Saturday, May 21, 2022

The Great Reunion, Revelation 4-5

 

The Great Reunion

Part 1

Revelation 4-5

After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.”

Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. Revelation 4:1-2

 

As we discussed in our prior study, Revelation 4:1-2, is a Word picture of, The Rapture.

John sees an open door, hears a voice like a trumpet, saying, “Come up…” and he is immediately, in the Throne Room, of heaven, in the presence of our God. (Revelation 4:1-2, 1Thessalonians 4:16-18, 1 Corinthians 15:51-52).

After that, as would be expected, when all God’s children are united with Him, and reunited with one another, a great reunion begins, a praise and worship celebration, breaks out in heaven. It starts out small but swells, until it encompasses the universe. Chapters four and five describe this glorious event.

Up to this point, we saw and heard from the Church, repeatedly. The Church (Ekklesia) is mentioned nineteen times in chapters one through three. Nineteen. But then, suddenly, immediately, in the twinkling of an eye, the word, Church, vanishes from the scene and not seen again until the very end of the book, Revelation 22:16.

For the moment, John’s focus, is on the Throne Room. Guess how many times, throne, is mentioned in the great reunion of chapters four and five?

Seriously. Guess.

You are so smart, yes; nineteen. God must’ve had a blast hiding little nuggets of awesomeness, for us to find; like we hide eggs for kids at Easter. He’s smiling right now, watching you smile.

 

And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald.  Revelation 4:3.

The first thing John describes, or tries to describe, is indescribable colors, with the purity and presence and clarity and character of precious stones; and a rainbow glistening, like an emerald, around the throne.

Eye has not seen nor ear heard the things God has prepared for those who love Him. 1 Corinthians 2:9

 

Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads. Revelation 4:4

Notice the next thing John notes is more thrones. Twenty-four thrones. Maybe that’s why we call it the, Throne Room.

Lots of questions and lots of commentaries have been birthed from this verse.

Some say the twenty-four elders represent the twelve apostles and the twelve tribes of Israel. Makes sense. Except, John (one of the apostles) would be seeing himself on one of the thrones. He doesn’t say, “And this apostle which is writing to you, was on the throne, closest to, The Throne.”

Other folks say the twenty-four elders on twenty-four thrones represent angels. Which is understandable. They’re in heaven, after all. Perhaps ministering spirits of His Royal Court.

However, the Bible never talks about angels receiving or wearing, crowns. Furthermore, angels are ageless; whereas, elders, denotes elderly, or aged, referring to people who had lived within the confines of time.  

Well then, who are the elders? Does twenty-four represent anything?

Let’s look closer, at some clues.

For starters, there are three clues, that should be fresh in our memory; since we just read about them in the seven letters. Thrones, white robes and crowns, are things Jesus promised to, overcomers.  Revelation 2:10, 3:5, 3:21. Specifically, people in His Church (Ekklesia, body, family, Christians) who overcome. By the way, the crown is not a royal diadem crown, but stephanos; which is a wreath type crown given to overcomers, victors, in Olympic games.    

Interestingly, we can gain insight about twenty-four in 1 Chronicles twenty-four. The priests, were divided into twenty-four divisions, (courses), to take their turn, coming into the house of the Lord.

This was the schedule of their service for coming into the house of the Lord… 1 Chronicles 24:19.

Okay Doug, so are you saying the twenty-four elders are the twenty-four priests?  

No. Yes. Well, kind of. The twenty-four priests are…you. And me. And all God’s overcomers. For a glorious eternity, we will take our turn, our course, our schedule, coming into the house of the Lord.

In His presence we’ll worship our Lord and King. If we’re able to speak at all, it may just be one word, “Holy, Holy, Holy…” Forever and eternity, glowing with His glory, from our last meeting; energized with anticipation for our next.

We won’t only worship in His presence. He will communicate with us. Give us assignments, ways and means to carry out His ministry to the universe.  

