JOHN’S FINAL PROPHESY

Rev. 10:10,11 ¶ Then I took the little book out of the angel’s hand and ate it, and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth. But when I had eaten it, my stomach became bitter. And he said to me, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings”.

Without spiritual discernment living in our day we seem to just bump along in life embracing political and religious opinions that suit our taste or lifestyle. Today’s verse is quite disturbing given to John just before the final trumpet of the seven trumpets is sounded in his vision of the seven trumpets of judgement. In this verse John is commanded to eat the scroll in the angel’s hand that apparently fills John with prophetic revelation about the final chapter of the Great Tribulation. John will proceed to unmask Satan, the political system running the world, and the religious system which holds much of the population under its control. His words are quite disturbing to say the least. Many folks in today’s world are just swallowing the political, economic, and even religious rhetoric that is being spewed out on a daily basis. John reveals that it is all under the influence of the spirit of antichrist that is dominating the systems of the world. John’s prophesy over the final chapters of Revelation literally rips the masks off of the impersonators dominating the economic, political, and religious systems of our world. Here is how Robert H. Mounce describes it.

“There is a sense of divine compulsion in the charge given to John. He must prophesy again. The prophesy relates to many peoples and nations. It is the final act in the great drama of God’s creative and redemptive activity. The meaning of history comes into sharp focus at the end point in time. John’s mission is to lay bare the forces of the supernatural world at work behind the activities of people and nations. His prophesy is the culmination of all previous prophesies in that it leads on to the final destruction of evil and the inauguration of the eternal state.”

Those of us alive today have been chosen by the Lord to live at the precipice of the collision of these two worlds, the world of man dominated by the spirit of the world or antichrist and the coming kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. I would encourage you to read the book of Revelation and then read it again, you may be surprised as the prophetic words of John rip the mask off of things that may be having sway in your life.

THEY OVERCAME THE DEVIL

Rev. 12:11 And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.

This passage of scripture is taken from the book of Revelation during the peak of demonic onslaught during the Great Tribulation. John is painting the picture of Satan as being desperate and defeated in his last days before he is locked up in hell at the coming of Jesus Christ. His defeat is certain and he is trying to inflict as much damage as possible upon the followers of Christ during this dark season. John gives the solution to the dilemma that the church was facing. It was the same one he had practiced throughout his life and is God’s word for us as we too face a heightened attack in these last days. He simply said that the devil is overcome by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony. Here is how the Fire Bible describes this conflict.

“Faithful followers of Christ on earth have access to an effective strategy for overcoming Satan’s schemes and accusations. It is not a matter of their own power, ability or efforts; it has everything to do with what Christ has already done and the victory he has already won for them. Christ’s followers are freed from Satan’s power by the blood of the Lamb—the personal sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Jesus gave his life to pay the price for sin so that those who entrust their lives to him could be forgiven, restored to a personal relationship with God and have the assurance of eternal life with him. Christ’s death and resurrection are the greatest defeats of Satan and guarantee ultimate victory for those who are faithful to God. By determining to speak for Christ and by showing a willingness to serve him at any cost, Christians disarm the devil from being able to rob them of faith, even during the most difficult times of persecution and tribulation.”

What is the significance of the blood of Jesus in relation to demonic attack? The only basis for successful demonic attack against us is the sin we have committed, it gives access to our lives. As we stand in faith, knowing our sins are purged by the blood of Jesus, the devil has no grounds to defeat us. We enforce this truth by our declaration of victory in the Name of Jesus. So we too can say with John and the believers during the Great Tribulation, “we overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony”.

THEY OVERCAME THE DEVIL

Rev. 12:11 And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.

This passage of scripture is taken from the book of Revelation during the peak of demonic onslaught during the Great Tribulation. John is painting the picture of Satan as being desperate and defeated in his last days before he is locked up in hell at the coming of Jesus Christ. His defeat is certain and he is trying to inflict as much damage as possible upon the followers of Christ during this dark season. John gives the solution to the dilemma that the church was facing. It was the same one he had practiced throughout his life and is God’s word for us as we too face a heightened attack in these last days. He simply said that the devil is overcome by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony. Here is how the Fire Bible describes this conflict.

