Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Both Judaism and Christianity view believing God's Word as the single, most important thing a man can do. After all, if His Word cannot be believed, why should we worshiped and obeyed Him? As I have written before, a person is only as good as his word. If you cannot believe what he says, he is untrustworthy. That is why the psalmist wrote, "I will worship toward Thy holy temple, and praise Thy name for Thy lovingkindness and for Thy truth: for Thou hast magnified Thy Word above all Thy name" (Ps. 138:2). God knows His name is only as good as His reputation.

Man's failure to believe God began with the very first man God created. Adam and Eve had it made. All they had to do was believe God when He warned them about eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:16-17). But instead, they believed the "father of lies," and Adam and Eve died spiritually that very day, just as God said they would (Jn. 8:44; Gen. 3:6-11). And like his father, Cain did not believe it necessary to follow the instructions of the Lord; he tried to offer vegetables as a sacrifice for his sin (Gen. 4:2-7). God could not hold Cain responsible for bringing the wrong sacrifice if He had not instructed Adam and his family about bringing a blood sacrifice.

Throughout the Word of God, when men believe God, things go well for them; when they do not believe His Word, the end is always tragic. Abraham believed in the LORD; and He counted it to him for righteousness" (Gen. 15:6). Noah believed God and he spent about one hundred years building the largest "wake-up, the world is about to end sign." Apparently no one believed him. Moses told the Jews that God would take them to the land of promise, and at first, they believed and followed him (Ex. 3:18; Num. 16:14). Yet, because they repeatedly failed to believe God over the next forty years, all but two adult males of those who came out of Egypt died in the wilderness (Num. 14:30).

Throughout the Old Testament, God repeatedly told His prophets to tell His people about the Anointed One, the Messiah of Israel. As early as Genesis 3:15, God was telling mankind about the Savior of the world. Here are some examples:

He was the "seed of a woman" -- Gen. 3:15 and fulfilled: Gal. 4:4.
He was a descendant of Abraham -- Gen. 12:3 and fulfilled: Matt. 1:1.
He was from the tribe of Judah – Gen. 49:10 and fulfilled: Lk. 3:33.
He was the heir to the throne of David – Isa. 9:7 and fulfilled: Lk. 1:32-33.
He was born in Bethlehem – Mic. 5:2 and fulfilled: Jn. 1:2, Lk. 2:4-5, 7.
He was born of a virgin – Isa. 7:14 and fulfilled: Lk. 1:26-27, 30-31.
He was rejected and killed -- Ps. 22; Isa. 53 and fulfilled: Jn. 19; Acts 2:36
He was raised -- Ps. 16:10 and fulfilled: Matt. 28; Mk. 16; Lk. 23; Jn. 20.

It is amazing the enemies of Christ believed the prophecies about Him, but the nation as a whole did not believe (Matt. 2:1-16; 27:62-66; Jn. 1:11).

To be continued, Lord willing.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Every born again Christian is in the process of becoming Christ-like through the work of the Holy Spirit (Phil. 1:6). I doubt that any would disagree, but when it comes to accepting that I, myself, have yet to arrive, now that is another matter. James wrote about how easy it is to forget our own imperfections while, at the same time, we insist on correcting others (James 1:18-26). Although I have been saved for forty years, perhaps the greatest thing I have learned is that I am still learning. What I was dogmatic about yesterday, has sometimes been wrong. Having had to "eat my words" has humbled me, and yet, I am afraid I am still prone to believing I am the one with all the answers. What a fool! How does God tolerate my arrogance?

Every Christian would agree that God knows everything about us, but it appears that not every Christian is aware that he does not know everything about God (1 John 3:2). I will be the first to admit that I do not understand the Trinity. I believe it, but I don't understand it. I do not understand why God loves everyone enough to die for them, knowing full well that most will reject His offer of forgiveness. I do not understand why God loves me; I have accepted Christ and yet I am so far from being Christ-like that I don't even love me! I cannot wait for the day when I actually am Christ-like and really know God even as I am known by Him!

Another doctrine that I do not understand is that Jesus was fully human, and yet, He was also fully Divine. It appears from Philippians 2:5-8 that Jesus "changed forms." He had been in the form of God, but He chose to take on the form of man. The text suggests that He was equal with God, but He "took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men" (v. 2:7). I am fully aware of the doctrine of the hypostatic union, but I certainly don't understand it. How can the Eternal die? Why did He not know the answer to His disciple's question (Mark 13:32)? Why did He pray? Why did He say to His Father, "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" I can certainly guess, but I really don't know these answers.

There is a lot more about my Lord that I don't understand, than there is that I do know about Him. I do believe that Jesus was, is, and always will be God, and I also believe that as long as I am studying to show myself approved of God, He is pleased with me. At this stage in my understanding of God, I believe that when the sky turned dark, the earth quaked, and the veil was torn from top to bottom, my Lord and Savior was separated from the Father because of my sin. And being separated, He cried out trying to understand why, for the first and only time, He felt He was alone. It was at that point that I believe He said, "I thirst." My question to you is, Was He thirsting for water, or was He thirsting for righteousness? As long as He had my sin on Him, He was unrighteous. Jesus had taught that those lacking righteousness are blessed when they thirst for it (Matthew 5:6). I don't know when it was that He was "decontaminated" of my sin, but I believe the Resurrection proves He once again was the righteous, holy, perfect Son of Almighty God.

You will notice I used the phrase "I believe" many times in writing this. In the context where it is found above, it means "I think something is true, but I am not one hundred percent sure I am right." However, when I say, "I believe in Jesus Christ as my Creator, Savior, and Lord," I am one hundred percent sure that I am a child of God! John wrote, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (v. 3:16). In that sense, "I believe" means I have totally trusted in Jesus Christ. Thank you God for the faith to believe (Eph. 2:8-9)!

Monday, August 29, 2011


My pastor made an astounding statement the other day that made me think that after forty years as a Christian, years of Bible College and Seminary, and loving the Word of God more than eating (and that is saying something), I have barely scratched the surface of God's revelation to man! It was so profound, and yet so simple. He quoted John 3:16, which says, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." You may be thinking, what's so amazing about that; it's the most quoted verse from the Bible? Let me tell you.

Because I use the King James Version of the Bible, the meaning of some of the words gets lost in the Shakespearean English. Obviously I should be an "expert" at interpreting the KJV by now, but apparently I am not. Brian pointed out that the word "believeth" is in the present tense. That's when it dawned on me, when a Christian begins to doubt his or her salvation, all a counselor need do is ask him or her one question: "Do you believe in Jesus?" Not "Did you ever believe in Jesus, but do you believe in Him right now?" You see, it really doesn't matter when you began believing in Him, what you did in response to the first time you believed, or what you have done since. The only question that matters is, "Do you believe in Him at this very moment?"