Wait. What? That’s wonderful and beautiful, and awesome and all, but Doug, the 1 Chronicles passage is talking about priests. We’re not priests.

God knew you’d say that.

And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. Revelation 5:10.

who has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father—to Him be the glory and power forever and ever! Amen. Revelation 1:6


you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 2:5


But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, to proclaim the virtues of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9

 

And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices. Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. Revelation 4:5.

Thunder and lightning often accompany the presence of God. Remember, Mount Sinai in Exodus 19:16-17.

Right now, literally, as I’m writing this, it is pouring rain, flashing lightning and pounding thunder. Whoa! Did you hear that? Just now, a clap of thunder shook the house. Made me jump. Wow. Timing.  Hi God. We’re listening.    

Where were we?

As you know, seven represents perfection. God is perfect. 

And you’ll recall the Holy Spirit appeared as tongues of fire on the day of Pentecost, in Acts 2.  

The seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, are the seven Spirits of God; which is, the Holy Spirit.

 

Revelation 4:6. Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal…

Most commentaries agree that the sea, is not actually made of glass. They also agree that it’s not an actual sea, like an ocean or lake.

Some say it represents the multitudes of people in heaven, a sea of people, at rest, calm, at peace.

Let’s look at three key words to see if we can see, what this sea, may be.  

Crystal:

We’ve all heard the phrase, clear as crystal. No muddy, bloody, dirty water here. Just clean, pure, crystal clear. Like a soul, washed clean and pure, from the stain of sin, by the blood of the Lamb.

Glass:

Growing up on a lake, I loved days when the wind would take a break. It didn’t happen often. The lake was glass. We would ski. It was awesome. But even more awesome was just sitting on the shore looking at the water, at rest, smooth as glass. One word describes the feeling, and the view: peace.

One day, the Prince of Peace, will calm the tossing and turning and turmoil, like He did the waves that day, in the boat, in the middle of the Sea of Galilee.

Can’t you just see it? The storm screams, the waves beat, the little boat is ready to flip. But then, He yawns, and speaks, “Peace be still.” Just like that, the wind goes silent. The rocking boat settles to sleep, in the middle of a sea of glass. The disciples are scared. Who is this Man, that even the wind and the waves obey Him?

But then, it dawns on them, He who created the sea, and walks on water, is in their midst, and is, their Friend. From the seashore the only sound, is that of laughter, from a boat full of grown men, laughing like children.

Now, believe it or not, as I write this, I just looked out the window at our little windmill, and the trees, all is still, at peace, there is a great calm.  

Okay, so it’s easy to see, how crystal may reflect the sinless, spotless, purity of heaven. And how, glass may mirror the picture-perfect peace, that will only be found there. But that still doesn’t tell us what John saw, and calls, a sea.

Sea:

The best way to interpret scripture is with scripture. Perhaps the second-best way, is context.

So, let’s see what scripture has to say, in context, with our text.

To gain context, we must ask, who, what, where, when type questions.

John has just been raptured into the Throne Room, The Temple, The House, of God. Representing the Church, being raptured, to ever be with the Lord (1Thessalonians 4:17).

The ink hasn’t even dried on our discussion about twenty-four elders, and how we are, a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 2:5.  

One of the main duties of the priest was to offer sacrifices.

But wait. This is heaven. There’s no need for sacrifice. Jesus was, and is, and forever will be, The Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.  

Exactly.

Now that we have our context, down pat. Let’s let scripture interpret scripture and see what we see about this sea.

Not just any sea. But in context with where we’re at; The Throne, The Temple, The House, of God.

Is there any place in the Bible that mentions a sea, before, The Throne, The Temple, The House, of God?

Well, Jerusalem is landlocked. The nearest sea, is the Dead Sea, about fifteen miles southeast. The Mediterranean Sea is west about sixty miles and the Sea of Galilee is north seventy or so miles. No Sea for miles and miles.

But the Bible does talk about a sea, just outside the door of the Temple, near the altar, just steps from the Holy of Holies; the very presence of God.

