by Mike Ratliff
1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. 2And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, 3and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while. (Revelation 20:1-3 ESV)
If we listen to much of the preaching these days we might get the idea that our God was an old grandfatherly type entity who loves people so much and wants to save them all, but is helpless to do anything to make that happen. Also, He really isn’t in control of anything. He simply set the Universe into motion and now it’s on its own. He simply waits helplessly in a far off Heaven for people to make the right decision by their own reasoning capabilities. He is sorry for all the suffering and heartache in the world, so if people would simply follow the right preacher they could be happy, rich, and healthy. Is that what the Bible teaches us about God?
9 As I looked,
thrones were placed,
and the Ancient of days took his seat;
his clothing was white as snow,
and the hair of his head like pure wool;
his throne was fiery flames;
its wheels were burning fire.
10 A stream of fire issued
and came out from before him;
a thousand thousands served him,
and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him;
the court sat in judgment,
and the books were opened.
11 I looked then because of the sound of the great words that the horn was speaking. And as I looked, the beast was killed, and its body destroyed and given over to be burned with fire. 12 As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but their lives were prolonged for a season and a time. (Daniel 7:9-12 ESV)
This passage was part of Daniel’s vision of the Four Beasts. Vv 1-9 describe the beasts mentioned in vv11-12. The Beast who is killed in v11 and Revelation 19:20 is The Scarlet Beast whom is ridden by the Scarlet Woman in Revelation 17:3. Many today fear the revealing of the Antichrist. They fear the coming Tribulation. They fear how horrible that will be. However, his authority comes from Satan, not God. When it’s time to lock up The Deceiver, the dragon, he will be locked up.
1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. 2 And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, 3 and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while.
4 Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5 The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years. (Revelation 20:1-6 ESV)
Yes these things will take place. We must never forget that our God reigns! He is on His throne and nothing happens that He is not aware of. If we step out on faith in obedience to Him, it may indeed be costly. But how much more costly is it to disobey our Holy, Righteous and Just God? American Christianity is sick. I suppose that in other prosperous nations it is as well. However, things will not always be this way. God, for His own purposes, has allowed a cloak of blindness to fall over the spiritual eyes of our Christian leaders. They have been given over to their real heart’s desire, which is to build earthly church kingdoms, huge churches, and worldwide ministries. However, they aren’t doing it for God or the gospel, but for themselves. They are guilty of idolatry and that always leads to spiritual stupor. They can be neck deep in apostate teachings and respond in anger when rebuked for being there. However, God is not mocked. He knows what is going on.
The move away from the Scarlet Woman is happening. More and more people are being drawn from darkness into the light. God is behind this. The resistance from the Scarlet Woman is also growing. Right now the worst we see is verbal abuse and isolation when speaking out against our church leaders who are fast tracking their churches into pragmatism. However, the schism between genuine Christianity and the version practiced by those in the empty religiosity of the Scarlet Woman is becoming ever clearer as God does His mighty work of drawing His Remnant from her. There will be a backlash coming from her that will be accompanied by a strong delusion.
1 Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, 2 not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. 3 Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4 who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. 5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? 6 And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, 10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, 12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 ESV)
Those who persecute God’s people for standing firm and not remaining in the Scarlet Woman do so because of the strong delusion that the Scarlet Beast is the Messiah and the Scarlet Woman, run by the False Prophet, is the true church. Could the spiritual blindness of our church leaders we are seeing now be the beginning of that strong delusion? The persecution will be severe. “Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands.” Some may say that God is deliberately allowing His people to be slaughtered or He is helpless to prevent their persecution. However, that view comes from a temporal focus. When we are Spirit-led we can see God’s ways and see that they are right and we can see Man’s ways and see a schism that will never be resolved. The eternal is the real reality. God’s glory is paramount. He uses the persecution of His saints by the Beast to fill up the wrath against those who hate Him and His ways and refuse to obey Him. As we saw in the passage from Revelation 20:1-6, those who were killed for standing firm in Christ will reign with their Lord.
I know that these things can trouble some people. However, we who are in Christ have nothing to fear from these things. Could it be that we will have to go through this? That is in God’s hands, not mine or anyone else. However, of what do we have to be afraid?
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died-more than that, who was raised-who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:18-39 ESV)
Be encouraged in the Lord! Yes, evil times are ahead, but our God is on the throne and there is not one thing that can separate His children from Him or His love.
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