“Faithful followers of Christ on earth have access to an effective strategy for overcoming Satan’s schemes and accusations. It is not a matter of their own power, ability or efforts; it has everything to do with what Christ has already done and the victory he has already won for them. Christ’s followers are freed from Satan’s power by the blood of the Lamb—the personal sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Jesus gave his life to pay the price for sin so that those who entrust their lives to him could be forgiven, restored to a personal relationship with God and have the assurance of eternal life with him. Christ’s death and resurrection are the greatest defeats of Satan and guarantee ultimate victory for those who are faithful to God. By determining to speak for Christ and by showing a willingness to serve him at any cost, Christians disarm the devil from being able to rob them of faith, even during the most difficult times of persecution and tribulation.”

What is the significance of the blood of Jesus in relation to demonic attack? The only basis for successful demonic attack against us is the sin we have committed, it gives access to our lives. As we stand in faith, knowing our sins are purged by the blood of Jesus, the devil has no grounds to defeat us. We enforce this truth by our declaration of victory in the Name of Jesus. So we too can say with John and the believers during the Great Tribulation, “we overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony”.

THE GREAT TRIBULATION

Matt.24:4-8 – And Jesus answered and said to them, “See to it that no one misleads you. “For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many. “You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.”

Back in the 1970’s during the Jesus movement and the charismatic renewal topics relating to the last days seemed to just hang in the air. Everyone was talking about the rapture, the great tribulation, the antichrist, the mark of the beast, and the restoration of the temple in Jerusalem. Today, that topic has fallen off of everyone’s radar. Today, you are more likely to hear a message on how to be a better you or some sort of motivational message. It’s funny how much modern culture seems to control the message from the pulpits in our nation.

The Great Tribulation is something clearly taught in the ministry of Jesus and the Apostle Paul. Jesus described these last days in great detail in one of His last messages the week He was crucified. He predicted the destruction of Jerusalem as well as the season of the church He called the age of the gentiles. He also spoke of a temple being present in the last generation and it being desecrated by the antichrist. His words lead us to the conclusion that Israel would clearly be involved in the events of the last days. Here are some thoughts from the Fire Bible on the Great Tribulation.

“Jesus speaks about unique signs that will occur during the end-time period. This is the time often called the “tribulation” —the phrase in Greek is the same. The signs that occur will be warnings that the end of this present age is very near. These signs will lead up to and signal Christ’s physical return to earth after the tribulation. At Christ’s return, he will destroy the forces of the antichrist and evil, and he will establish an earthly reign of peace for the last thousand years of time as we know it.”

So why does it matter what we believe about the last days? The Bible teaches us to live ready for Christ’s return. If all we think about is our life here on earth we may have to check our priorities. Focusing on the last days seems to help me sort out what really matters in life.

THE SCROLL

Rev.5:1 – And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals.

The opening of this scroll lies at the very center of God’s purposes and man’s eternal destiny. The words of this scroll contain the future of man and the future of this planet. This event, witnessed by John in his vision, is the culmination of all things. John has just realized one man, the Son of Man, is able to open this book. It is terrifying and exciting at the same time. In it we see the reward of the righteous and the wrath of God released on those who have rejected Christ’s kingdom.

There have been many theories put forward about what this scroll actually is. I believe it is somehow connected to the solemn agreement between the Father and the Son. In eternity, the eternal Son of God agreed to become a human to redeem our fallen race. The Father made promises to His Son about the ramifications of His eternal sacrifice. The results of Christ becoming a man, salvation to those who believe in Him and judgement and eternal suffering to those who don’t. This book seems to unlock the results of that contract. Here are some thoughts from Ellicott on this scroll.

“But what is meant by the book? Numberless interpretations have been offered: it is the Old Testament; it is the whole Bible; it is the title-deed of man’s inheritance; it is the book containing the sentence of judgment on the foes of the faith; it is the Apocalypse; it is part of the Apocalypse; it is the book of God’s purposes and providence. There is a truth underlying most of these interpretations, but most of them narrow the force of the vision. If we say it is the book which unfolds the principles of God’s government—in a wide sense, the book of salvation, the interpretation of life, which Christ alone can bestow, we shall include, probably, the practical truths which underlie each of these interpretations; for all—Old Testament and New, man’s heritage and destiny, God’s purposes and providence— are dark, till He who is the Light unfolds those truths which shed a light on all. Such a book becomes one “which contains and interprets human history,” and claims the kingdoms of the earth for God….There are things which are hidden from the wise and prudent, but revealed unto babes.”

When I read about the opening of this scroll I am filled with joyful anticipation and terror at the same time. I have to hide myself in Christ, He is the only protection from the coming storm.