That sea, was a large basin of water for priest’s ablution, (religious, ritual, washing, cleansing) 1 Kings 7:23-26; 1 Chronicles 18:8.

Due to the steady stream of sacrifices that sea was ever troubled, ever polluted, neither clear as crystal, nor, smooth as glass.  

But the Heavenly Sea, is crystal clear, smooth as glass, forever reflecting there is no more need for sacrifice, no more stormy seas. For the Prince of Peace, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, has become, The Lamb of God, that takes away the sin of the world, once and for all.

Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

John 1:29.


We'll pause here for now. Next, we'll see how John sees four living creatures with six wings, and they speak. Who are they? What do they say? 

Let's pray.

Father, we love You. Thank You for Your Presence. Even here in our midst, as we gather together, although not physically, but Spiritually, virtually. Thank You for telling us the Truth, even if it's hard to hear. Thank You for Your promise at the start of this wonderful letter:

Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near. (Revelation 1:3).

Help us to hear You. Stay near You. Be ever watchful for you.

Come quickly Lord Jesus.

Amen.


Saturday, May 14, 2022

The Rapture, Ἁρπάζω; Harpazó, ‘Raptūro, Revelation 4:1-2

 

The Rapture

Ἁρπάζω; Harpazó

Raptūro

Revelation 4:1-2


After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.”

Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. Revelation 4:1-2.  

As we cross the threshold from Revelation chapter three, to four, our gaze turns to the future. The imminent future.

Do you remember way back in chapter one, when we discovered an outline for the entire book of Revelation, in one short verse?

Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this. Revelation 1:19.

1.      Things which you have seen. Chapter 1; the appearance of Christ.

2.      Things which are. Chapters 2-3; the Church age. The seven letters.

3.      Things which will take place after this. Chapters 4-22.

After this, in Revelation 1:19 is the Greek phrase, Μετὰ Ταῦτα. Jesus uses the same phrase to start and end Revelation 4:1. Making it abundantly clear, we have just transitioned to, things which will take place after this. Μετὰ Ταῦτα.

Are you ready?

What we’re looking at, will happen. It may happen in our next breath, or blink.

Are you ready?

After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven.

John sees an open door. Have you noticed a theme? In our last two letters, there was a door. Now, here we are again; another door, in chapter four.

In the letter to the Church of Philadelphia, Jesus sets an open door, and says, I will keep you from, the hour of tribulation, which will come on the whole earth. Revelation 3:8-10.

He stands at the door and knocks, in Laodicea, and tells them, I chasten, and rebuke, those I love. Revelation 3:19-20.

The Laodicean church and the Philadelphian Church are the last two standing. They exist today.  There’s an open door in one; a closed door in the other. One will be taken, the other left.

Jesus isn’t just writing a letter; He’s painting a picture.

Check out the awesome picture. In the first three chapters, the Church (Ekklesia), is one of the main characters, mentioned over and over, nineteen times. However, after John licks the last stamp, for the last letter, he sees an open door in heaven, and hears a voice like a trump, “Come up…” And just like that, in the twinkling of an eye, the rest of the Book is viewed from the safe vantage point of heaven.

The Church disappears.

Through all the Great Tribulation, all the blood and guts and plagues, and death and wars and storms, not one mention of the word, Church…until the end, the very end, of the last chapter, after the new heaven, the new earth, the New Jerusalem, adorned like a bride for her Husband; then, after that, it reappears in Revelation 22:16.   

With just a few strokes of the pen, Jesus paints a picture of the Pretribulation Rapture.

What’s that?

Pretribulation Rapture, is the belief that at any moment, before the start of the Great Tribulation, Christians will be caught-up, into heaven, with Jesus.  

It’s interesting that this portion of scripture, (chapters four and five), precede twelve chapters of hell on earth. Chapters six through eighteen, detail horrendous events. Out of the twenty-two chapters, twelve are about the Great Tribulation. Twelve chapters, get really messy. Ten chapters, clean it all up. Ten represents, completion. Five before and five after. Five represents grace; amazing grace. Isn’t that amazing?

