Posts Tagged ‘tribulation’

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

A quote fromQueen of Hip-Hop Soul,’ Mary J Blige:

My God is a God who wants me to have things. He wants me to bling. He wants me to be the hottest thing on the block. I don t know what kind of God the rest of y all are serving, but the God I serve says, ‘Mary, you need to be the hottest thing this year, and I m gonna make sure you’re doing that’.”

I’d be curious to hear how Mary Jane justifies her philosophy against the truth found in Ephesians 5:5:

You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is really an idolater who worships the things of this world. (NLT)

Tribulation on the other hand is a promise from God. Christians don’t have to go looking for it, it just shows up on our door step.   It shows up, that is, if we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing — glorifying Jesus Christ in all we do.  And if there’s no tribulation in your life, there’s a good chance nobody knows that you’re a Christian.

An odd thing about tribulation — followers of Christ glory in it!


Because the Bible tells us it’s sanctifying. Tribulation we are told…

Produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope (and) hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:3-5

What’s Hope?

Pastor Jon Courson explains hope this way:

Throughout Scripture, the word ‘hope’ always refers to that which is coming, to that which is ahead. I’m convinced the single greatest problem carnal Christians have is that they don’t know the hope of His calling. They don’t know the reality of heaven. Consequently, they constantly strive for material things and are continually caught up in carnal pursuits. They’re depressed and discouraged because they don’t see the big picture of eternity.”

And the Bible tells us tribulation has another purpose. If we go back to the opening passage and chop-it-up a bit, we can focus on this other aspect.

God…who comforts us…that we may be able to comfort…with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted.

Our Blessings Don’t Belong to Us

In God’s name and for His glory, they’re to be given away. We’re comforted to be a comfort! We’re blessed to be a blessing! Our tests inspire our testimonies and our messes fuel our messages! So that we might prosper?


So that the Body of Christ will.

It’s what we get to do!

Are you doing it?


For ye are bought with a price…glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. 1 Corinthians 6:20

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“Oh, that my words were written! Oh, that they were inscribed in a book! That they were engraved on a rock With an iron pen and lead, forever! For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth; And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, That in my flesh I shall see God, Whom I shall see for myself, And my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! Job 19:23-27

Job has personal knowledge of an eternal, holy, Redeemer. Job speaks as one who has found an intermediary; the One who will stand up and pay the ransom that will ultimately deliver him. Incredibly Job speaks of the only One who could pay the price for his redemption and freedom. The question that remains is how did Job come by this knowledge—so how did Job know?

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Romans 8:35

We know that the things that happened to Job were not caused by God, but by satan. However, we also know that God gave satan the freedom to do these things. For centuries the masses have asked why would God allow satan to do mean, horrible, nasty things to Job. Was it merely so God could prove a point to satan; was it solely to demonstrate that Job would not abandon God if all his blessings were removed? I submit to you that it was much deeper than that and that God never does anything for a singular reason—Job’s tribulation would bring about God’s revelation—our Redeemer lives!

“Oh, that my words were written! Oh, that they were inscribed in a book! That they were engraved on a rock With an iron pen and lead, forever! For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth; And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, That in my flesh I shall see God, Whom I shall see for myself, And my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! Job 19:23-27

Job hadn’t a clue that these words would be recorded in the best selling Book of all time and that gazillions of people would glean from his miraculous insight. Job didn’t know, Eliphaz didn’t know, Bildad didn’t know, Zophar didn’t know, but God knew–He would give us a glimpse of His Son through the sufferings of one man and the notion of a kinsman redeemer would echo forever through the entire Bible.

Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:10

Therefore, it stands reason that if God allowed Job to suffer in ways that would ultimately benefit Job and many others; He would allow us to suffer for similar reasons. Would perfectly successful people ever look to God for anything? No, they wouldn’t; without tribulation there is no need to look up. God in His infinite and perfect wisdom gives us a vehicle by which we will seek Him regularly. Christians therefore know that success is not measured by a lack of suffering, but rather how well we abide in Christ through them. Victory is realized when we hear from our Redeemer,

“Well done good and faithful servant.” Matthew 25:21

I am not suggesting that God does not speak to us in the good times as well; that would be a silly notion. The observation is that our Father has some valuable information to share with us every time we find ourselves crawling in the dark on our knees.

