structural weaknesses. As Carice Witte, executive director of SIGNAL (Sino-Israel Global Network and Academic Leadership), explained on "The Caroline Glick Show" in early July, China is building Saudi Arabia's new technology-based city Neom. The United States, whose oil companies and contractors built Saudi Arabia's oil industry and much of the country itself in the 20th century, is no longer in the business of building cities. As for technology, America offers its allies no real alternative to Huawei's 5G communication infrastructure.
Israel is the only U.S. ally in the Middle East and one of just a few U.S. allies worldwide that have banned use of Huawei systems in their territories. Non-Chinese alternatives are available. In some cases, they are inferior. In some cases, they are more expensive. To convince the Saudis to embrace them, the administration will need to make significant changes in its strategic outlook and positioning in the region.
The Journal reported that the United States seeks assurances from the Saudis that they will not permit the Chinese to build and operate military bases on Saudi territory--as the United Arab Emirates has done.
This demand is eminently doable. But it draws us into the much more significant issue of credibility of the U.S.-Saudi alliance, and for that matter, the U.S.-Israel alliance.
The American demand that the Saudis not permit China to build military bases in the Kingdom is directly related to the three security demands that the Saudis have presented to the United States as conditions for a U.S.-brokered peace deal with Israel.
The Saudis seek U.S. cooperation in the development of peaceful nuclear-energy capabilities for the Kingdom; recognition as a major non-NATO ally from the United States and an end to the limits the administration placed on weapons sales in Saudi Arabia in 2021.
Progressives in Congress are expected to oppose all three Saudi demands. And their opposition in part is aligned with the administration's own positions. Biden and his advisers ran for office on a foreign-policy platform that was harshly critical of Mohammed bin Salman specifically and the Saudis more generally, and openly supportive of the Islamic regime in Iran.
On the face of things, the administration can easily undo what it has done. It can end the limitations on arms sales. And it can certainly give Saudi Arabia the status of major non-NATO ally. After all, Biden gave that status to Qatar in 2021 even as Qatar sponsors Hamas, the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, and remains Iran's top ally in the Arab world.
As for the peaceful nuclear-energy demand, the administration can render the issue moot by blocking Iran's path to a nuclear arsenal.
All of these actions are possible. But they all require a realignment of the administration's strategic position in the region. For the administration to satisfy the Saudis' demands, it needs to abandon its efforts to replace Saudi Arabia and Israel with Iran as the U.S.'s chief partners and allies in the region. This means the administration needs to end its nuclear diplomacy with Teheran, or fundamentally change its position from supporting Iran's nuclear-weapons program, to active backing of Israeli-Saudi efforts to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear-armed state.
The Saudis are not blind. They understand that after America's failed wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, there is little to no public support in the United States for a significant build-up of military forces in the region, much less for active U.S. involvement in a major military push to prevent Iran from crossing the nuclear finish line. This is why a U.S. realignment away from Iran and towards Israel and Saudi Arabia becomes critical.
If Washington wishes to both maintain its position as the preeminent superpower in the region, scaling back China's inroads and at a minimum, containing Russia, it needs to provide its currently spurned strategic regional allies--Israel and Saudi Arabia--with certain strategic and diplomatic guarantees. It needs to stand with them diplomatically against Iran, shielding both countries from assaults at the United Nations, among other things. It needs to provide them with the military materiel and logistical support through Central Command to enable them to take the necessary actions to block Iran's efforts to build and maintain nuclear warheads.
If the Biden administration does these things, it will secure America's position in the region. It will also see significant advances in its economic and technological demands from Saudi Arabia regarding China. It will likely receive significant responsiveness from other states in the region as well.
But to implement this policy, the administration must first abandon its efforts to embrace and appease Iran.
White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby responded on Wednesday afternoon to The Wall Street Journal report saying, "There is no agreed-to framework to codify normalization or any of the security considerations that we and our friends have in the region."
In other words, as of Aug. 9, the White House remains unwilling to shift its strategic posture in the region.
The postscript of this state of affairs is the headline of the Journal article: Saudi-Israel ties. In an interview with Bloomberg on Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made clear the direction that those ties are moving.
"There is an economic corridor of energy transport and communications that naturally goes through our geography ... from Asia to the Arabian Peninsula to Europe. We're going to realize that," Netanyahu said.