Can you see, how John, is a type of the Church, called up, caught up, raptured up, before the tribulation which will come on the whole earth?

Not everyone can see it. Not all believe it. Which is fine. The timing of the rapture, is not a matter of salvation; it’s a matter of opinion.

There Are Three Schools of Thought Regarding the Rapture. 

Post Tribulation, folks believe the Church will go through the tribulation. After all, Jesus said in, John 16:33, “In this world you will have tribulation…”

Mid Tribulation, is the belief that the Church will go through half of the tribulation. Jesus did say in, Matthew 24:22, regarding the tribulation, that it would get so bad that nobody would survive, unless for the sake of elect, the days would be shortened.

Pre-Tribulation is the belief that Christians will be raptured before the tribulation.

It is my belief that the preponderance of scripture agrees with a pretribulation rapture.

Jesus says the last days will be, as the days of Noah, and the days of Lot. Matthew 24:36-42, Luke 17:26-30.

We could elaborate on that, all day, but let’s just draw one parallel.

In the days of Noah and of Lot, God delivered the righteous, before, His wrath, (pre-tribulation). Just as He says He will do for the Church of Philadelphia, (Revelation 3:10), as we already mentioned. And as He declares in, 1 Thessalonians 5:9, For God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Hold on a doug-gone minute. I heard the word rapture isn’t even in the Bible.

Well, that’s true…kind-of.

The word rapture isn’t in the original Greek text. Neither is any other English word; not even the word, trinity.

However, tucked within a beautiful picture of the rapture, in, 1 Thessalonians 4:17, we find the Greek word, ἁρπάζω; harpazó. It means, to seize, catch up, snatch away, to be caught up. When translated to Latin it became, ‘raptūro. Which is where we get our English word, rapture.

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up, (ἁρπάζω; harpazó), together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus, we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18.

Can you hear the harmony, between this passage, and our text in Revelation 4:1? The whole counsel of the Word of God, is woven together like a tapestry, in harmony, like a symphony.

 

And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet…

Notice the sound, of a trumpet, is in the Thessalonians passage, and also in our text, and then again, in, 1 Corinthians 15:51-52.

Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

When God says something once, it’s important. Twice, sit up and scoot to the edge of your seat, it’s really important. Three times, stand up, draw close, take notes, it’s vital.

In all three places, where He mentions the sound of a trump, He’s talking about the rapture.

Coincidence? Or, Providence?

Whoever has ears, let them hear.

Could it be, that He, who chooses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, chose to use the sound of a, Trump, blaring and blasting, around the globe, to be a harbinger, a warning, an alarm, to expose and declare the iniquity of the gentiles is full; the end of the age is at hand, the rapture is near, even at the door; the open door? 1 Corinthians 1:27.

{Side note: God has never been, nor ever will be, under any obligation, to be politically correct}

 

“Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.”

Jesus adds yet another picture of the rapture.

The only other time in Revelation where God calls from heaven, “Come up here” is to the two witnesses in Revelation 11:12.

The two witnesses, witness.

They’re murdered.

The wicked celebrate.

After three days the witnesses are raised to life, and the wicked are scared to death.

A loud Voice calls from heaven, “Come up here…” And, guess what? Just like that, the witnesses ascend, into heaven.

Star Trek’s beam me up Scotty’s got nothing on this.

After that, the earth quakes, a tenth of Jerusalem collapses, seven thousand are killed; the remnant give glory to God. Revelation 11:7-13.   

 The parallels here are too obvious to mention, right?


Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. Revelation 4:2. 

The Voice like a trumpet sounds and John is immediately (in the twinkling of an eye) in heaven.

Jesus adds the finishing touches to His Masterpiece, by painting John (The Church) into the throne room of heaven.