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These ramblings are typically (but not always) a byproduct inspired by God through my personal Bible study at SearchLight with Pastor Jon Courson and with my pastor at my home church, Calvary Chapel Coastlands

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So David knew that the Lord had established him as king over Israel, for his kingdom was highly exalted for the sake of His people Israel…Now when the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king over all Israel, all the Philistines went up to search for David. And David heard of it and went out against them…And David inquired of God, saying, “Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will You deliver them into my hand?” And the Lord said to him, “Go up, for I will deliver them into your hand.” So they went up to Baal Perazim, and David defeated them there…Then the Philistines once again made a raid on the valley. Therefore David inquired again of God, and God said to him, “You shall not go up after them; circle around them, and come upon them in front of the mulberry trees. And it shall be, when you hear a sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees, then you shall go out to battle, for God has gone out before you to strike the camp of the Philistines.” 1 Chronicles 14:8, 10-11a, 13-15

Four Reasons Why Christians Suffer

Generally speaking there are four fundamental reasons why born-again Christians experience suffering. First and foremost we’re afflicted because we live in a fallen condition brought about by Adam’s indiscretion in the Garden. As a result we sin against others and they sin against us; God does not routinely interfere lest He deny us our free will.

A subsequent (and obviously interrelated) cause is based not on what other sinners do to us, but rather upon what we do to ourselves; i.e., the things we suffer because of our own foolishness. The reality is God is not mocked and we will reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7-8).

Thirdly, there is the sanctification process the Christian willingly submits himself to. Followers of Christ choose submission over disdain because the trying course consistently proves to be a blessing rather than a curse. The truth be told, believers know that those who are without God’s chastening are considered to be illegitimate children (Hebrews 12:5-8).

The final reason is subtly revealed in the 1 Chronicles 14 passage (above) and fortified by this New Testament canon:

In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33b

When David knew that God had established and ordained him ~and~ when the Philistines heard about it, they attacked. This satanic policy holds true for us as well, for when the enemy learns of our anointing, he too will attack. How the enemy manifests himself varies and I submit that they range from flat tires to martyrdom. I know of one brother in the faith who had a deer jump through his car window as he traveled to a ministry conference. The naysayer rolls his eyes and screams, “Coincidence! Hardly. Christians know better.

Our Response

And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Romans 5:3-4

Our first response is birthed in our hope, for we know that, ‘All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.’ (Romans 8:28). We have our rest in the assurance that God is orchestrating a picture beyond the scope of both our suffering and our imagination. However, in light of that hope, we have spiritual responsibility.


That responsibility is revealed in what David did. In an act of Godly dependence, he inquired of the Lord, not once, but each time the enemy was on the attack. How God answered David teaches us that our responses can be as varied as the attacks themselves. Like David, we might be called to mount up a frontal assault one time and a rear offensive another. The significant point is that we cannot be confident in anything until we ask for His input. For all we know, we might be called to ignore the enemy entirely. Important things to glean from David’s story are to never suppose God’s methodology runs consecutively and to never assume (based on history) we can leave God out of the equation. To become dependant upon what God has given rather than upon God Himself, we effectively open the door of victory to our adversary.

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These ramblings are typically (but not always) a byproduct inspired by God through my personal Bible study at SearchLight with Pastor Jon Courson and my pastor at Calvary Chapel Coastlands

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And (Jacob) said, “Indeed I have heard that there is grain in Egypt; go down to that place and buy for us there, that we may live and not die.” So Joseph’s ten brothers went down to buy grain in Egypt…Joseph saw his brothers and recognized them, but he acted as a stranger to them and spoke roughly to them. Then he said to them, “Where do you come from?” Genesis 42:2-4, 7In as much as Joseph is a prophetic picture or ‘type’ of Jesus in these accounts from Genesis, this seven year famine period is a picture of the Tribulation period that is yet to come. While the typology is incredible throughout the story, we will try to maintain a focus on only a few key ideas.

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

Perhaps the most obvious parallel is that Jacob (aka: Israel) thought he could purchase that which could save him. As an illustration to what Christ Jesus would ultimately do on the cross, we now know that salvation cannot be bought for a price. Jacob and his sons will soon learn this precious lesson. God’s gift is free and is resources are inexhaustible.