Crucially, he added: "By the way, my sense is that we're going to realize that ... whether we have formal peace or not."
In previous statements, Netanyahu detailed that he foresees the construction of direct rail links between the UAE and Saudi Arabia through Jordan to the Mediterranean. Goods shipped this way will augment maritime travel through the Suez Canal, which is already operating at full capacity. It will also economically and technologically integrate Israel into the region. So, from a practical perspective then, the only thing required to actually "normalize" Israeli-Saudi ties is the railroad--or even expanded highways for truck-based transport.
Such an infrastructure link between Israel and Saudi Arabia move won't diminish Chinese influence in the region. It won't diminish Russian influence or expand U.S. influence. And that is why the deal on the table isn't so much Israel-Saudi peace. It is the future role the United States wishes to play.
If Biden seeks to secure U.S. power in the region, he will abandon Obama's failed policy of aligning with the U.S.'s most powerful regional enemy against its most powerful regional allies and embrace them, and the formal normalization of their relations.
If Biden fails to take this deal, the current regional dynamics will continue to play out. China will continue to rise. Russia will remain powerful. The United States will continue to bleed power and influence. America's spurned allies will continue to make the required concessions to the changing superpower dynamics.
They will also continue to integrate their economies to strengthen their national positions in the face of the rising threat from Iran and the shifting superpower balance in the region.
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Signs In World Politics: A Re-Emerging Threat and A Dwindling Power – By Tim Moore - https://harbingersdaily.com/signs-in-world-politics-a-re-emerging-threat-and-a-dwindling-power/
The prophesied end-time state of the nations — or what we call the Sign of World Politics — is coming into alignment. In Part 1, we looked at what the Bible prophesies concerning the European Union. Next we will look at what the Bible prophesies concerning Russia and the United States.
Russia Will Re-Emerge As A Major Threat
In the 2012 Presidential campaign, Republican Mitt Romney asserted that in spite of the subsided Cold War, Russia was a rising threat to America and the world. President Barak Obama scoffed at him, responding, “the 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back, because the Cold War has been over for 20 years.” Just four years later, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton would claim that Donald Trump was colluding with America’s most formidable foe: Russia.
Clearly, rumors of the Russian Bear’s demise were premature.
Of late, Russia has again been denounced as a pariah state led by an unmitigated despot. The scorn heaped on Russia is greater than anything Ronald Reagan voiced — and he is the one that labeled the Soviet Union an “evil empire.”
Students of Bible prophecy knew in the early 1990s that declarations of Russia’s pacification were premature. While it was nice to hope that American and Soviet militaries were reducing their hair-trigger nuclear forces, the perestroika and glasnost (Russian for reform and openness) that broke out was short-lived.
Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39 describe an end-time configuration of nations that participate in what he calls the “Gog-Magog War.” Gog is the name or title of a leader from a nation located “in the remotest parts of the north” named Rosh. That nation was populated by ancient Scythians and is known today as Russia.
Ezekiel 38:12 describes the motive that will compel Gog: he will come down from Russia leading a coalition of nations to plunder Israel’s wealth. This axis of evil will include Magog, Meshech, Tubal, Persia, Ethiopia, Put, Gomer, and Beth-togarmah (Ezekiel 38:3-6). The modern nations that comprise the ancient territory of Magog likely includes Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and possibly Afghanistan. Turkey, along with Azerbaijan and Armenia lie where Meshech, Tubal, Gomer, and Beth-togarmah once lay. Persia obviously became modern Iran, ancient Ethiopia now includes Sudan, and Put has become Libya and possibly Algeria and Tunisia.
The unifying feature of the nations that will align with Russia is that they are Muslim. What Israeli wealth might motivate this motley crew? Today it could be energy in the form of massive quantities of natural gas or cutting edge technology — both of which Israel has become well-known to possess. Ezekiel is very clear. The invasion will be thwarted by a supernatural intervention by God. On the mountains of Israel, He will personally defeat this massive army, humiliating Israel’s antagonists and making His Holy Name known in the midst of Israel and the nations of the world (Ezekiel 38:1-7).
This demonstration of the providence and protection of the God of Israel will further discredit Islam, likely pushing it aside as a threat to the world.
What About American Power?
Throughout the previous discussion of Gog and Magog, there was no mention of the United States. At present, America is Israel’s strongest ally (although that relationship is quite strained under the current Biden administration). So, where is the USA as Israel faces an existential threat from the north? Absent from the scene.
