Wednesday, October 31, 2018

spiritual battle, The Four Horsemen (Rev.6-8)

Jesus begins to break each of the seven seals of the book.

When the first seal is broken, the Antichrist will be revealed to the world as he sets up his government, and in his attempts to gain worldwide power, he uses cold war.  The one who sits on the white horse is a demon who will help make that happen...

(Revelation 6:1-2)  Then I saw when the Lamb broke one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures saying as with a voice of thunder, “Come.” I looked, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.

The second seal is broken.  The one who sits on the red horse is a demon who will help cause war across the entire earth...

(Revelation 6:3-4)  When He broke the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come.” And another, a red horse, went out; and to him who sat on it, it was granted to take peace from the earth, and that men would slay one another; and a great sword was given to him.

The third seal is broken. The one who sits on the black horse is a demon who helps cause worldwide famine...

(Revelation 6:5-6)  When He broke the third seal, I heard the third living creature saying, “Come.” I looked, and behold, a black horse; and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard something like a voice in the center of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not damage the oil and the wine.”

The fourth seal is broken.  The one who sits upon the ashen horse is joined by many other demons.  They will be given permission to cause death to a fourth of the earth by using violence, famine, wild animals and pestilence...

(Revelation 6:7-8)  When the Lamb broke the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, “Come.” I looked, and behold, an ashen horse; and he who sat on it had the name Death; and Hades was following with him. Authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the earth.

The fifth seal is broken.  It is martyrdom, as the Antichrist will be trying to rid the earth of God's children...

(Revelation 6:9-11)  When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; 10 and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” 11 And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also.

The sixth seal is broken.  Terror is released upon the earth via physical disturbances...

(Revelation 6:12-17)  I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; 13 and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. 14 The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. 15 Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; 16 and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; 17 for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”

From this we see:
- the first living creature, with a voice like thunder, announces the first judgment on the earth (6:1)
- the one who sits on the white horse is a demon who will help create a cold war in order to help the Antichrist set up his government with aspirations of ruling the world (6:2)
- the second living creature, announces the second judgment on the earth (6:3)
- the one who sits on the red horse is a demon who will help cause war across the entire earth (6:4)
- the third living creature, announces the third judgment on the earth (6:5)
- the one who sits on the black horse is a demon who will help cause worldwide famine (6:5)
- a voice in the center of the four living creatures makes a prophetic announcement, which either is another angel, or it is maybe a combination of the living creatures' voices (6:6)
- the fourth living creature, announces the fourth judgment on the earth (6:7)
- the one who sits upon the ashen horse is joined by many other demons.  They will be given permission to cause death to a fourth of the earth by using violence, famine, wild animals and pestilence (6:8)

Personal experience:  we are not told how much time is in between each seal being broken.  It could be that all these things are all happening pretty much at the same time.

What we do know from scripture is that the above events definitely have to all happen within the first half of the Tribulation.  Either way, there will be a lot of demonic activity happening during the first half of the seven years, and then, it will be even more so in the second half.

And even so, there will still be people becoming believers during the Tribulation!  I mean, these will be the people who have to learn the hard way.  But still, in those circumstances, their choice will be very decisive.  There won't be many people pretending to be Christians just to "fit in" - because being a Christian in the Tribulation will mean persecution and death.

Even today, it's interesting how fast and big the hidden churches grow in the countries where evangelism is illegal!  Meanwhile over here, where we have religious freedom, I hear so many people ask the question, "Well, if there is a loving God, why is there so much evil?"

People who want an excuse not to believe in God, will find or create an excuse.  And because God IS loving, He never forces anyone to believe in Him, even though He died for everyone's sins anyway.

Today's takeaway:  just as God is loving and patient with people, we need to be loving and patient...

(1 Corinthians 13:1-13)  If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part; 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. 11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. 13 But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

spiritual battle, The Strong Angel (Rev.5)

The vision of heaven continues, as the Tribulation is about to begin.

The angel - who asks the question about who is worthy to open the book and to break its seals - is described as strong.  Perhaps this is pointed out because maybe the strongest angel in heaven tried to open the book but could not???  It sounds that way because of what is said right after, in verse 3...