A Sightless Israel

The image that is being prophetically portrayed here of Israel is remarkable, so much so we see the evidence of the illustration even today. Just as these brothers could not recognize Joseph as a savior, similarly the nation of Israel by in large cannot see Jesus as such either (and it will take a period of tribulation to restore their sight). While it is true that Israel has brought their blindness upon themselves, it was an obstacle purposely inflicted by God and some surmise that the fact the New Testament was written in Greek (and not Hebrew) is a further witness to that doctrine. Consider these supportive biblical texts:

For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved… For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all. Romans 11:25-26, 32

God is Not Through with the Jew

The affliction upon the Jew is not a reaction by God to punish or even abandon them, but rather a purposeful and divine action that will ultimately lead to their salvation in Christ Jesus. We might ask why (or how) Israel brought this upon themselves; what actually occurred?

But his citizens hated him, and sent a delegation after him, saying, ’We will not have this man to reign over us.’ Luke 19:14

I suppose that verse from the Gospel of Luke is the best summary—Israel opted not to submit themselves and as a result they were blinded towards Jesus. We know that Jesus will not force His love upon any person or a nation who has rejected Him, for that work is akin to rape. So what will become of Israel? In due time their eyes will begin to see and the Prophet Zechariah describes what that day will look like.

And one will say to him, ’What are these wounds between your arms?’ Then he will answer, ’Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.’ Zechariah 13:6

Israel will stand before Jesus and ask Him, “So, where did you get those wounds, ” and His reply will likely send a shiver down each of their spines, the effect of which will begin to restore their vision. This all may seem harsh, just as Joseph’s words to his brothers were seemingly harsh, but the motivation behind the words will bring restoration. Consider this truth spoken by Jesus in the Gospel of Luke.

Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.” Luke 7:47

Jesus declares there is a godly principle that once employed sets off a chain-reaction of gargantuan proportion. As it pertains to the Jew, once their eyes have been opened to the huge extent of their own sin, their love for Him will be incredibly enormous. Jesus will come full-circle to rescue Israel and we will see that pictured in this story of Joseph and his brothers. The good news for us is that we are not blind—the Law has identified us as sinners and it is the road sign that also points us to our salvation found in Christ alone—the veil has been torn in two.

And the second time Joseph was made known to his brothers, and Joseph’s family became known to the Pharaoh. Acts 7:13

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Now Dinah the daughter of Leah, whom she had borne to Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land. And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her, he took her and lay with her, and violated her. Genesis 33:1-2A Father’s Responsibility

I am not going to suggest that Dinah’s attack was Jacob’s fault; that burden falls squarely upon the shoulders of her attacker (whose name oddly enough means shoulder). However I am going to say that the situation could have likely been avoided if Jacob had not placed his family (and his daughter) in such a precarious and unhealthy environment. Jacob was living on the edge of ‘Heathenville’ and he knew it. To make matters worse, consider the carnage that ensued…

…Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, each took his sword and came boldly upon the city and killed all the males. And they killed Hamor and Shechem his son with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah from Shechem’s house, and went out. 27 The sons of Jacob came upon the slain, and plundered the city, because their sister had been defiled. They took their sheep, their oxen, and their donkeys, what was in the city and what was in the field, and all their wealth. All their little ones and their wives they took captive; and they plundered even all that was in the houses. Genesis 33:25b-28

A Lack of Supervision

Things were bad (prior to this massacre), but Jacob had the opportunity to take control of the situation and see to it that justice was administered. Instead he chose to remain silent. All things considered it was Jacob’s ineffectiveness and peace that provoked his two boy’s immature response. Again, it does not excuse the behavior of Simeon and Levi.