Many people are surprised to hear that America does not play an apparent role in Bible prophecy. Given our superpower status for the past 75 years, they wonder how we could disappear so quickly or be so inconsequential to end times events. Some people even assert that when Revelation 12:14 tells of the woman (Israel) fleeing from the dragon on “two wings of the great eagle,” that must refer to America because the bald eagle is our national bird. I simply point out that 26 nations have an eagle as their national symbol, including Albania, Mexico, Poland, and Zimbabwe. No, John’s prophetic reference to a great eagle ties back to Deuteronomy 32:11, where Moses poetically describes God “like an eagle… that hovers over its young” and spreads its wings to catch, carry, and guide them.
I absolutely believe the United States is in a state of decline. The dramatic degradation of our power may come over a period of time like the Roman Empire and so many others that have risen and fallen before us. Or, it may come very quickly following the Rapture of the Church from the world.
Either way, the other nations of the world will sit idly by as Gog-Magog descends on Israel — perhaps motivated by growing antisemitism. And, as the power of the United States ebbs away, there is another predator nation poised to ascend to world dominance.
In the third and final part of this series covering the end times sign of world politics, we will look at what the Bible prophesies concerning China, Israel, and the coming one-world government.
Revelation 15: The inexorable culmination of divine retribution approaches - By Mark Creech - https://www.christianpost.com/voices/revelation-15-the-inexorable-culmination-of-divine-retribution.html
Throughout various wars and conflicts, military figures have indicated that victory or a resolution is close at hand. When working on finding a solution to some long-standing problem, scientists and researchers have announced that they are near making some groundbreaking discoveries. When progress is being made toward achieving a specific social or political objective, activists will state that the end is in sight.
In Revelation chapter 15, the shortest chapter in the book, the apostle John declares that he sees the finish line. Seven angels are mentioned here as part of a series of coming events known as the “seven bowls of wrath,” or the “seven last plagues.” These plagues represent the final stage of God’s judgment to be poured out upon an unbelieving and disobedient world. The previous chapters of the book of Revelation have described a variety of catastrophic events, but the seven last plagues are presented as the culmination of God’s mighty hand of anger and fury. (These plagues will be taken up in chapter 16.)
It’s hard for most people to comprehend God as angry. It is true that God is loving, just, and extends His offer of grace, mercy, forgiveness and salvation, but in numerous places in the Bible, God is depicted as incensed and outraged at humanity’s rebellion against His rightful and benevolent sovereignty.
During the time of Noah, when evil prevailed, the fire of God’s anger became so hot that he cleansed the entire earth with a universal deluge. No one was spared except Noah, his family, and the creatures that were safe on the ark (Genesis 6). When the Hebrews defied God by making and worshiping a golden calf, God became so indignant with their actions that he told Moses he wanted to destroy them and start a new nation through him. But Moses pleaded with God not to destroy them, and God relented. Nevertheless, God was still so irate he punished the people by sending a plague among them (Deuteronomy 9:7-8).
The apostle Paul wrote that the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of people who suppress the truth (Romans 1:18).
Yes, God does become angry at willful belligerence. His anger builds with every dismissal of, every scoffing at, every persistent expression of incredulity with, and every insurrection of, his authority. It cannot and will not stand. As the Scriptures say, “God will by no means clear the guilty” (Exodus 34:6-7). He will not wink at, sweep under the rug, or write off sinful unrepentance.
Jonathan Edwards, the eminent 18th-century American revivalist, described God’s anger in this way:
“The wrath of God is like great waters that are damned for the present; they increase more and more, and rise higher and higher, till an outlet is given, and the longer the stream is stopped, the more rapid and mighty is its course when once it is let loose.
“It is true that judgment against your evil works has not been executed hitherto; the floods of God’s vengeance have been withheld, but your guilt in the meantime is constantly increasing, and you are every day treasuring up more wrath…
“The wrath of God burns against them; their damnation does not slumber; the pit is prepared; the fire is made ready; the furnace is now hot; ready to receive them; the flames do now rage and glow.”
