by Mike Ratliff
1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. 2 And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; 3 and he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time. Revelation 20:1-3 (NASB)
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 “I kept looking
Until thrones were set up,
And the Ancient of Days took His seat;
His vesture was like white snow
And the hair of His head like pure wool.
His throne was ablaze with flames,
Its wheels were a burning fire.
10 “A river of fire was flowing
And coming out from before Him;
Thousands upon thousands were attending Him,
And myriads upon myriads were standing before Him;
The court sat,
And the books were opened.
11 Then I kept looking because of the sound of the boastful words which the horn was speaking; I kept looking until the beast was slain, and its body was destroyed and given to the burning fire. 12 As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but an extension of life was granted to them for an appointed period of time. Daniel 7:9-12 (NASB)
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 the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. 2 And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; 3 and he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time.
4 Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and 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 completed. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years. Revelation 20:1-6 (NASB)
Yes these things will take place. We must never forget that our God reigns! He is on His throne and nothing happens of which He is not aware. 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 we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, 2 that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. 3 Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. 5 Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things? 6 And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. 8 Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; 9 that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, 10 and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. 11 For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, 12 in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness. 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 (NASB)
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. “And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand.” 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 worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly 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 also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. 23 And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. 24 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.
26 In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; 27 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? 33 Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; 34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 Just as it is written,
“For Your sake we are being put to death all day long;
WE were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.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. Romans 8:18-39 (NASB)
Soli Deo Gloria!