The root of this problem goes back to when Jacob elected to move his family to an unsafe setting. The entire account brings to mind Lot’s avoidable-saga when he pitched his tent on the outskirts of Sodom and Gomorrah and ultimately became entangled in the goings-on of that horrid place. I cannot help but read Jacob’s account and wonder why is it recorded in the Bible given that there is no positive outcome? Only one thing makes sense…

Consider it a Warning

Examining Jacob’s actions (and inactions) we wonder how he could be so ignorant and lackadaisical; the answer to which we will never know. But it should give us pause and reason to reflect upon the things we allow our children easy access. Suffice it to say, the consequences for the choices our children make are ultimately their own, but what affect did our indifference or ignorance have on these decisions—what was our role? Please consider this short story I took off the web a while back—it’s quite thought provoking. It is attributed to Joy Innes and is called…

The Stranger


“A few months before I was born, my Dad met a stranger who was new to our small Tennessee town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer and soon invited him to live with our family. The stranger was quickly accepted and was around to welcome me into the world a few months later.
As I grew up, I never questioned his place in my family. In my young mind, he had a special niche. My parents were complementary instructors: Mom taught me the word of God, and Dad taught me to obey it. But the stranger? He was our storyteller. He would keep us spellbound for hours on end with adventures, mysteries and comedies.
If I wanted to know anything about politics, history or science, he always knew the answers about the past, understood the present and even seemed able to predict the future! He took my family to the first major league ball game. He made me laugh, and he made me cry. The stranger never stopped talking, but Dad didn’t seem to mind.
Sometimes, Mom would get up quietly while the rest of us were shushing each other to listen to what he had to say, and she would go to her room and read her books (I wonder now if she ever prayed for the stranger to leave.) Dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions, but the stranger never felt obligated to honor them.
Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our home … not from us, our friends or any visitors. Our longtime visitor, however, got away with four-letter words that burned my ears and made my dad squirm and my mother blush.
My Dad was a teetotaler who didn’t permit alcohol in the home, not even for cooking. But the stranger encouraged us to try it on a regular basis. He made cigarettes look cool, cigars manly and pipes distinguished. He talked freely (much too freely!) about sex.
His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing. I now know that my early concepts about relationships were influenced strongly by the stranger. Time after time, he opposed the values of my parents, yet he was seldom rebuked … and NEVER asked to leave.
More than fifty years have passed since the stranger moved in with our family. He has blended right in and is not nearly as fascinating as he was at first. Still, if you were to walk into my parent’s den today you would still find him sitting over in his corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and watch him draw his pictures.
His name?
We just call him TV.”

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Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, “Thus with violence the great city Babylon shall be thrown down, and shall not be found anymore. The sound of harpists, musicians, flutists, and trumpeters shall not be heard in you anymore. No craftsman of any craft shall be found in you anymore, and the sound of a millstone shall not be heard in you anymore. The light of a lamp shall not shine in you anymore, and the voice of bridegroom and bride shall not be heard in you anymore. For your merchants were the great men of the earth, for by your sorcery all the nations were deceived. And in her was found the blood of prophets and saints, and of all who were slain on the earth.” Revelation 18:21-24Is Babylon New York City

Reading the passage above a person could certainly make a case that New York City will be the Babylon that is ultimately destroyed at the end of the Tribulation period. I will not be dogmatic about the assertion; I just am fascinated by the notion that Babylon could be in the United States. The truth is that Babylon might be anywhere. While others have made a case for it being the Babylon of Iraq, Rome, or even China–I just happen to see New York City as the best fit.

Why NYC?

New York is currently the financial epicenter of the world (ground-zero as it were) and arguably the wealthiest site on the planet. Sorcery in this case, as defined in the original Greek, really pertains to illicit drug use and needless to say, New York City surely holds it own in that arena. As for New York being the literal martyring-capitol of the world, that is yet to be seen, but one could make a pretty good figurative case for it being so. What do the prophets says?

Isaiah 18:1-2

Woe to the land shadowing with wings, which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia: That sendeth ambassadors by the sea, even in vessels of bulrushes upon the waters, saying, Go, ye swift messengers, to a nation scattered and peeled, to a people terrible from their beginning hitherto; a nation meted out and trodden down, whose land the rivers have spoiled!

The United States can relate to wings (as long as they are eagle’s wings), we are west of Ethiopia, nations do send their ambassadors to the United Nations, we are a nation that has conquered it’s rightful inhabitants, and oh yes, our rivers are fairly tainted.