This is something of what John sees as seven angels are witnessed holding the last seven plagues. The full and final fury of God’s exasperation with humankind is about to spill over. Here is what the Bible says:
“Then I saw in Heaven another marvelous event of great significance. Seven angels were holding the seven last plagues, which would bring God’s wrath to completion. I saw before me what seemed to be a glass sea mixed with fire. And on it stood all the people who had been victorious over the beast and his statue and the number representing his name. They were all holding harps that God had given them. And they were singing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb:
“‘Great and marvelous are your works,
O Lord God, the Almighty.
Just and true are your ways,
O King of the nations.
Who will not fear you, Lord,
and glorify your name?
For you alone are holy.
All nations will come and worship before you,
for your righteous deeds have been revealed (Revelation 15:1-4).
Besides the seven angels with the seven last plagues, representing the imminent destruction of the roguish rebels on earth, John said he also set his eyes on a scene of serenity in Heaven.
He saw a “glass sea mixed with fire.” This must be the same “sea of glass” seen before the Throne of God in chapter 4. Its surface then was crystal clear and calm, but now its surface is mingled with fire, most likely a symbol of the fiery trials of the Tribulation Saints whom John said he saw standing by the glassy sea.
These people standing by the glassy sea with fire are those who experienced tremendous suffering and martyrdom under the tyrannical reign of that unholy trinity known as the Dragon, the Beast, and the False Prophet.
In his commentary, Exploring Revelation, John Phillips wrote about these folks who courageously faced off with the Beast. He describes something of what would have likely been their response to the Antichrist’s threats of menace and carnage:
“‘I’ll make you suffer!’ screams the Beast. ‘You’ll make us Saints!” reply the overcomers. ‘I’ll persecute you to the grave,’ roars the Beast, ‘You’ll promote us to glory!’ reply the overcomers. ‘I’ll blast you!’ snarls the Beast. ‘You’ll bless us!’ reply the overcomers. The Beast’s rage against these noble martyrs will all be in vain. He will utterly fail at last.’”
Observed in Heaven, having overcome every intense challenge with their faith intact and their allegiance to Christ unbroken, the Tribulation Saints play harps and sing in praise to God the “Song of Moses” and the “Song of the Lamb.”
It seems most probable that the “Song of Moses” refers to the song that the children of Israel sang on the shore of the Red Sea, just after the sea miraculously parted, and they successfully escaped Pharaoh and his army. This song was seen as a celebration of their freedom and an expression of thanksgiving to God for their deliverance (Exodus 15:1-22).
The “Song of the Lamb” would, no doubt, be about their freedom and redemption by the Cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. These people in heaven sing both the “Song of Moses” and the “Song of the Lamb.”
Henry Morris, in his commentary, The Revelation Record, says:
“There is surely no conflict, as some have taught, between the dispensations of Moses and the Lamb. The written law was given by Moses, and grace and truth came through Jesus Christ (John 1:17); both are integral components of God’s will for man.”
This is so true. These believers who have come out of the Tribulation and sing the “Song of Moses” and the “Song of the Lamb,” highlight the continuity between the Old Testament and the New Testament. The song they sang is a praise and an acknowledgment of God’s greatness, his marvelous works, his justice, and his righteousness. Both Jew and Gentile alike are saved in the same manner, “by the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 12:11).
The Bicentennial Celebration in 1976, was an extraordinary event in American history where numerous heroes gathered together to celebrate their country. This occasion marked the 200th anniversary of the United States Declaration of Independence.
The Bicentennial commemoration brought together prominent figures such as military personnel, astronauts, cultural exemplars, and political leaders. It aimed to promote patriotism and commemorate the nation’s history and phenomenal achievements. Various festivities were organized throughout the country, but one of the most significant gatherings took place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776.
On July 4th, 1976, a grand ceremony titled “The United States of America’s Bicentennial Birthday Party” was held in “The City of Brotherly Love.” It included the reenactment of the signing of the Declaration, a vast parade showcasing America’s diverse history, and a spectacular fireworks display. The celebration attracted approximately 20 million visitors, including many national heroes and icons who participated and expressed their patriotic fervor.
During the merriments, numerous songs that praised America, such as “America the Beautiful,” “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” were sung to honor the nation. After having faced so many trials and tribulations together in wars and other crises, the Bicentennial served as a unique and triumphant moment for Americans. It proved to be a time for patriotic solidarity and a heartfelt tribute to our country’s founding ideals, and a season to praise the accomplishments of its notable figures in history.