VICTORY OVER THE BEAST

Rev.15:2-4 – And I saw something like a sea of glass mixed with fire, and those who had been victorious over the beast and his image and the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, holding harps of God.

And they sang the song of Moses, the bond-servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, “Great and marvelous are Your works, O Lord God, the Almighty; Righteous and true are Your ways, King of the nations!

“Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy; For ALL THE NATIONS WILL COME AND WORSHIP BEFORE YOU, FOR YOUR RIGHTEOUS ACTS HAVE BEEN REVEALED.

The Bible clearly says that His ways are not our ways. This passage displays this characteristic of the Lord with absolute precision. These worshippers were actually some of the martyrs from the Great Tribulation. These are those who died for their refusal to take the mark of the beast. The worldly view is that they lost the battle and the antichrist was victorious. That is clearly not the view we see in heaven. The martyrs are celebrating in victory before the very throne of God. Christ has rewarded their faithfulness, they are standing in the presence of the Lord in heaven, singing a song that even the angels cannot sing. They have overcome the beast and the devil by the blood of Jesus and the word of their testimony. Here are some thoughts from the Fire Bible on today’s passage.

“VICTORIOUS OVER THE BEAST. The scene changes, and John once again is able to look up into heaven around God’s throne. Standing on a crystal-like surface are those who did not abandon their faith in Christ when persecuted, threatened or killed by the antichrist . They “sang the song of Moses,” just as the Israelites had after they were liberated from slavery in Egypt, brought miraculously through the Red Sea and witnessed the destruction of the Egyptians that pursued them. Their song celebrates the Lord’s triumph and salvation.”

It’s easy for us to be effected by the spirit of the world. We often see worldly people apparently get away with all sorts of injustice with no apparent consequences. At the same time we see the righteous suffer from injustice of all kinds. The view from heaven is quite different. The Lord watches everything; the great day is coming. On that day we too can join with the victorious martyrs singing the heavenly songs of victory. How can you stay faithful in the midst of a compromising world? Get your eyes on Jesus, stay filled with His Spirit. It won’t be long until we too are singing the songs of heaven.

FIRSTBORN FROM THE DEAD

Rev.1:5 – and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood —

John saw a resurrected man on the beach of the Isle of Patmos. Jesus was not a vision or a spirit, He came to John bodily and physically. That in itself has huge implications. First, the Creator, God Himself, was standing in front of John as a human. God became a man for all time. He died for us and is ministering as a priest for us before the Father in heaven. Here, Jesus is saying that He was the first man to raise permanently from the dead. Several others had been raised from the dead throughout history only to die again and go back into the grave. Jesus was raised in a new incorruptible body. He was the first of an entire race who will experience this. His body is an eternal, immortal body. Someday I too will have one. Here is how Adam Clarke describes this.

“The beginning, the first-born from the dead. In 1 Corinthians xv. 20, Christ is called the first-fruits of them that slept; and here, the chief and first-born from the dead; he being the first that ever resumed the natural life, with the employment of all its functions, never more to enter the empire of death, after having died a natural death, and in such circumstances as precluded the possibility of deception. The arch, chief, head, or first, answers in this verse to the first-fruits, Jesus Christ is not only the first who rose from the dead to die no more, but he is the first-fruits of human beings; for as surely as the first-fruits were an indication and pledge of the harvest, so surely was the resurrection of Christ the proof that all mankind should have a resurrection from the dead.”

For John this could be personal. John was in exile and all of the other apostles had been martyred (or would be shortly). Jesus was telling him, as well as us, that the final and greatest enemy, death itself, had been totally defeated by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. As the book of Revelation unfolds we see the final scene of the great plan of God. The dead will be raised, we will be given new bodies like His, we will be comforted by Christ, and will rule with Him for eternity.

VOICE OF A TRUMPET

Rev.1:10,11 – I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, Saying, I am Alpha and Omega…

John just couldn’t find words to describe the voice he heard that day on the isle of Patmos. One moment he said it had the sound of many waters, images of Niagara Falls and roaring ocean waves come into our mind. Next, John said the voice of the Lord had the sound of a trumpet blast. The trumpet was associated with a call to battle, festival days, or even a call to assemble. The Lord’s voice is calling John, as well as us, to prepare ourselves for the coming kingdom. His voice is calling us to Himself, to join together with His people, to fight in His kingdom, and to prepare ourselves for His return. Here are some thoughts from Jonathan Edwards on this verse of scripture.