I looked up the word in the Greek Lexicon and this is what I found. The Greek word is πιστεύω (pisteuō), and it is a verb participle, present active nominative case, and it is a masculine singular word. The definition is "to be persuaded of the conviction and trust to which a man is impelled by a certain inner and higher prerogative and law of soul." In other words, to be convinced beyond a doubt that something is true, that is, have total faith in the reality of something.

We are told in Hebrews 11:1 that "faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." The writer is saying that our faith is evidence, that faith is proof. It is as much proof as fingerprints at the scene of a crime, or being able to witness something with our own eyes. True faith is that real.

How do Christians acquire such a powerful, "willing to give one's life for it" faith? Obviously it does not come from reasoning as the Greeks believed, or by miraculous signs required by the Jews (1 Cor. 1:22). Jesus provide signs and the Jews crucified Him. Paul reasoned with the Gentiles and they stoned him. No, this kind of faith is obtained supernaturally. In fact, it is a gift from God Himself! In Ephesians 2:8-9, Paul wrote: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast." He is clearly teaching that saving faith is not something our minds can produce. No, "it is the gift of God."

So, if you wonder whether or not you are saved, ask yourself, "Do I believe (trust, rely upon) Jesus?" If not, ask Him to give you the faith needed to surrender your life to His Lordship. Don't put it off, for time is short.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


Most folks are too young to remember the 60's with the separate drinking fountains, separate restrooms, separate restaurants, separate hotels, separate.... I remember a mob surrounding a house because a Black family moved in. That is not really so hard to believe, except it was in Detroit, not Alabama. I remember our Navy football team being told one of our players could not eat where our bus had stopped in Maryland. I remember a Virginia lunch counter being fully occupied by Black folks, and seeing no food or drink. I remember a Black Air Force General being refused service even though he was a guest of the Mayor of Pensacola, Florida. But of all the things I remember about the hateful treatment of Blacks, the most horrible was the day Martin Luther King, Jr. died. I wept. You see, I heard Dr. King give his famous "I Have a Dream" speech, and for a while, I actually believed it could come true. Unfortunately, his dream died with him.

Today, we have a Black President. Today, there is a holiday dedicated to the memory of Dr. King. Today, there are roads and highways named for him throughout the land. If I were naive, I would probably believe that the dream was becoming a reality, but I am not, and it is not. Today, we have Black Miss America, Black Radio and TV stations, Black magazines and newspapers, and the worst of all, there are Black churches. As long as there is a focus upon color, the dream will never be possible. Black Pride is fine because there should be pride in one's heritage, but it ceases to be okay when it is a rallying cry for division. Yes, we have come a long way, but I am afraid we have left the trail blazed by Dr. King, and have simply remained a nation of racists, both Black and White.

The Apostle Paul had the right idea. In Galatians 3:28, he wrote, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female; for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." He said that then, and I say this now, that there is neither Black nor White (or any other color), and that to feel superior to someone based upon such differences is un-Christian, and un-American. It is sin. Jesus prayed four times in John Seventeen that Christians would be one. In Acts 17:26, Luke wrote that God had "made of one blood all nations to dwell on all the face of the earth...." We do not belong to a race; we are all members of the human race, period!

I am afraid that although we have a Black President and a holiday celebrating the life of one of the greatest Americans in our history, the dream will never come to fruition. Few Blacks and even fewer Whites, appear to be making an effort to judge a person by only their character. Instead, it is their race, gender, nationality, social-economic status, educational level, religion, and political views that are used to determine whether or not they are "equal to us." The content of one's character does not even come into play until it is decided the person is just like us; only then is character an issue. It is obvious that the dream will remain just that, a dream, until the Lord returns and changes humanity into His own likeness. Until then, it is just not going to happen. Instead of King's dream, America remains in, what may better be described as a nightmare. Come Lord Jesus!

Saturday, August 27, 2011


The word "sword" appears hundreds of times in the Old Testament, but as one might expect, it appears only thirty-three times in the New Testament. After all, the Old Testament is filled with the history of Israel's conquests, and the horror stories of its being conquered. But in the New Testament, which focuses on the Prince of Peace, even thirty-three seems like a lot. Of course, Rome ruled over the Jews during the life of Christ, so one who is unfamiliar with the Word of God might assume those instances referred to Roman swords. And they would be correct in a third of the occurrences (Matt. 26:47, 55; Mk. 14:43, 48; Lk. 21:24; 22:52; Acts 12:2; 16:27; Rom. 13:4; Rev. 6:4, 8). But what about the others?

Well, two of them reference Old Testament saints (Heb. 11:34, 37). And, believe it or not, eight of them refer to the incident in which Peter cut off the ear of Malchus, the high priest's servant (Matt. 26:51-52; Mk. 14:47; Lk. 22:36, 38, 49; Jn. 18:10-11). One verse is a metaphoric prophecy of Mary's future agony of watching her Son die (Lk.2:35). Another refers to the fact that believers cannot be separated from God by the sword (Rom. 8:35), and still another is a general statement by Jesus saying that those who live by the sword will die by the sword (Rev. 13:10). Then there is the verse that describes the mortal wounding of the antichrist by the sword (Rev. 13:14). That leaves eight.

Believe it or not, six of the eight have to do with the Prince of Peace Himself, but all eight have to do with the Word of God. In Matthew 10:34, Jesus says, "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword." Jesus went on to describe how His followers would be viewed as enemies by their own families for preaching the Word (v. 35-36). We are told that the Word of God is "sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Heb. 4:12). It is this sword, the Word of God, that believers are to use in our battle against Satan (Eph. 6:17). Paul wrote that "the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds" (2 Cor. 10:4).

Finally, in Revelation, John described his vision of Jesus as appearing to have a two-edged sword coming out of His mouth (v. 1:16; 2:12, 16; 19:15, 21). At His Second Coming, Christ will defeat the antichrist and his armies with the same voice by which He created the Universe (Gen. 1:3-26; Jn. 1:1-3; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:1-2; Rev. 19:15). That makes me wonder. Because Jesus is described as the Word in the first chapter of the Gospel of John, does that make Him the Sword of the Lord? If so, what does that say about the six times the phrase appears in the Old Testament (Jud. 1:18, 20; 1 Chron. 21:12; Isa. 34:6; Jer. 12:12; 47:6)?

Perhaps that is a study for another time. In the mean time, arm yourselves; we are at war!

Friday, August 26, 2011


Today, I would like to discuss Paul's interpretation of the Gospel as it is presented in the Book of Acts. When one considers the volumes upon volumes that have been written concerning the Gospel of Jesus Christ over the past nineteen centuries, it is absolutely astounding that the word only appears six times in Acts. The first time is in Acts 8:25. In verses 4-13, Philip was led of the Lord to proclaim the good news to those living in Samaria. When the Apostles in Jerusalem heard that the Samaritans had accepted Jesus, they sent Peter and John to confirm it (v. 14-25). Luke wrote that they then "returned to Jerusalem, and preached the Gospel in many villages of the Samaritans" (v.25). Even though this is the first time the Gospel is mentioned, every single person saved to that point, and since, has heard and accepted the Gospel of Christ's death, burial, and Resurrection (Rom. 1:16; 10:17; 1 Cor. 15:3-4).