Nevertheless, one may be certain that even a celebration as majestic as America’s Bicentennial in 1976, only pales in comparison to what John said he saw when the heroes of the Tribulation period gathered together on the banks of the glassy sea, and most, if not all of them, having been martyred, celebrate with exuberance their deliverance and freedom, and sing praises not about their own achievements, but to their glorious and Almighty God.
What an incredible scene!
Last, verses 5 through 8 say the apostle saw something else remarkably incredible. The verses read:
“Then I looked and saw that the Temple in heaven, God’s Tabernacle, was thrown wide open. The seven angels who were holding the seven plagues came out of the Temple. They were clothed in spotless white linen with gold sashes across their chests. Then one of the four living beings handed each of the seven angels a gold bowl filled with the wrath of God, who lives forever and ever. The Temple was filled with smoke from God’s glory and power. No one could enter the Temple until the seven angels had completed pouring out the seven plagues” (Revelation 15:5-8).
This is the third time the heavenly temple is mentioned in the book of Revelation. There are glimpses of it in chapters 4 and 8, and now chapter 15. Seven angels emerge from the temple dressed in pure white linen, their chests wrapped with golden sashes and holding golden bowls. The fact that they come from the temple is indicative that they have orders direct from God.
One of the four amazing living creatures, which were first seen in chapter 4 near the throne of God, passed to each of the seven angels a bowl, though we don’t know which one, whether the one with the face like a lion; the one who resembles an ox; the third who has a human face; or the fourth who is like an eagle in flight. These same creatures were also seen in Revelation chapter six active in signaling the seal judgments.
As the seven angels receive the bowls, smoke fills the temple. It is worth noting that when Moses completed the Tabernacle and Solomon finished constructing the temple, a cloud, also referenced as Shekinah Glory, was manifest, but smoke was not mentioned (Exodus 40:34-36). The cloud represents God’s leadership and presence among his people. It’s understood as a sign of divine approval and a reminder of God’s covenant and faithfulness to his people.
Smoke, however, is associated with God’s judgment.
For instance, the Bible mentions the smoke of God’s judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah, where the people were extremely far from God and his ways. Genesis 19:24, 25, 27-28 states:
“Then the LORD rained down fire and burning sulfur from the sky on Sodom and Gomorrah. He utterly destroyed them, along with the other cities and villages of the plain, wiping out all the people and every bit of vegetation … Abraham got up early that morning and hurried out to the place where he had stood in the LORD’s presence. He looked out across the plain toward Sodom and Gomorrah and watched as columns of smoke rose from the cities like smoke from a furnace.”
Only one chapter before this chapter in Revelation, smoke was connected with the final judgment. Revelation 14:11 said the wicked and those who worshipped the Beast “will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment will rise forever and ever.”
I have always thought that what happened to our great nation on September 11, 2001, constituted a judgment from God. Americans can rightly be described as overly materialistic people, placing a greater emphasis on the pursuit of wealth than spiritual or moral values. We are a consumer-driven nation where the accumulation of money and goods are seen as a primary measure of success. Consequently, although our money says that it is “In God We Trust,” we demonstrate that its affluence and prosperity that we actually depend on. Over the years, we have placed excessive importance on the so-called Almighty dollar.
Is it simply coincidental that on 9-11, the Twin Towers, also known as the World Trade Center — located in Manhattan, New York City — two buildings largely believed to be impregnable — two behemoth structures soaring upward — symbols to the whole world of our opulence and riches — like dual idols of commerce — suddenly were demolished with thousands of lives lost because a handful of men with box cutters overpowered two planes and made missiles of them?
The smoke from the devastation of the World Trade Center Towers that dreadful day reached extremely high altitudes. The impact of the airliners caused smoke and debris to rise thousands of feet into the air. According to reports, the smoke from the collapse of the towers reached heights of over 30,000 feet, as if it was drifting toward heaven. Was what happened on that frightful day God’s judgment for our turning away from Him and our preoccupation with the worship of things?
It is disheartening the way so many cannot discern the signs of the times. They are unable to see God’s providential hand in our circumstances. Truly, “they are never so blind as they who will not see.”
When the celestial temple is filled with smoke so that no one can enter the temple, it means God’s judgment has been decided. It is absolute and unamendable. No one can change it, and no one can go into the temple to persuade him not to do it.
God’s immutable hand of judgment is poised to strike. His angels are prepared to pour out the remaining vials of it with unwavering resolve.
