25.4 Revelation – Peace and Prosperity

We long for peace and prosperity.  Every beauty queen discusses her desire for “World Peace”.  We save for it, we plan for it, we work for it, we negotiate for it, we make sacrifices to some day have it, we lobby, vote, spend, talk, sing and shed blood to obtain it.

But it can be incredibly corrosive as well.  Because we are fallen men, we are not pure or without sin, sinful thought, sinful desires and sinful urges.  Times of peace and prosperity foster outstanding growth.  Babies are born, strength in built, things get done.  But, unfortunately, in these same environments many of the negative cancers grow as well.

Looking back at history, it is during times of peace and prosperity that sin and debauchery grew to new levels.  People feel self confident.  They do not turn to God for help because they convince themselves they don’t need help.  Instead they write the rules, or throw out all rules.  They redefine right to be anything they want to do, anything that feels good.  The only wrong are those who do not go along with the deception.

Even in a time of the reign of Jesus Christ.  Even for 1000 when mankind grows immeasurably in number and stature.  Even with all nations under one ruler, one economy, one set of leaders who don’t die and don’t end their service (they were already raised from the dead).  Even in this period, the cancer of sinful man festers.

When Satan is freed, all it takes is a lie, a deception, for men to fall in line behind him. Not only speaking out.  Not only in words or quiet revolt – but to have fallen so far as to take up arms against one who cannot die or be harmed.  One who has demonstrated His love and peace and joy and giving for 1000 years.

We need to keep this in mind the next time we face trials and tribulations, persecution and hardships.  Maybe these things are like medications or chemo-therapy or radiation.  While they may be difficult for us to endure, they may be even harder on the sin in our lives and around us and they may be making us better, stronger, healed and saved in the long run.

My Answers:

9.
a.
goes out to deceive the nations in the 4 corners of the earth (Gog and Magog) and to gather them for battle
Men are easily lured by temptation and deceived – once deceived they are willing to stand and fight for the deception

b.
Thrown alive into the lake of burning sulfur tormented day and night for ever and ever

10.
a.
That after 1000 of Jesus’ reign, men were ready to rise up against Him. so easily defiled – with a sin nature

b.
through eyes first – we look, then body follows.  This was true with Eve and has remained.  The desires of the flesh and pride are strong sinful urges.

c.
Prayer – praying with others – mentor-ship – reading and studying God’s word

25.3 Revelation – Summary Judgment

In legal proceedings there is a motion known as a summary judgment.  It is basically an request made to a judge that says, assuming that everything the other part is arguing or presenting is valid, even if the best or worst things they claim are held as the truth, it still would not matter and we request that the court find for our position.

This is the situation we discover in the first resurrection.  Even if these martyrs and those chosen to help lead during the 1000 year reign of Christ were to be judged, and even if every sin, lie, wrongdoing, etc, etc, were held as accepted evidence, they still would be found not guilty.  Their stance, to lay down their life instead of recant their faith is prima-facie evidence.

But, here we must make a very important distinction.  It is not the act of being martyred that provides this evidence.  We need to be very, very clear on this point.  It is not the willingness to die for something you believe in that is somehow noble or worthy or causes the scales to tip in one direction in terms of eternal life or heavenly rewards.

Unfortunately, this misconception and lie is one the dragon uses.  This is how we have suicide bombers and terrorists and others deceived by lies.  These are not noble or honorable people, they are wicked, evil, lost souls who bought into a lie so thoroughly that they love it more than their own life.

The evidence is not in the act, no more that we are saved or lost by any single act.  The evidence is in the fact that they Holy Spirit was completely present in the lives of these Christian martyrs at the time they were killed for their faith.

Their deaths do not earn this this special resurrection or favor.  The life of the one in them at the moment of their death is the evidence and the proof – not of their own goodness or something deserved, but that they were cloaked in the redeeming blood of the lamb.

We should honor and learn from the Christian martyrs, but the teaching is not how to die, but how to live.

My Answers:

6.
a.
because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God.  Had not worshiped beast or image and no mark – They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years

b.
Standing strong leads to denigration and possible death by Satan, but to honor and life with Jesus –

7.
a.
The bringing back to life the martyrs – prior to 1000 year reign of Jesus

b.
the second death – damnation, judgment day – they have been found saved and holy – risen to live, a spiritual awakening and a new body

8.
Priests of God and of Christ, reign with Him for 1000 years – not just sitting around being bored – we are productive members of God’s society.

25.2 Revelation – Locked and Sealed

What a contrast our reading from Revelation 20:1-3 presents between Satan and Jesus.

Jesus’ willingly and knowingly came to earth for the purpose of descending into the grave.  He fully took on the cloak of mankind that He might face every temptation and experience every emotion known to man.  When it came time, He submitted himself to men to suffer, to be hung from a cross, to die, to be placed in a tomb which was then locked and sealed.

But no tomb could hold Him.  Not even death.  For in three days He rose again, of His own power (even though dead).  The stone was rolled back, the seal broken and He was free.  An angel sat at the empty tomb, not as a guard, but as a messenger of the good news.

In contrast, Satan never submitted himself to mankind.  Satan never did anything for the benefit of man.  Satan did not willingly descend into the Abyss, he was thrown there by an angel (note, it didn’t require God, but just an angel who had this level of power over the dragon).  Once the Abyss was locked and sealed, Satan, though alive, was powerless.  For 1000 years, until, by the will of God, he was set free, the serpent simply “was not”.

This dragon is all show, all deceit, all lies.  To us, it seems at times, that evil is winning.  We look around and see horrific acts in the world.  But even this deception is a lie, isolated and, while dreadful, not of consequence in the matters of eternity.  This mighty beast that roars like a line and wants to devour, can cause no long-term harm to any who see the light of God.  Even if He were granted to take a life, in the view of eternity, years on earth are less than a blink of an eye.

The message though is even deeper.  Satan’s rightful place is to be locked and sealed away in the Abyss.  The Holy Spirit’s rightful place is to be flowing through your heart and mind and pouring out into the world in joy and praise and ministering and love.  What a contrast!

 

My Answers:

3.
a.
An angel, key to the Abyss, a great chain in hand, seized dragon bound for 1000 years, threw into the Abyss locked & sealed

b.
1000 years

4.
evil (or anyone) can only do what God allows. God selects timing and limits and

5.
a.
Satan is a liar and murderer, the father of lies, corrupts man to believe lies and reject truth.  blinds the minds of believers so cannot see the true light.  prowls like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

b.
It does seem at times that Satan is winning, there is so much evil and wickedness in the world.  In addition to all the horrific things, this also causes a high degree of uncertainty and unrest – driving away peace and comfort.