In chapter nine, Saul of Tarsus was saved by trusting in Christ. In verse 9:6, we are told that Paul's first words, when he understood that it was Jesus speaking to him, were "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" After having his eyesight returned, Luke says, "And straightway (Paul) preached Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God" (v. 9:20). Although it is obvious that Paul preached the Gospel from that point on in his life, the word, "Gospel," is not mentioned again until Acts 14:21.

In Acts 15, Luke wrote something that amazes me. In verses 1-5, men from Judaea had been insisting that in order for a Gentile to become a Christian, he needed to be circumcised; in other words, become a Jew. I find it incredible that the Apostles had to come "together for to consider of this matter" (v. 6). It seems clear to me that even the Apostles had not yet grasped the fact that the Gospel is salvation by faith and not works. In verse 15:12, Paul explained to them the Gospel! Later, in his second epistle, Peter wrote, "And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood...." (3:15-16).

The last two references to the Gospel in Acts are found in verse 16:10, and 20:24. In the first, Paul was led to go to Macedonia to preach the Gospel unto them." In the latter, it seems fitting to conclude our study with the following quote:

"Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. And now, behold, I go bound in the Spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the Gospel of the grace of God" (Acts 20:21-24).

Thursday, August 25, 2011


So far, we have looked at the writings of the Apostle Paul to the churches of Rome, Corinth, Galatia, Ephesus, Philippi, Colosse, and Thessalonica. Today, we begin our study of the Apostle's letters to individuals in what are called his Pastoral Epistles; that is, letters to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon. However, it is not certain that Philemon was a pastor. Timothy was the bishop of the Church at Ephesus in Asia Minor. According to tradition, Paul ordained Titus bishop of Gortyn in Crete. Philemon, apparently a wealthy Christian having a large home, was believed to be the host to the Church at Colosse (Col. 4:17).

Paul's only mention of the Gospel in his first letter to Timothy was written to state his authority in addressing trouble-makers in the Church (1:3-10). He wrote, "According to the glorious Gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust" (v. 11). Paul's second letter to Timothy addresses much of the same as did his first epistle, but it is aimed more at strengthening Timothy who was facing opposition, and was apparently becoming discouraged. Paul wrote:

"Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the Gospel according to the power of God; who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, but is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel: whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles" (2 Tim.1:6-11).

Paul's foundation for his own calling and that of Timothy is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is worthy of the suffering Timothy was experiencing, and it was to be his basis for boldness in facing opposition. Chapter two is more of the same, with Paul reminding Timothy of the foundation of his faith: "Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my Gospel" (2 Tim. 2:8).

The Apostle Paul does not mention the Gospel in his letter to Titus. He only mentions it once in Philemon, and it is in regard to his imprisonment for preaching the Gospel (v. 13). When you stop and think about it, we should not be surprised that Paul had little need to mention the Gospel in these letters. After all, he was writing to Pastors and a leader in established churches. Their need had more to do with encouragement.

Tomorrow, Lord willing, we will look at Paul's ministry of the Gospel in the Book of Acts.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Yesterday, I wrote that I believed the Gospel had already been spread to the whole world by the time Paul wrote the Book of Colossians. Let me begin today by explaining my reasoning. First, the Apostles had absolutely no clue as to when Jesus would return except one: "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come" (Matt. 24:14). Ironically, this verse is speaking of a yet future event: the Tribulation. Does that mean the Gospel was not already preached everywhere when Paul wrote Colossians? Possibly, but it seems strange that more than one Apostle believed it already had been accomplished, because they spoke of Christ's return as being imminent. Paul clearly implied that in Romans 13:11, and when he used the pronoun "we" in referring to the Rapture in 1 Corinthians 15::51. James taught the Lord's return was near (Jam. 5:8), and Peter did as well in 1 Peter 4:7. They must have believed the Gospel had been preached everywhere because they were looking for His return in the first century!

The persecution of the Church may have appeared to them to actually be the Tribulation. In Acts 8:1, Luke wrote, " that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles." In His Olivet Discourse, Jesus had warned those in Judea to flee when they saw the persecution taking place in the Tribulation (Matt. 24:16). I am sure they believed Christ was returning very soon. They may even have believed that Saul of Tarsus was the antichrist.

Getting back to our study of Paul and the Gospel, we will now look at the Book of 1 Thessalonians. Paul had gone from calling the Gospel "my Gospel" (Rom. 2:16), to calling it "our Gospel" (1:5; 3:2). He was obviously referring to himself, Silvanus, and Timotheus (1:1). Apparently, Paul had faced a great deal of resistance at Philippi, and the Thessalonians gave him a hard time as well (2:1-2). Luke made reference to it in Acts 17:11. But, because he had been sent by God to preach the Gospel, he did so freely, and did not "sugarcoat it" (2:3-9).

In his second epistle to them, Paul makes an astounding statement. In discussing their being persecuted and suffering tribulation, he tells them that God will deal with those who do them harm: "In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:,,," (1:8).

For those who claim that all they have to do to be saved is believe, Paul made it absolutely clear that salvation is evidenced by obedience! Yes, we are saved by grace through faith, but we are saved to become God's "project" (Eph. 2:8-10). Philippians 2:13 says, "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure. Amen!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Paul's letter to the Church at Colosse mentions the Gospel just two times, both in the first chapter (v. 5, 23). And as is true of most of the Word of God, verses are best understood in the context in which they were written. The only exception I know of where that is not true is with lists, such as in genealogies and the Book of Proverbs.

Much has been written about the similarity between Paul's letters to the Ephesians and to the Colossians, but I get the sense that his epistle to the Ephesians focuses more on them taking the Gospel to others (6:15, 19), but in his letter to the Colossians, Paul spoke of the Gospel having been established, not only in Colosse, but in all of the world:

"We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints, for the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the Gospel, which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth" (Colossians 13-6).

By the time Paul wrote the Book of Colossians, nearly thirty years had passed since the Church was born (Acts 2). Due to the persecution of the Church, all but the Apostles had scattered, taking with them the Gospel message (Acts 8:1; 11:1). We read of one critic's view of the Church in Acts 17:6: "These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also." After all, if Rome was the center of civilization at that time, and the Gospel had already been preached there, it is very likely that travelers from Rome took the good news to the far reaches of the world.

Paul repeated this declaration in Colossians 1:23, where he wrote: "If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the Gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister."

According to the teaching of Jesus, the Gospel was to be preached to the whole world and then the end would come (Matt. 24:14). If Paul taught that the next thing on God's timetable was the Rapture, he had to believe the Gospel had been preached worldwide. In his epistle to the Romans, Paul wrote, "First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world" (1:8).