Consider then these closing remarks taken from M.R. DeHaan’s book, Revelation:
“Here, then, we have a description of two groups: the unbelievers who meet the wrath of God and eternal judgment and the saints before his throne who acknowledge his justice and truth forever. To which company do you belong? You are either a saint or a sinner. You are either saved or lost. You are either on the way to heaven or on the way to eternal perdition. You may still settle the question. Settle it now.”
You must decide. Not deciding for Christ is the same as deciding against him.
Daily Jot: Spiritual Health Time - Bill Wilson – www.dailyjot.com
With all the bad news in the headlines and on TV, you are bombarded every day with negativity. If you watch much TV, you are also barraged with drug commercials and what would have been considered in the 1950s as pornography. It’s a good guess that not many people in this country like the direction in which it’s headed. The liberals hate anything and anyone who disagrees with them. Conservatives just want to see the country back on a reasonable economic, ethical and moral track. Atheists and nihilists are combative about what others believe. Many Christians just roll up into their own little reality of waiting for things to happen rather than taking action. It’s a confusing and perilous time we live in. Sometimes it’s too much.
Life comes at us fast these days. Just a few days ago, it was Monday. Then Sunday is here. Seems like yesterday. Cars move fast. People move fast. There are fast talkers. Just to listen to them can wear a body out. Do you ever feel like you need to take a break? Maybe you do. Maybe it is a good time to take a break. I don’t mean checking out of life. But finding some time each day in your schedule to clear your mind, focus on your mental and spiritual health. For my wife, she takes a spiritual break by studying the Bible. I can walk by her while she is doing her morning devotional and she doesn’t know I’m in the room. She begins her day with the Lord and that energizes her.
My day begins with writing The Daily Jot, which requires me to search the news, listen to the Holy Spirit, and also study God’s word. It gets me going. But by the end of the work day, around 4:00 pm (as I start around 6:00 am), it is time to take a spiritual and mental health break. I’m fortunate enough to have a hot tub, so I get in the hot tub, turn on the Western Channel and let my mind wind down. There is always a moral lesson with the old westerns—the good guy wins out, the bad guy gets his, men act like men, and women behave like women. There is a lot to learn. There is a lot of reinforcement of what I already know. But there are times when I don’t even look at the screen. My wife says she wonders what I am thinking because I appear far away.
There’s a lot of praising the Lord for my life, my family, my church family, my work. There’s thinking through some of the issues we all face on a daily basis. It is my way of recharging, because most of the time I go back to work after 5:00 pm. We would be healthier if we just worked a spiritual break into our daily schedules–Some time with the Lord or even just with your own private thoughts. Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3:13-15, “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which you have learned and have been assured of, knowing of whom you have learned them; And that from a child you have known the holy scriptures, which are able to make you wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” Take a spiritual break. Be assured in Christ. It will serve you well.
Daily Devotion: This Is Your Moment - by Greg Laurie – www.harvest.org
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! —2 Corinthians 5:17
https://harvest.org/resources/devotion/this-is-your-moment/ - Listen
I didn’t ever know my biological father growing up. But my mother married a man named Oscar Laurie, and he formally adopted me. He treated me as a father should treat a son.
If you have put your faith in Jesus Christ, then God has adopted you. Romans 8:14 tells us, “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God” (NLT). Are you a child of God? That comes through believing in Jesus Christ.
The work of the Holy Spirit is to show us our need for Christ. The danger is that people can continue resisting Him until they reach a point where they’ve gone too far.
The writer of Hebrews says, “So what makes us think we can escape if we ignore this great salvation that was first announced by the Lord Jesus himself and then delivered to us by those who heard him speak?” (2:3 NLT).
Maybe you’ve been running from God for years, perhaps even decades. This is your moment to come to Him, be forgiven by Him, and come into a relationship with the God who loves you.
He loves you so much that He sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to come to Planet Earth on a rescue operation. Jesus died on the cross for your sins and rose from the dead. And now He stands at the door of your life and knocks. If you will hear His voice and open the door, He will come in.
Are you worn out? Are you filled with sadness and depression? There is hope. But it isn’t in religion or in rules and regulations. It’s hope in Jesus Christ coming to live inside you. He can pardon you of every sin you’ve ever committed.
You don’t have to be controlled or crippled by your past. You can become a new person in Jesus Christ.
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