Jeremiah 50:12 + 37

Your mother shall be sore confounded; she that bare you shall be ashamed: behold, the hindermost of the nations shall be a wilderness, a dry land, and a desert… A sword is upon their horses, and upon their chariots, and upon all the mingled people…
I believe that England (our mother) is baffled by our behavior to the point of being ashamed. As for being a mingled people, no one could argue. Who though would say that Iraq or China are mingled?

Jeremiah 51:12a-13, 49, 53

…The LORD hath both devised and done that which he spake against the inhabitants of Babylon. O thou that dwellest upon many waters, abundant in treasures, thine end is come, and the measure of thy covetousness…As Babylon hath caused the slain of Israel to fall, so at Babylon shall fall the slain of all the earth…Though Babylon should mount up to heaven, and though she should fortify the height of her strength, yet from me shall spoilers come unto her, saith the LORD.

The United States is the only modern-day kingdom that possess all these distinctives ~and~ ‘dwellest upon many waters.’ Whether or not the United States will stand with Israel to the bitter end is yet to be seen. Finally, and as far as you and I know, we are the only nation with the short-term capacity to mount an attack from the heavens with our moth-balled ‘Star Wars’ technology.

Who Cares

I suppose if the church is going to be plucked-off the planet before any of this takes place, it really does not matter much (to us) who, what, and where Babylon ends up. However God knows and He has established some road signs, and although seemingly vague, they serve to direct each sojourner to a place inside themselves; a place in need of some radical house cleaning—the Babylon of our very own hearts. James warns of this Babylon within.

Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you! Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days. Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. You have lived on the earth in pleasure and luxury; you have fattened your hearts as in a day of slaughter. You have condemned, you have murdered the just; he does not resist you. Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. James 5:1-8

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And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God. Revelation 15:2
The Tribulation is going to be a horrible time and persecution against the Christian is going to be at an all-time high. Oh, these persecuted believers are not you and I, for the church has been raptured by this time, but those who have been ‘left behind’ and came to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior during the period of the Tribulation. Without a doubt, these pre-and-post martyred saints will be seen as losersby the heathens that supported and/or carried-out these barbaric punishments.

Factoring Heaven into the Equation

While it is true (that) much of the Book of Revelation is forewarning, this portion of the volume is a sneak-preview into Heaven for those, who with patience, endure. It serves to remind those who will suffer on Earth that their future hope and victory lies in Heaven. Let every believer know that in everything we do, Heaven needs to be factored into the equation. My heart aches for every Christian who suffers because they have lost this focus and also for every non-believer who endures the pain of life without any prospective hope whatsoever.

…Because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel…To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Colossians 1:5 + 27

Do You Have This Hope

If you do, then my prayer is that your heart would ache for the unsaved, with each day your search spotlighting divine appointments to keep. If you do not have this hope, then I suspect it is no accident that you find yourself reading this blog today. This is the time for you to turn away from worthless pursuits and turn towards eternal salvation found in Christ Jesus alone.

So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” 1 Corinthians 15:54

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But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent. Revelation 12:14Nothing New

There is really nothing new in the Book of Revelation. The Revelation (in part) is in the understanding that everything contained within the text is found throughout the Old and New Testaments. In the Book of Revelation, Jesus has brought all the imagery and prophesies into one volume, so that we might better see the things that were, the things that are, and the things that will be.

With that appreciation, we can know that the woman spoken of here (Revelation 12:14) is the apple of God’s eye; the nation of Israel. We can also deduce that ‘a time and times and half a time’ is equal to ‘1 + 2 + ½ = 3 ½ ’ which is another reference to the latter half of the seven year Tribulation period: 3 ½ years (or 1260 days).

Who Then is the Great Eagle

There is some speculation that the ‘great eagle’ is the United States of America. It certainly seems to make sense, for America indeed stands with Israel today, but the truth is that we cannot be dogmatic about that position. The truth is that God, according to His will and purpose, can do the eagle-thing entirely on His own without any assistance whatsoever. Our proof text is found in Exodus 19:4

’You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself

Our strength, our hope, our faith is built on and focused upon the One who can and, as today’s scripture promises, the One who will.

The Debate

Today’s subject matter frequently stirs the debate within our Christian circles, “If God is able to provide for all the needs of those living in poverty today, why doesn’t He do so?”