I am well aware of the fact that at the time of Paul's writings, nothing was known of populations in what are now called North and South America, but even taking that into consideration, both continents have received the Gospel centuries ago. In fact, according to, there is not a single nation on earth that does not have Christians within its borders. Also, the percentage of Christian population of each country, taken from the US State Department's International Religious Freedom Report, the CIA World Factbook, Joshua Project, Open doors, Pew Forum and, confirms these estimates.

Are you ready?

Monday, August 22, 2011


Our journey through the Pauline epistles, in an effort to understand the Gospel as it was presented by the Apostle, has brought us to his letter to the Philippians. As I glanced over the verses containing the word "Gospel," my first impression is that Paul was not alone; he had co-laborers, supporters, and even some opposition in the Church at Philippi. Just as in the case of missionaries today, Paul needed help. This church, more than any other, was faithful in doing their part to help make Paul's ministry possible.

Paul does not always mention how they helped him. He mentioned their "fellowship in the Gospel" (1:5), that they were "partakers of (his) grace" (1:7), and that there were "women (who) laboured with (him) in the Gospel" (4:3). And while there were obviously many individuals who had helped Paul in spreading the Gospel, he mentioned only a few of his co-laborers by name: Timothy (2:19), Epaphroditus (2:25), and Clement (4:3).

However, Paul did mention their financial support, which they had apparently sent throughout his ministry. He wrote:
"But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity....Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction. Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity....I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God" (4:10-19).

But while Paul had co-laborers and support from the majority of the members of the Philippian Church, there were those who resented him and his authority. His reaction to them is a clear indication that God had been transforming Paul into the image of Christ (1:6). He wrote:
"And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: the one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: but the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice" (1:14-18).

Though Paul does not mention the "Body of Christ," it is clear that without the rest of His Church, Paul would not have been able to take the Gospel to the far reaches of the Roman Empire. To be continued.

Sunday, August 21, 2011


Unlike the Church at Galatia, where false teachers had convinced the leadership that Gentiles needed to become Jews (be circumcised) in order to be saved (Gal. 2, 5, 6), in Paul's letter to the Church at Ephesus, he was dealing with their rejection of the Gentiles even becoming members of the Body of Christ. He wrote:

"Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; that the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the Gospel: whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power" (Eph. 3:5-7).

Paul had said something similar in his letter to the Galatians:

"But contrariwise, when they saw that the Gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the Gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter; for he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles: and when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision" (Gal. 2:7-9).

Later in his letter to the Church at Ephesus, Paul made mention of the "Gospel of peace" being part of "the whole armour of God" (6:11). He added, "And your feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace" (6:15). Isn't it strange that when a born again believer is being attacked by God's enemies, he is to be prepared to advance with a message of peace, that is, an offer of peace from God Himself? While Satan's forces seek "to steal, and to kill, and to destroy" (Jn. 10:10), God's children are to be ready to proclaim the Gospel of peace! Peter said it this way: "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear" (1 Pet. 3:15).

Paul's final mention of the Gospel in Ephesians is his request for them to pray that God would give him boldness "to make known the mystery of the Gospel" (6:19). I explained why the Gospel is called a mystery in Part Three, so I would refer you to that post. The fact that Paul was asking for prayer indicates two things: first, Paul was also under attack by Satanic forces, and in addition, Paul needed God to "open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ" (Col. 4:3). If the man who wrote half of the New Testament, the man who had the power to work miracles, the man who had been victorious in facing every sort of opposition needed prayer, it is certain that you and I need it. Pray for one another!

It is my desire to continue this study tomorrow, if it be the will of our Lord. God bless you.

Saturday, August 20, 2011


As I pointed out in Part One, the word "Gospel" is preceded by the definite article four times in Romans (1:15; 10:16; 11:28; 15:29). That means there is only one Gospel; there is only one message that reveals the one way man can be saved from the penalty of his sin: Jesus. In John 8:24, Jesus said, " shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins." Later in John's Gospel, Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me" (14:6).

Unfortunately, like most everything else that the Lord does, Satan tries to counterfeit it and thereby deceive mankind. The Apostle Paul had received word that the Churches of Galatia had been deceived by false teachers proclaiming a different gospel, a gospel that could not be considered good news at all. Those men preached the necessity of works in order to be saved, and to stay saved. In response, Paul began his epistle with a powerful statement:

"I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the Gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. But I certify you, brethren, that the Gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ" (Gal. 1:6-12).

And while the word "Gospel" does not appear again in his letter, nearly the entire epistle was written to respond to the false teachers. He first defended his apostleship (1:10 -2:21). Next, Paul presented contrasted the false gospel against the true Gospel (3:1 - 5:1). And finally, he explained the results of trusting in the Gospel as it is manifested in the lives of born again believers (5:2 - 6:18).

While I believe the letter was written exactly as the Lord wanted, if I were able to rearrange it, I would begin with Galatians 3:1-3. These verses say it all:

"O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?"

We will continue tomorrow, Lord willing, beginning with Paul's epistle to the Church at Ephesus.

Friday, August 19, 2011


Today, we will start with Paul's second letter to the Corinthian Church. We learn from Paul that there are opportunities to preach the Gospel (2:12), and sometimes, there are not (Acts 16:7; Rom. 15:22; 1 Thes. 2:18). From these references, we understand that "closed doors" may be the work of the Holy Spirit, or it may be that of Satan. Either way, God is in control.

Just as the Gospel was a mystery kept secret until the time of Christ (Rom. 16:25; Eph. 6:19), it is still hidden to them that are lost (2 Cor. 4:3). And again, just as both sides in the battle for souls "struggle with doors," some blindness is due to the work of Satan, and some the will of God. In Romans 11:25, it is God's will; "For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in." That was done so the Gentiles would have the opportunity to accept the Lord Jesus (Rom. 11:25; 16:26). Satan, on the other hand, would that every soul be blinded and eternally lost (2 Cor. 4:4; Eph. 4:18).

In 2 Corinthians 9:1-15, Paul was encouraging the Church to prepare for a visit by having an offering ready for those in need in other places. He indicated that giving to the poor is evidence that they had accepted the Gospel. He wrote that they may "glorify God for your professed subjection unto the Gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men" (v. 13). In other words, the Gospel not only has the power to save (Rom. 1:16), but it has the power to produce compassion for those in need.

In this, his second epistle to the Church, he was obviously disturbed that some had challenged his authority over them. In a stern rebuke, he warned them that those who opposed him would face his wrath if they did not repent prior to his return (10:1-14). I believe this clearly teaches that when one receives Christ via the Gospel, they are to submit to those in authority in the Church (Matt. 28:19-20; Heb. 13:17). Paul told them that, just as he had traveled all the way to Greece to preach the Gospel to them, he intended to go beyond them preaching the Good News about Jesus Christ (v. 16; Rom. 1:10-15).

