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

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22.4 Revelation – Wisdom

Wisdom is the correct application of knowledge.  But the source of the knowledge matters and the guiding hand of that source on its application is paramount.

Anyone can amass great amounts of knowledge.  People can spend their entire lives in any discipline, studying and memorizing.  For that matter, anyone can study the bible, even memorize it word for word. But without faith and without the power of the holy spirit, it is just words and thought.  There is no power in any of it.

Look at the wise men in Nebuchadnezzar’s court in Daniel 2:12 – all dead.  Look at the wise men in Belshazzar’s court Daniel 5:8 – powerless and stumped.  Look at the sons of Sceva in Acts 19:11-20 – left with nothing, not even underwear.

I think Paul sums it up the best in his letter to the church in Corinth:

1 Cor 1: 20-25
Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

My Answers:

9.
a.
Why are you astonished?  I will explain to you the mystery of the woman and of the beast she rides

b.
They have one purpose, to give their power and authority to the beast.  They will wage war on Jesus, the Lamb (v 14)

c.
The Lamb will triumph over them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings

d.
v14. And with Him will be His called, chosen and faithful followers

10.
Beast: once was, now is not, yet will come up out of the Abyss and go to its destruction
God: him who is and who was and who is to come

11.
a.
Symbolism (7 heads are seven hills on which the woman sits).  Discernment – From the spirit and from knowing the word of God

b.
Bible study, prayer, discussion, teaching, being obedient.  Growing in holiness, no longer as deceived by the temptations of the world

13.2 Revelation – Stopping the Wind

Stopping the Wind

Who can stop the wind?

Wind is an unseen but very real force.  It is constantly moving with both benefits and harm.  It helps cleanse the earth, move and dissipate smoke and polution.  It drives the rain clouds. It also produces tornadoes, hurricanes, down-gusts and micro-bursts.

Whether you see the stopping of the wind as a form of wrath in itself (by removing the beneficial properties of the wind) or a delay of wrath (by holding back the destructive power), either way, the power and ability to perform such a task in outside of our comprehension.

We can deflect the wind.  We can make shelters from the wind.  But we can’t hold it back.

But God can.  And Revelation 7 says that He will for His purpose.  He will send angels to hold back the wind and then another angel to seal 144,000.

Righteous harm will befall the earth.  It is inevitable and part of God’s plan of purification for the stain of sin on creation.  But God is in control even of the inevitable.  He can hold back even the wind for His purposes.  We see it in the end times and we see it in our daily lives.  All sin is against God and all of us sin.  We pile up debts of sin with no way to repay even the smallest.  God is not unjust.  He does not leave sin unpunished or unreconciled, but He holds back His right or setting the accounts right, so that the ones He love can be drafted to His service.

My Answers:

3.
standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds

4.
a.
destruction, invasion, wrath, power, anger

b.
Patience – protection of the earth, land, sea, trees and people to be sealed

c.
every day I sin and deserve the wrath of God.  All sin is against God.

08.3 Revelation – Bound in Praise and Prayer

Bound in Praise and Prayer

There is an interesting question in our lesson today talking about praiseworthy things God has done for us recently.  It is interesting because it challenges us in our definition of praiseworthiness.

A beautiful sunset is definitely praiseworthy.  A miraculous healing.  Financial stability.  A repaired relationship.  Safety in the midst of a battle or accident.  All praiseworthy.

But how far down the list do we go and still give praise?

In my life recently, the adversity has come not in big attacks but in little ones.  The electrician who is not prompt in returning calls.  The dishwasher that quit working.  The upset stomach.  A technical glitch. A stain on a shirt. None of these are big things in themselves, but added together they take a toll.  You begin to feel like your life is fraying at the edges and you don’t know where it will stop.  You don’t feel like you are standing on solid ground.

It can seem silly to turn these things over to God – to pray to Him about a dishwasher pump.  But that is exactly what He wants us to do.  God is not just the God of big battles, He is the God who protects us in the daily skirmishes of life.  He is God over the universe and over every hair on your head.

My wife enjoys sewing and has made a number of quilts.  It is the image of the quilt that brought this together for me.  Like life, a quilt is made up of many small pieces, all fitting together, all stitched and joined together with threads.  A quilt may or may not have a big central design but they do all have something in common, a binding.  The binding of a quilt is what goes around the outside edge.  It is what holds the pieces and layers all together and prevents it from fraying and tearing and falling apart.  It is seldom beautiful or decorative, but it is critical.  It is also normally sewn on by hand with great work and time and attention to detail.

This week I’m reminded to praise God for His handwork in the binding of the quilt of life He has given me.

My Answers:

6.
a.
Wisdom and Power, He changes times and seasons, He deposes kings and raises up others, He gives wisdom to the wise, knowledge to the discerning, reveals deep and hidden things, knows what lies in darkness, light dwells in Him, God of my ancestors.  (given me wisdom and power, made known to me what we asked of you, made known to us the dream of the king)

b.
He is seeing me through a time of adversity where many things in my life seemed under attack and fraying at the edges.

7.
a.
(see v.28 – all to God) God knows and controls all about all kingdoms of the earth (past present future), He allows them power and deposes them.  His kingdom will rule over all others, crushing them and bringing them to an end and then enduring forever

b.
I am assured that I am part of that kingdom by the seal of the Holy Spirit in my soul