The answer is simply this, “God is able and at this particular moment in time He has elected to use His body, the Church to accomplish this feat.”


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Then the fifth angel sounded: And I saw a star fallen from heaven to the earth. To him was given the key to the bottomless pit. Revelation 9:1Stuff You May or May Not Know

Some people mistakenly believe that this star spoken of in Revelation 9:1 is the Antichrist. It is not. This former luminary spoken of here is none other than satan. We know this to be true because the Apostle John refers to his fallen condition–an event that has already occurred. Isaiah 14:12-15 recalls the episode as well and why it happened.

How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: ’I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, To the lowest depths of the Pit.

I find it incredibly interesting that Jesus recalled the event as well in Luke 10:18. If you remember that story, scores of followers returned to Jesus and excitingly told Him how magnificently their ministry was going. Jesus reminds them that their passion must always be for the work He has done and not the work they were doing, lest they too fall.

Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” And He (Jesus) said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:17-20

The Pits

This will be a very sad time for those mired in the tribulation. The keys to Hades will be given to satan and he will unleash the demons held within; the worst of the worst demonism has to offer. We are reminded by Jesus in the first chapter of Revelation, “I have the keys of Hades and of Death.” We should find comfort in knowing that satan cannot operate unless God allows it.

I Won’t Be There

As I confessed in an earlier blog, I use to mutter to myself, “This information really doesn’t matter much to me…I won’t be there, so there is no need for me to be concerned about God’s wrath being poured out on the unbelieving world.”

But then it hit me, “Hey, many of my friends and most of my family aren’t saved and regardless if they care (or believe), I have to at least try to tell them.”

Now That We Know

It is true, ignorance is bliss, but now we know and with knowledge comes responsibility. As we share, our focus should always be on Jesus Christ and the Good News of salvation, but inevitability the topic of what we are saved from will arise. So instead of blurting out (because we care), “You’re going to burn in hell!” let’s take them to God’s word and show them the entire picture.

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And I said to him, “Sir, you know.” So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. Revelation 7:14-15 Given a Choice…

Given a choice (and we are given a choice), I would rather be a bride (as in the bride of Christ) rather than a bridesmaid. As wonderful as it will be to get to Heaven, my desire is to go in the first wave, rather in the second, for it is the first wave (the raptured church) that is indeed Christ’s true bride. Again, the raptured church (are) those Christians who are plucked-out before the tribulation period begins and Revelation 7:14-15 is speaking of those people who come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior ‘during’ the tribulation period. They are Christians, they are saved, but they are not the bride of Christ.

Dave, You Lost Me

When we read today’s passage again, we see the revelation. First, we can rejoice for those who chose to believe in Jesus Christ during the tribulation because they are now in Heaven, having been martyred for their new-found faith. But we also notice that they stand before the throne and will serve Jesus forever, night and day. Make no mistake about it, they will be ecstatic that they have been given this eternal opportunity and will rejoice in it, but serve they will.

However, because we have believed in Jesus Christ before the tribulation (and also before the, ‘wonders in heaven above And signs in the earth beneath: Blood and fire and vapor of smoke, ’ spoken of in Joel 2:28-32, we will sit with Jesus in His throne (much as a bride would sit with her groom) and we will reign and rule with Him.

Because you have kept My command to persevere I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth…To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne…Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years. Revelation 3:10, 21; 20:6

So What’s the Point

So many non-believers declare that if and when they see proof that Jesus is who He says He is, they will believe. That may be true for them, but there are these things they must consider:

1. If they die before the tribulation period, they won’t have this chance
2. If they come to believe during the tribulation, they will be martyred (murdered) for their faith.
3. They will get to be in Heaven forever, but will not be His bride, but His servants.
4. They will be happy to be His servants, but they should know now they could be His bride.
5. If a person cannot stand for Jesus now, what makes them think they will be able to stand for Christ when someone is threatening to kill them?

Brides and Bridesmaids

Finally, we see the differences between a bride and a bridesmaid as portrayed in these two Bible verses (both times Jesus is talking). Thomas (our bridesmaid) is most certainly blessed, but the bride (the one who elects to serve the Lord while on earth) is the one who is served in Heaven. The choice is always ours.

Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:29

Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them. Luke 12:37

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