Apparently, there were those in Corinth who accused Paul of using the Gospel to get rich. He reminded them that he had preached the Gospel to them without taking financial support from them (11:7). They obviously knew that Paul had humbly accepted support from other churches so that he was able to come to them in the past (11:7-9). It seems that those who were accusing Paul were denying his Gospel, and in its place, offering them a false Gospel (11:1-4). Paul was experiencing the life of the sower in the Lord's parable; Satan was following him around removing the seed he had sown (Matt. 13:19).

We will look at Paul's response to those who preached "another Gospel" tomorrow, when we look at his epistle to the Galatians. That is if the Lord is willing.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Yesterday, I ended by asking the question: "What is the Gospel the Lord's disciples are suppose to proclaim?" In Romans, the Gospel is mentioned thirteen times, and those verses tell us only that there is the Gospel; the Father, His Son, and the apostle himself, all were in agreement as to what it is. But Romans does not define it. We do, however, have the Greek word which is translated "Gospel." It is εὐαγγέλιον (euaggelion), which simply means "good tidings" or "good news." Ironically, the first time the word is quoted chronologically in the New Testament, it is translated "glad tidings," when it was spoken by the angel to Zacharias in Luke 1:19.

It is in Paul's first letter to the Corinthian Church that we have Paul's definition of the Gospel. Paul stated that he was sent by Christ to preach the Gospel (1:17), and because he was faithful in doing so, many souls were saved (4:15). Remember, in Romans 1:16, we learned that it is only the Gospel that has the power to save. We learn that the preaching of the Gospel can be hindered (9:12). Paul states that those who proclaim the Gospel should also benefit by the support of those who have received it (9:14), but we know he chose not to accept financial support for himself so no one could accuse him of seeking personal gain (9:18; Acts 18:1-3; 20:34; 1 Cor. 4:12; 9:6; 2 Cor. 11:9; 1 Thes. 2:9; 2 Thes. 3:8-9). He described his calling to proclaim the Gospel as a stewardship (dispensation) from God (9:17).

Finally, after thirty chapters in Romans and 1 Corinthians, Paul defines the Gospel. He writes:

"Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures" (1 Cor. 15:1-4).

Paul went on to say that the Lord's Resurrection was witnessed by many (1 Cor. 15:5-9). He finished the chapter by explaining the importance of Christ being raised; it is a guarantee that those who place their trust in Him will also take part in the Resurrection (15:10-58). For all of us who have accepted Christ as our Lord and Savior, that is good news!

From this point on, because of the fact that many references repeat what we have already covered, I will only address those passages which shed addition light revealed in Paul's letters concerning the Gospel.

We will continue tomorrow, Lord willing.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


In the Lord's final instructions to His disciples, known as the Great Commission, He told His disciples "...Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature" (Mk. 16:15). Matthew quotes Jesus as saying, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world" (Matt. 28:19-20). To the skeptic, these two commands appear to be different, for in the first, Jesus tells them to "preach the Gospel," while in the second, He does not mention "preaching," or "the Gospel," but speaks of "teaching," "baptizing," and again, "teaching." Why the difference?

There is a very simple explanation. In Matthew 28:19-20, the first word translated "teach" is μαθητεύω (mathēteuō), which means "to make a disciple." His second reference to "teaching" is διδάσκω (didaskō), which means "to impart instruction." We will see from Paul's epistles, it is the preaching of the Gospel that results in folks becoming Christ's disciples. So basically, Matthew and Mark are saying the same thing: "go proclaim the Gospel and make disciples."

Why then does Matthew emphasize the two additional commands to baptize and teach? Again, the answer is simple. Matthew is the only Gospel to mention the Church (16:18; 18:17). He obviously wanted his readers to know that getting souls saved was just the beginning of the Lord's commission. Once a person accepts the Gospel and becomes a disciple, that person needs to identify with the Body of Christ in baptism, and then needs to be instructed on how to go about living the Christian life. This is explained quite well in Ephesians 4:11-16. One might say that Mark focuses upon "planting," and Matthew's focus is on "pruning."

So what is this Gospel the Lord's disciples are commanded to preach? The answer is found in the writings of the Apostle Paul. We begin with his epistle to the Romans:

1:1 "Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the Gospel of God."
1:9 "For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the Gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers."
1:15 "So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the Gospel to you that are at Rome also."
1:16 "For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek."
2:16 "In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my Gospel."
10:15 "And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the Gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!"
10:16 "But they have not all obeyed the Gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?"
11:28 "As concerning the Gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes."
15:16 "That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the Gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost."
15:19 "Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the Gospel of Christ.
15:20 "Yea, so have I strived to preach the Gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man's foundation."
15:29 "And I am sure that, when I come unto you, I shall come in the fulness of the blessing of the Gospel of Christ.
16:25 "Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my Gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Because of a lack of faith in God's Word, the "first Adam" sinned, and as a result, a sentence of death was passed unto all men. Ironically, by placing one's faith in the Word who is God, that is, the "last Adam," man is promised to one day be like God (1 Jn. 3:2). The Apostle Paul wrote: "And so it is written, The first man, Adam, was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit" (1 Cor. 15:45). Another interesting irony is that just as you and I needed to do nothing to be born spiritually dead, we can do nothing to be born again. Paul stated it well:

"For until the law, sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of Him that was to come. But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by One man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by One, Jesus Christ. Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of One, the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of One shall many be made righteous. Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord" (Rom. 5:13-21).

Religion can be defined as believing one can somehow gain God's favor by following a list of rules. Christianity, by that definition, is therefore not a religion. The Gospel, the "good news," insists that all that is necessary for man to be saved from eternal damnation has already been done for him. Jesus died for our sins according to the Scriptures; Jesus was buried according to the Scriptures; Jesus was raised to live again according to the Scriptures (1 Cor. 15:3-4). God gives man the faith necessary to believe God has provided all that is necessary to have eternal life; "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God" (Eph. 2:8). Believe it or not! Better yet, believe Him or not!

Monday, August 15, 2011


Ever since the birth of the Church on the Day of Pentecost following Christ's Ascension, Christians have struggled with the Scriptures trying to reconcile the apparent contradiction between the Lord's prophecy of being in the grave for three days and three nights, and the Friday Crucifixion of Church tradition. I am sorry there is a need to say this, but whenever tradition is in conflict with the Scripture, tradition is always wrong!