(Revelation 5:1-4)  I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a book written inside and on the back, sealed up with seven seals. And I saw strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the book and to break its seals?” And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the book or to look into it. Then I began to weep greatly because no one was found worthy to open the book or to look into it

Only Jesus is worthy and able to open this book and break its seals.  Now the four living creatures begin to sing a new song...

(Revelation 5:5-10)  and one of the elders said to me, “Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals.”
And I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth. And He came and took the book out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. When He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying,
Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.
10 “You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.”

Now all of heaven, raptured believers and angels all join in singing and praising the Lord together...

(Revelation 5:11-14)  Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice,
Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.”
13 And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying,
“To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.”
14 And the four living creatures kept saying, “Amen.” And the elders fell down and worshiped.

From this we see:
- a strong angel proclaims that no one in heaven is able to open the book or break its seals, and asks who is worthy (5:2-3)
- when Jesus takes the book to open it, the four living creatures who are around the throne now break into a new song (5:6-9)
- all of heaven start singing and praising the Lord together, including all of the angels (5:11)

Personal experience:  I love that they sing a new song!!!

As an artist, I have never wanted to get into a song-style-rut, and so, I decided long ago to always keep up "with the music trends of the times".  And I can sincerely say that I love all styles of music, as long as it is done well.

As a Christian, I do not want to be critical about singing new songs!  If the songs are glorifying God, then we should embrace those!

If God has blessed someone with the gift of music, and the Holy Spirit is guiding them into that area of service, who are we to quench the Spirit, or discourage a fellow believer?

In our church, we have just started a music-writing-collaboration-group.  It is a chance for all Christian musicians who want to write music, to get together and be lead and inspired by the Holy Spirit, in unity, to see what we can create together.  In just a few meetings, it is amazing to hear what we have come up with!

I believe we are to keep writing new songs.  As well, God deserves our very best!  So let us try to do our very best for Him!

Today's takeaway:  God tells us to sing a new song!  Let us be open to God's inspirations!...

(Psalm 149:1)  Praise the LordSing to the Lord a new song, and His praise in the congregation of the godly ones.
(Psalm 33:1-5)  Sing for joy in the Lord, O you righteous ones; praise is becoming to the upright.
Give thanks to the Lord with the lyre; sing praises to Him with a harp of ten strings.
Sing to Him a new song; play skillfully with a shout of joy.
For the word of the Lord is upright, and all His work is done in faithfulness.
He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the lovingkindness of the Lord.

(Psalm 96:1-3)  Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, bless His name; proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day.
Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples.
(Isaiah 47:10-12)  Sing to the Lord a new song,
Sing His praise from the end of the earth! You who go down to the sea, and all that is in it. You islands, and those who dwell on them.
11 Let the wilderness and its cities lift up their voices, the settlements where Kedar inhabits. Let the inhabitants of Sela sing aloud, let them shout for joy from the tops of the mountains.
12 Let them give glory to the Lord and declare His praise in the coastlands.

(Psalm 144:9)  I will sing a new song to You, O God; upon a harp of ten strings I will sing praises to You,

(Psalm 40:3)  He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; many will see and fear and will trust in the Lord.
(Psalm 95:1)  O come, let us sing for joy to the Lord, let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation.
(Psalm 150:1-6)  Praise the LordPraise God in His sanctuary; praise Him in His mighty expanse.
Praise Him for His mighty deeds; praise Him according to His excellent greatness.
Praise Him with trumpet sound; praise Him with harp and lyre.
Praise Him with timbrel and dancing; praise Him with stringed instruments and pipe.
Praise Him with loud cymbals; praise Him with resounding cymbals.
Let everything that has breath praise the LordPraise the Lord!

(Psalm 147:1)  Praise the LordFor it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant and praise is becoming.

(Ephesians 5:18-20)  And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; 20 always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father

(Colossians 3:16)  Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

(Psalm 95:1-2)  O come, let us sing for joy to the Lord, let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving, let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.

Psalm 100:1-5)  Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth.
Serve the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful singing.
Know that the Lord Himself is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise.  Give thanks to Him, bless His name.
For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting and His faithfulness to all generations.