Remember, we opened talking about an open door in heaven?  Well, the next time we see an open heaven, is when Jesus is on a white horse, riding back to earth, with His saints. Revelation 19:7-14.

Obviously, the saints, (the Church), must be in heaven, to be able to return from heaven, with Christ, after, the Tribulation.

Jesus makes it abundantly clear that He returns, with His saints, as mentioned above in Revelation 19:14; and then again in, Jude 14-15, Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, and then, yet again in, 1 Thessalonians 3:13, so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.

Did we mention how important it is to pay attention when God repeats Himself?

 

What Jesus wants us to hear, loud and clear, is that He is coming. 

Are you ready?

What we’ve looked at, will happen. It may happen in our next breath, or blink.

Are you ready?

 

Therefore comfort one another with these words. 1Thessalonians 4:18.

For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 5:9.

Saturday, May 7, 2022

The Love Letter of HIStory

  

Now that we’ve walked through all seven cities and read their letters, let’s do one last fly over like we did in the beginning. As we do, you’ll notice how Jesus orchestrated the letters in such a way, to send a message that could only be seen by us, from our vantage point in HIStory.  

Remember, when we discussed this:

Each Letter Has, Literal, Spiritual and Historical Relevance

1.            Literal: Seven literal churches with a timely message, in that day.

2.            Spiritual: Timeless message, relevant from that day to this.

3.            Historical: Each letter represents a time-period in Church HIStory.

Up to this point our primary focus was on the literal and Spiritual messages in the letters. Now, buckle up and hold tight; in one short flight, we’ll reach speeds to carry us over 2,000 years of HIStory, and heights that’ll allow us to view all seven Churches at a glance.

Before we land, you’ll see the beautiful tapestry of all seven letters, woven into a love letter, from Jesus, Faithful and True, to you and me; His not so faithful, or true, Bride.   

 

The first letter was to Ephesus. It represents the Apostolic age, from 33-100 A.D. From Pentecost to the death of John, the last apostle. We remember it as, The Loveless Church.

They started off with a bang. The wedding was awesome. The day of Pentecost, was exciting, tongues of fire danced, the fearful became bold, a tongue-tied fisherman named Peter, waxed eloquent and gave a speech, his first sermon, and 3,000 souls were saved that day.

But then, one by one, the wedding party died off. The glory days were but a memory. They went through the motions, still said they were married, but they left their first love.

The honeymoon was over.

The second letter was to Smyrna. It represents the time period between, 100-312 A.D. We remember it as, The Suffering Church, or, The Persecuted Church.

When the honeymoon is over, arguments begin.

It was a bloody time for the Church. They were mocked and martyred for sport. Dipped in oil and lit up as a torch.

Loveless relationships wind up that way. Children reared by rules, without love, result in rebellion. Religious rituals without love, end in suffering. persecution.   

The third letter was to Pergamos. It represents the time between, 312-606 A.D.  We remember this Church as the, The Compromising Church, or, The State Church.

When the honeymoon is over, arguments begin and fatal attractions set in.

Things aren’t so great at home, so, we find ourselves flirting with a serpent, in forbidden spaces, touching forbidden places.

During this time period, the Church compromised with the world. She left her first love, and then, she lost her innocence.

In 312 A.D. Emperor Constantine had an epiphany that dramatically changed the relationship between Church and state. Reportedly, he had a vision of a fiery cross and heard the words, “In this sign, conquer.”

So, he did. Not only did he conquer other nations and peoples but his own as well. If I’m a Christian, everybody’s a Christian…or else.

Suddenly, the Church went from the persecuted to the popular. Just like that the captain of the football team asks you to the prom. The head cheerleader makes eyes at you. The boss pats your back and hands you a promotion.

We can’t lose that.

So, going out for drinks, jumping in the back seat, shaking hands with sin, just for a minute, can’t be that bad. You know, just to get my foot in the door, to make my mark. After all, God wants me happy, healthy and wealthy. Anything’s better than the non-stop fighting, the suffering, the persecution.  