The entire basis for the tradition of a Friday Crucifixion is from misinterpreting the texts referring to the reason the religious leaders wanted Pilate to order the breaking of the legs of those being crucified; they wanted them dead and buried before the Sabbath began. Because everyone knows the Sabbath was to begin at sunset, they needed a hasty death. The Sabbath to which they referred is mentioned in three of the four Gospels (Mk. 15:42; Lk. 23:54; Jn. 19:42). Unfortunately, very little attention is paid to John's comment about that particular Sabbath. In John 19:31, he writes, "The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the Sabbath day, (for that Sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away." The special Sabbath about which John was speaking, was the Sabbath of the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread:

"Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the Sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings. These are the Feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons. In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD'S Passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread. In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein" (Lev. 23:3-7).
Based upon Matthew 12:40, which states Jesus would be in the grave three days and three nights, I would offer the following as an alternative explanation:

(Matt. 21:1-11; Mk. 11:1-11; Lk. 19:29-44; Jn. 12:12-19).
The Lamb selected in the daylight hours between sunset Sat. and sunset Sun. (10th of Nisan - Ex. 12:3-5).

(Jn. 19:31; 1 Cor. 5:7).
The Lamb killed and prepared in the afternoon between sunset Tues. and sunset Wed. (14th of Nisan - Ex. 12:6).

(Jn. 6:35; Heb. 4:15).
The Lamb eaten between sunset Wed. and sunset Thur. (15th of Nisan - Ex. 12:7-11).

(Lk. 23:43; 1 Pet. 3:19).
The Lamb preached in paradise between Thur. and sunset Fri. (16th of Nisan)

(Lk. 23:56)
The Lamb rested in paradise between sunset Fri. and sunset Sat. (17th of Nisan - Ex. 20:8-11).

(1 Cor. 15:23; Eph. 4:8-10).
The Lamb led "captivity captive" between sunset Sat. and sunset Sun. (Lev. 23:9-14).

Sunday, August 14, 2011


As I mentioned in Part Two, there are three main reasons a majority of students of God's Word believe the "great whore" of Revelation 17:1 is Rome. Some believe she represents Rome because it is known as "the city that sits on seven hills" (Rev. 17:9). Others believe she is a symbol for the Vatican, a country, within the city of Rome. A more logical reason to believe John is speaking of Rome is because he has been exiled to the Island of Patmos by Rome (Rev. 1:9). As a prisoner of Rome, he was wise not to name Rome as being the evil city of his vision.

But what if the woman represents a city that resembles ancient Babylon? In the Book of Daniel, Babylon's king, Nebuchadnezzar is told "Thou art this head of gold" (Dan. 2:38). In the Bible, gold always represents deity or authority. Today, our world recognizes the gold standard as the basis for determining wealth. In Revelation 18:2, Babylon is taken over by demonic forces, and is said to have fallen. The result of her fall leaves those who were made rich "through the abundance of her delicacies" (v. 18:3), in economic ruin (v. 18:11-19).

So, what city do you suppose "Babylon" would represent in such a case? The answer may surprise you. Caput Mundi is a Latin phrase taken to mean "capital of the world". (literally: "head of the world"). It originates out of a classical European understanding of the known world: Southern Europe, North Africa, and Southwest Asia. Because of the enduring power of the Roman Republic, the Roman Empire, and the Roman Catholic Church, the city of Rome has been known for centuries as Caput Mundi.

However, there has been a relocation of the seat of financial power. New York City is sometimes described by the Latin phrase "Novum Caput Mundi" or the "New Capital of the World." As the home of the United Nations Headquarters, it is the center for international affairs. Numerous national and international private corporations have headquarters in New York City. New York City's financial district, anchored by Wall Street in Lower Manhattan, is claimed to function as the financial capital of the world, and is home to the New York Stock Exchange, the world's largest stock exchange by total market capitalization of its listed companies. Is it possible that New York is the "Babylon" to which John's vision refers? And, what nation has committed more political "fornication" with the kings of the world than ours? With a fifteen trillion dollar debt hanging over our head, and with our economy in shambles, it is more than possible, it is likely that we are "Babylon."

Why all the mystery? If the true identity of the antichrist, the false prophet, the mark of the beast, and the "great whore" were known, both Satan and mankind would do everything they could to thwart God's plan. Just as God allowed blindness in part for Israel, and just as Jesus taught in parables, God wants some things kept secret. One day, nothing will be secret, and Jesus Christ will be recognized by all as God Almighty (Isa. 9:6).

Saturday, August 13, 2011


There has been much speculation that the scarlet colored Beast of Revelation 17:3 is Rome. There are three main reasons for such a theory. For one, the city of Rome is said to be "the city on seven hills," and in Revelation 17:9, we read that the beast upon which the woman is riding, is seven mountains. The Seven Hills of Rome are: Aventine Hill, Caelian Hill, Capitoline Hill, Esquiline Hill, Palatine Hill, Quirinal Hill, and Viminal Hill. When one considers that the seven heads of the dragon represent seven kingdoms (Rev. 12:3; 13:1;17:7, 10), and that the antichrist is believed to be ruling over them in what has been called the Revived Roman Empire (Dan. 2:33, 40-43; 9:26), it is logical to believe it is Rome.

Unfortunately, the second reason many evangelical Christians believe the city is Rome is based upon religious prejudice toward Roman Catholicism. I cannot tell you how many Bible teachers believe the Pope is the antichrist. Hatred for the Catholic Church is understandable in that it subjugated Christians for centuries, and its doctrines are contrary to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which teaches that we are saved by grace and not by works; salvation is a free gift (Eph. 2:8-9). From The Eucharist in Catholic Life, it is clear that the Catholic Church's doctrine of salvation is not by grace alone, but also requires the works of man:

“THE SEVEN SACRAMENTS ARE THE NECESSARY MEANS ESTABLISHED BY CHRIST THROUGH WHICH HIS REDEEMING, LIFE-GIVING, SANCTIFYING GRACE IS IMPARTED TO INDIVIDUALS’ SOULS. You must centre your life upon the sacraments established by Christ if you want to save your soul. The sacraments are the source of your real life, the divine life that will unite you with God in this world and in eternity. Let nothing make you think that you can get along without the sacraments. Without them your soul must die. ... IF YOU DON’T RECEIVE THE SACRAMENTS AT ALL, YOU DON’T RECEIVE GRACE. If you don’t receive them properly, that is, if you receive them seldom and with little devotion, you receive less grace” (pp. 14,15).

The Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Galatians:

"I marvel that ye are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed" (Gal. 1:6-9).

To be continued, Lord willing.

Friday, August 12, 2011


Just as the identities of the Beast, his mark, and the false prophet have resulted in much speculation, the same may be said for the identity of the "great whore that sitteth upon many waters" in Revelation 17:1 - 18:24. She is described as a woman without morals, who commits fornication with the kings of the earth (17:2-3), and is "arrayed in purple and scarlet colour and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication" (17:4). Even her name, written upon her forehead, shows her identity is meant to be hidden: "MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH" (17:5).