“Hearken, you poor discouraged souls, you that are ready to say that you are cast out of God’s sight: yet let the joyful sound of this trumpet awaken your attention and encourage your heart to look towards God’s holy temple. Look up, see the door that is opened in heaven, the door of mercy and of hope. See the pleasant light that shines forth from that door. ‘Tis the light of the new Jerusalem; ’tis the light of the glory of God and the Lamb. Thither you are invited to enter; the way is open. The root and the offspring of David, the bright {and morning star}, says, Come; and the Spirit and the Sender says, Come; and whosoever will, let him come.”

The voice of the Lord is a joyful sound, nothing in this world can compare. He is calling us out of this dark world to be with Him in His coming kingdom. He is calling us into war. The world is at war with the Lord and His Son. People of the world are desperately trying to take our voice from us and hinder us from advancing His kingdom. The trumpet blast of the Lord is sounding for everyone who has an ear to hear, calling us to engage in His battle for His souls. He is calling us to join with His body, His church, in this last great battle before He returns. John was brought to the ground at the gravity of that moment in His presence. May we also be laid low in His presence until we join in this heavenly battle.

EVIDENCE THAT THE END IS NEAR

Acts 2:17-9 – And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams.

And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy.

I will show wonders in heaven above And signs in the earth beneath: Blood and fire and vapor of smoke.

The ministry of Jesus and the apostles were filled with the power of signs and wonders. These miracles were God’s sign of authenticity, you really can’t fake the supernatural very effectively. If I am reading my Bible accurately and this passage accurately, it appears to me that the power of signs and wonders are connected to last days prophesy. In other words, as we get closer to the great day we will move into a more intense season of these portents of His power.

When with think of end time prophesy we immediately turn to wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, and pestilence. Now don’t get me wrong, those are definitely signs of the end of this age. Even now the media can’t seem to get enough of the volcano erupting in Hawaii. They are talking about flying boulders and catastrophic explosions. This makes me think about the soon return of our Lord.

If you pay close attention to today’s verse and remember the context you will see that this passage talks about a greater and much more important sign of the coming age. This whole passage is about the fulfillment of Bible prophesy by the Pentecostal outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The effect this outpouring had on the 120 disciples in the upper room and the large crowd that soon gathered was the beginning of the greatest of all last days Bible prophesy. Peter said that what they were seeing (speaking in tongues, excessive joy, prophetic utterances) was just the beginning of what would happen before Jesus returned to the earth.

Today, these words are being fulfilled all over the world. I expect more, not less, of His mighty outpourings. There will be multitudes baptized in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues in the days ahead; prophesies, visions and dreams, and miracle signs and wonders. Some get nervous about Holy Spirit manifestations and say we need to stick to the Bible. Exactly! It is in the written word that we see these things coming upon us.

DIFFICULT TIMES

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2Tim. 3:1-5 ¶ But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

It seems like every week unlocks another version and a horrible new level of what Paul called “difficult times”. Recently we had the mass killing in Las Vegas at a Country-western concert of all things. Immediately following that was the horrible event in Texas leaving twenty six people dead during Sunday worship, and another shooting connected to a school just yesterday. The world is obviously spiraling as the end of this age approaches.

In times like this there are several responses people may take. The obvious one is fear and depression. Jesus even said that people’s hearts would be failing them for fear as the end approached. For others the response is quite different, those who are being attracted to the Lord seem to become more and more connected to Him. Suddenly it becomes clear to us that this world is temporary and another world is breaking in on us. Paul mentioned something at the end of this passage in today’s scripture: he said in this difficult times even church people would forsake the power of God. Paul said that many would have an outward form of godliness but would deny the power of God. What a tragic response! It is in these times that we need His power.

Those who are dealing with fear and depression regrettably look for solutions to their dilemma in other places. Self medication seems to be at an all time high and the horrible result is a shocking increase in opioid addiction. Thousands of people from every economic status are suffering the ravages of addiction. The results are lost jobs, families, and for many the loss of life itself. To me the obvious answer is the power of God. Only the power of God can meet the need of our hungry heart, only the power of God can deliver us from from the clutches of addiction. Only the power of God can keep us in these perilous times. So I say rather than backing off of the supernatural in church and in our personal lives I say ramp it up. Come Lord, show your power in this day preparing us for the things to come.