In 380 A.D. Emperor Theodosius, made Christianity the state religion.

How awesome, right?

Wrong.

Instead of taking the helm and transforming Rome, they conformed to it.

They adopted pagan practices of praying for the dead, worshipping Saints, worshipping Mary. Priests started wearing robes and clerical collars to separate themselves from the laity. Sound familiar?   

The Church lost her identity of innocence, and developed character traits that Jesus hates. You have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, and of the Nicolaitans, which thing, I hate. Revelation 2:14-15

 

The fourth letter was to Thyatira. It represents the time between, 606-1517 A.D. This Church is remembered as The Corrupt (Idolatrous) Church.

The honeymoon is long gone. Flirtation led to affair. The child born of adultery, looked a whole lot like daddy: Rome.

They reminded Jesus of the devil worshipping, adulterous, Jezebel, Revelation 2:20.

In 606 A.D.  Emperor Phocas, gave Boniface III, the title of pope, over the entire Roman Empire.

Thus, the birth of the Roman Catholic Church, and the love affair with church and state.

The worship of saints and Mary and the priestly garb, continued, and more.

Unscriptural doctrines developed. Like the doctrine of kissing the pope’s foot (709 A.D.) If you go there today, you’ll see a statue of Peter, and the toes on his right foot are kissed, clean off.

The use of holy water began in 850 A.D.

Around 1090 A.D. Peter the Hermit, invented mechanical praying, with beads, or the Rosary; which Jesus said not to do in Matthew 6:7.

Worst of all, around 1229 A.D. the “church” forbad Bible reading. Only the priest was allowed to read. Jesus hates this. On the day in which He died, the veil in the temple was torn from top to bottom, opening the door into the Holy of Holies, breaking down the wall of separation between God and man. No man, (no priest), except The Man, The High Priest, Christ Jesus, is Mediator, between God and man.  

The Beautiful Bride of Christ, started out simply, walking in the joy of the Lord, breaking bread one with another, from house to house.

But in this era, the time we call the dark-ages, the Bride, who was once beautiful, glowing with innocence, flowing in white, became an unrecognizable, power hungry, greed driven, monster.

 

The fifth letter was to Sardis. It represents the time between, 1517-1750 A.D. We remember this Church as The Dead Church.

The honeymoon feels like someone else's memory. There’re no arguments, because we don’t even talk—what’s the use? The affair happened. We went for what we wanted. Got it. Thought we were really living. But one look in the mirror, and it’s easy to see—we’re dead. We’ve reaped the consequence of our corruption, and the wages of sin, is death.

Our new norm is ex-this, ex-that. Life is lifeless. Numb.

But at least we see it. That’s good. Real Good. God’s specialty is bringing Life from death.

In a twist of irony, life was breathed back into the church, on the day of the dead.

October 31, 1517, a smalltown monk named Martin, marched up to The Castle church in Wittenberg Germany, and nailed a list of protests against the Catholic church.

Today we remember this protest as Martin Luther’s Ninety-five Theses; and the birthing of the Protestant Reformation.  

Rome ordered him to recant. Luther refused. In 1521, Pope Leo the 10th excommunicated Luther. Later that year, Roman Emperor Charles the 5th of Germany, issued the edict of Vermes, which banned Luther’s writings and declared him a heretic and an enemy of the state. Which gave permission for anyone to kill him without consequence.

But God wasn’t done. Luther lived another three decades, was instrumental in translating the Bible from Latin to German and died peacefully in his bed, at three o’clock in the morning, February 18, 1546.

God still wasn’t done with the ex-catholic monk. His legacy lived on, breathing life into a dead Church, leading to the wonderful resurrection, we remember today as the Great Awakening.

 

The sixth letter was to Philadelphia. It represents the time period from 1750 to the Rapture. We remember this Church as The Faithful Church.

After the last letter, to the Church of the dead, you’d expect to see a big sign that read:

RIP.

THE END.