"Mystery" is translated from the Greek μυστήριον (mystērion), a derivative of muo, meaning "to shut the mouth." In other words, it is something that is hidden until it is revealed. The word appears in twenty-two New Testament verses, and describes, among other things, the secret nature of the kingdom, the blindness of Israel, the death of the Messiah, the Church, the Rapture, and Christ's Second Coming. Mystery, like prophecy, involves two factors: information and time. In the case of mystery in the Bible, God does not reveal information to some or all of mankind until He is good and ready. When that time comes, those intended to know what has been kept secret, will know. Ultimately, everyone will know, but for the majority of humanity, it will be too late.

Getting back to the "great whore," Revelation 17:1 says she is seated "upon many waters." These waters are defined for us in verse fifteen as being "peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues." Whoever she is, she is being supported, at least at first, by the whole world's population. We know this by comparing a similar phrase used to describe the worldwide reaction to the death of the two witnesses (Rev. 11:7-10). It could be that she is even accepted by Israel prior to their eyes being opened half way through the Tribulation; if so, there is no way she represents a worldwide religion. At some time during the Seventieth Week of Daniel (Dan. 9:24-27), however, she transfers from sitting on the population of the world, to riding on the Beast having "seven heads and ten horns" (17:3, 7).

It is at this point that John tells us much about the "scarlet coloured" Beast (17:3, 8-17). He apparently lives, dies, and then his dead body is made alive again by being possessed by a demon spirit who ascends out of the bottomless pit (17:8). As I have suggested before, it seems reasonable to believe he is dead for three and a half days before his body appears to live again. Another reason for believing he is dead for that length of time is the fact that God has "outdone" His opponents throughout history. The "miracle" done by Satan is doubled by the Lord raising the two witnesses in Revelation 11:11, just as the rod of Moses devoured the serpents of Pharaoh's men (Ex. 7:8-12). I mention that example because, some time later, the saints in heaven, which certainly includes the two witnesses, sing in victory "the song of Moses" (Rev. 15:3). To be continued.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


While the antichrist is empowered by Satan to rule politically (Dan. 9:27), and through military might (Rev. 13:7), the false prophet appears to serve as the leader of the worldwide religion (Rev. 13:12). And just as the Holy Spirit focuses man's worship on the Father and His Son (Jn. 15:26; 17:4), the false prophet, through religious law, forces man to worship Satan and "the son of perdition" (Rev. 13:12; 2 Thes. 2:3).

The false prophet is mentioned by name only three times in the Bible, and all are in the book of Revelation (16:13; 19:20; 20:10). But there are seven verses in the New Testament which mention false prophets, all of which indicate there will be many (Matt.7:15; 24:11, 24; Mk. 13:22; Lk. 6:26; 2 Pet. 2:1; 1 Jn. 4:1). False prophets, with Satan being the father of liars (Jn. 8:44), have attempted to deceive man from the very beginning of the Bible (Gen. 3:1). Here are just a few of them who have influenced religion in America today:

**Ellen G. White, spiritual founder of the Seventh Day Adventist Church
**Charles Taze Russell, founder of the Jehovah's Witnesses
**Joseph Smith, founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
**Herbert W. Armstrong, founder of the World Wide Church of God
**David Berg, leader of The Children of God
**Jean Dixon, America's most famous psychic
**Jim Jones, founder of Jonestown, or the Peoples Temple Agricultural Project
**Edgar E. Whisenant, author of "88 Reasons Why Jesus Will Return in 1988"
**Harold Camping, set the date for the Lord's return to be in the fall of 1994 and 2011
**Rick Warren, promoter of Chrislam, the joining of Christianity and Islam

Where these folks will spend eternity is certainly not up to me. And as long as they are still living, there is always hope that the Holy Spirit will work in their lives. But, should they continue to deceive Christians and turn them away from the truth, I suspect their end will be exactly like that of the false prophet. According to the Apostle John, he will spend eternity with Satan, with the antichrist (Rev. 20:10), and with all whose names are not written in the Lamb's book of life.

"And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works." "And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." "And there shall in no wise enter into it (the New Jerusalem) any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life" (Rev. 20:12, 15; 21:27).

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


There is quite a bit of irony in Revelation 13:10, in that the antichrist is given a mortal head wound with a sword (13:14), and yet he authorizes perhaps millions to be decapitated for refusing to worship him (13:15). Then, of course, when Christ returns, He is described as having a sword coming out from His mouth (19:15, 21). In Ephesians 6:17, the Apostle Paul defines the sword of the Lord: "And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Just as Jesus spoke and the worlds were formed (Jn. 1:1-3; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:1-2), He will, with the same voice, destroy His enemies.

The false prophet deceives by performing miracles and "great wonders" (13:13-14), just as the first Beast did before him (2 Thes. 2:9). He causes those deceived by him to create an idol in the image of the first Beast, and he has the power to "give life unto the Beast" (13:13-14). Mankind will then be forced to worship the image or be killed (13:15). Apparently, when a person bows to the image, they will then receive the infamous "mark of the Beast," and will be permitted to conduct business transactions (13:16-17). There have been innumerable guesses as to what the mark is, but the only thing we know for sure is that it is not the name of the Beast, nor is it the number of his name (13:17). Notice the person must have "the mark," OR "the name of the Beast," OR "the number of his name." The "mark" is identified in the following verse as being "the number of a man," and the man's number is 666 (13:18). In biblical numerology, man has the number six due to the fact he was created on the sixth day (Gen. 1:26-31).

I have a theory as to what the "mark" might be, but I emphasize it is only a theory. In the Hebrew alphabet, each letter also represents a number. For instance, aleph equals one, beth equals two, etc., and the number six in Hebrew is vav. So, 666 would be vav, vav, vav. Because the Hebrew alphabet does not have the letter "w," English speaking translators usually, but not always, write "w" for the letter vav instead of "v." An exception is the word "Jehovah" which in the Hebrew is yod, he, vav, he (pronounced yode, hay, vav, hay). These four letters are the name of God as given in Exodus 3:14, and are known as the "Tetragrammaton" (from Greek τετραγράμματον, meaning "a word having four letters").

Because the letter "w" has been so widely accepted as the English for vav, the number 666 has been thought by many to be the number version of "www," or the World Wide Web. In other words, it is a computer system capable of identifying every individual on the planet. Today, science has created "The 666 Microchip," which can be implanted under a man’s skin. This small microchip can be used:

…as a tracking device to locate people, just like a tracking device used in animals.
…as an identification id, to identify terrorists, and to track criminals.
…As a medium of transaction, can be used for financial transactions.

According to Jack Van Impe, the Bilderberg's, an elitist think-tank, plans to microchip every human on the planet by the year 2017. If they are able to succeed, that would mean the Second Coming of Christ for the Church could occur at any moment. Microchipping would be finished within six years! And since it doesn't really get used to control the world until after the middle of the Tribulation, that means the Tribulation could easily begin within two and one half years!