Or, you may think, Jesus put the letter to Sardis, in the wrong place; it should’ve been the seventh letter, at the very end.

But He didn’t.

The Divinely Orchestrated order places the faithful remnant, after the funeral of the masses.

Whoever has ears, hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church.  

Except a grain of wheat fall to the ground and die, it remains alone, a seed. But if it dies, it bears much fruit. John 12:24.

Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. John 3:3.

The placement of the letter to Philadelphia echoes The Voice of Him who says, today I set before you, Life and death; choose Life. Deuteronomy 30:19.

The situation may look and smell like Martha’s brother, “Lord, by now he stinketh.” But it wasn’t too late for Lazarus, four days in the tomb. Or Jesus, who was in there for three. Nor is it too late, for you and me.

There is Life after death. In this life and the next. Yes, even after the lost love. The fight. The affair. The separation. The break up. The divorce. The death. The loss. The abortion. The failure. The accident. The disease. The bankruptcy. The prison sentence. The incident. The sin. The rape. The abuse. The molestation. The…   

During this time in HIStory, God opened a door of Great Awakening, to His Bride. Revivalists thundered throughout the land. Colleges like Princeton, Brown, Rutgers and Dartmouth, were started for the purpose or training ministers.

The brave hearts of the Protestant Reformation in the 1700s, gave the colonies courage to stand against religious intolerance, and thus began the American Revolution, and the birth of our nation.

We can still hear the voice of Billy Graham, thundering from the last Great Awakening in the 70s and 80’s.

The time is ripe for another. We’re praying for another. We’re in need of another, great revival.

Lately, the bell has tolled all over the globe; news reports rang, like global obituaries.

But the remnant remains. The Faithful Church, is awake, watching, praying, for one more great revival, for the Final Harvest.

To the Church in Philadelphia, Jesus placed an open door. This Church, represents that Church, to hear the trumpet, and be caught up (raptured), through heaven’s door. And so shall we ever be with the Lord. Come quickly Lord Jesus.

Are you part of this Church…or the next?

   

The seventh letter was to Laodicea. It represents the time period from around 1900 through the Tribulation. We remember them as, The Lukewarm (or Apostate) church.

 This final letter is the saddest of all. It’s not about the persecution from without, but their rejection of Jesus, from within.

The Laodicean church and the Philadelphian Church are the last two standing. There’s an open door in one, and a closed door in the other. 

Philadelphia will be raptured. Laodicea will not.

In the 1900s a soft selling serpent slithered into the Church. Some listened, and the forked tongue of the devil created a fork in the road for the Church.

One Church, stayed right on the straight and narrow. Another church, strayed left and became what we have today in liberal theology.

Laodicea, or more accurately, Lao-deceive-ya, is the church that gets triggered over social issues, but lukewarm toward God’s. 

They created the unconstitutional lie of “separation of church and state.” They listen to those who tickle their ears, saying there is no hell, and promote those who condone their sin, like Nancy Jezebelosi, who talks about God, while applauding the slaughter of His little ones. They have seminaries (more like cemeteries) that teach preachers to get followers, not win souls. They have a form of Godliness, but deny the power thereof. 2 Timothy 3:5.

They built a door, and slammed it in God’s face.

This is the church that will say, “Lord, Lord, don’t you remember, all the good things we’ve done? Tolerance? Women’s rights? The climate? The trees? The whales?  

Jesus will say to them, “Depart from Me, you workers of iniquity, I never knew you.” Matthew 7:22-24.

But He won’t say it, until the end. The very end. Even through the great tribulation, He stands at the door, (the door they built to reject Him, to shut Him out, to slam in His face), He stands, to the bloody end, and knocks.

As long as there’s a breath of hope, He’s reaching out His nail-scarred hand.

As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore, be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. Revelation 3:19-20.

Today, if you hear His Voice, harden not your heart. Hebrews 3:15.

Whoever has ears, hear what the Spirit is saying to…you.

 

Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near. Revelation 1:3.

 

CQLJ.

Amen.