More on the false prophet tomorrow, Lord permitting.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Following the Apostle John's description of the antichrist, or the Beast, in Revelation 13:1-8, he concludes with the following statement: "If any man have an ear, let him hear" (13:9). Just as in Revelation chapters two and three (2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22), John is warning his readers to pay close attention. But there is a major difference; in chapters two and three, he includes the phrase "what the Spirit saith unto the churches." Here, in chapter thirteen, neither the Spirit nor the Church is mentioned. That is because the Church is called up to heaven in the Rapture (Rev. 4:1) prior to the Tribulation (Rev. 6 - 18), and does not return until the Second Coming of Christ (Rev. 19:14). There are at least three passages of Scripture that indicate the Church is with Christ upon His return; they are John 14:3, 2 Corinthians 5:8, and 1Thessalonians 4:17. Both the living believers and believers who have previously died, will be with Him.

After John's warning in verse nine, a new villain appears on the scene. He is also called a Beast, and like the first Beast, he resembles Jesus, in that he is described as a lamb (13:11). Unlike the first Beast who John observed coming up out of the sea (13:1), the second Beast rises from the earth (13:11). Many theologians see this as a reference to him coming out of the land, or more specifically, the Promise Land. They believe that he is therefore a Jew, possibly even the high priest of Israel. However, this "gentleman" does not appear during the first half of the Tribulation, but during the second half when the Jews have "run for their lives." It is unlikely that a Jew, having had his eyes opened to the identity of the antichrist, would become his "right-hand man." Then again, Judas was a Jew who "went over to the dark side."

The second Beast has the same power source as the first Beast (13:2, 12). It is his job to get mankind to worship the first Beast (13:12). This may be a good time to compare the counterfeit trinity with the true Trinity. In the Trinity, the Son's task is to point people to the Father; His prayer in John 17 is replete with references to His purpose. The Holy Spirit's task is to guide mankind toward faith in Jesus (Jn. 16:13-15).

In the Satanic trinity, the first Beast attempts to impersonate Jesus (hence the name antichrist). He is used of Satan to cause man to worship him as god (13:4). The second Beast is empowered by Satan to force mankind to worship the first Beast (13:12). Because the job of the second Beast is to work miracles in order to deceive men into worshiping the first Beast, he is also known as the false prophet (13:13-15; 16:12; 19:20). Verse thirteen describes his ability to cause fire to come down from heaven like Elijah did in 1 Kings 18:37-38. Because Elijah was to return to prepare for the Messiah (Mal. 3:23), these acts would appear as though the second Beast was the fulfillment of that prophecy.

More on the false prophet, his methods, and his end tomorrow, Lord willing.

Monday, August 8, 2011


Revelation 12:6 - 13:9 is a parabolic description of Israel during the second half of the Tribulation. Notice in Revelation 12:1-4, we have a summary of the events in heaven which will lead up to the rebellion of Satan. The woman with a crown of twelve stars in verse one (the twelve tribes of Israel), is Israel before she delivers Jesus, "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Rev. 13:8). Israel's history is described as her "travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered" (Rev. 12:2). Satan's description in verse three is exactly like that of the Beast, the antichrist, leading me to believe the Beast is nothing more than "a chip off the old blockhead" (Rev. 13:1; 17:3). The entire history of Israel is filled with Satan's attempts to prevent Jesus from redeeming fallen man, including King Herod's murderous scheme (Matt. 2:3-18), and Satan's trying to tempt Jesus in the wilderness (Matt. 4:3-11).

It is utterly amazing to me that the life of Jesus, from His birth to His Ascension, is summed up in one verse (Rev. 12:5)! Perhaps even more amazing is that the next verse is discussing the beginning of the second half of the Tribulation; the Church and the first half of the Tribulation are totally omitted (v. 6)! Revelation 12:7-17 is an explanation of Satan's history, from being cast out of heaven, to the time the Jews, whose eyes have been opened to Jesus as their Messiah at the middle of the seven year tribulation (comp. Lk. 24:45 w/ Rom. 11:25).

It is the middle of the Tribulation that the antichrist is given Satan's power (Rev. 13:2). Most theologians state that Satan will actually indwell the Beast at this point, some of them even suggesting that the antichrist will not actually come back to life, but that Satan will enter his dead body. I am not sure I want to go that far, but there is precedent for Satan indwelling another person called "the son of perdition" (Jn. 13:26-26; 17:12; 2 Thes. 2:3). Nevertheless, the Word is clear that the antichrist's "coming back to life" results in the worship of both the dragon and the Beast (Rev. 13:4).

The Beast will spend the next three and a half years trying to destroy Israel, but God will use His creation, both nature and humans, to protect His chosen people (Matt. 25:31-46; Rev. 12:6, 13-16). Notice that the judgment of the nations in Matthew 25:31-46 occurs after the Second Coming of Christ, and that judgment will be based upon how His people were treated, presumably during the Tribulation. But even with help, some of those who will trust in Jesus will be caught. When they refuse to accept the mark of the Beast, they will be executed for their faith (Rev. 13:7, 10; 14:3, 12).

Following the second half of the Tribulation, the Lord will return, capture the Beast and the false prophet, cast them alive into the lake of fire, and destroy the antichrist's kings with their armies (Rev. 19:11-21). I realize there are hundreds of points that could have been made in discussing the antichrist, but he is not really worth my time or my paper. Suffice it to say, of men, he is the ultimate loser!

Sunday, August 7, 2011


Yesterday, I suggested that the seminal event which will result in all Israel being saved (Rom. 11:26), will be the abomination of desolation, which marks the middle of the seven year Tribulation (Dan. 9:27; Matt. 24:15; etc.), also known as Daniel's Seventieth Week (Dan. 9:24-27), and the Time of Jacob's Trouble (Jer. 30:7). Today, I would like to explain what the abomination of desolation is, but the problem is, I can't. I can only share some thoughts as to what it might be, based upon the Bible passages concerning it, and from extra-biblical sources.

Only Matthew 24:15 and Mark 13:14 use the term "abomination of desolation." In Daniel 9:27, it is called "the overspreading of desolations," while Daniel 11:31 and 12:11 call it "the abomination that makes desolate." The only clue we get from the Daniel passages is that it is "set up" (V. 12:11). This leads me to think it is an idol of some sort. Matthew gives us nothing specific, but Mark 13:14 says, "But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not...." This also suggests an idol.

In contrast, the Apostle Paul wrote, "...who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God" (2 Thes. 2:4).

In Rabbinical literature, some rabbis say the expression refers to the desecration of the Temple by the erection of a statue of Zeus in the Holy of Holies by Antiochus Epiphanes. Other rabbis, however, see in it an allusion to Manasseh, who set up "a carved the house of God" (2 Chron. 33:7). The Book of 1 Maccabees, and Josephus, the Jewish historian, both use the term as it relates to the actions of Antiochus Epiphanes, who is said to have made a "sacrifice (of) swine's flesh upon the alter" (Josephus, vol. 1, pp. 10-11).

So, the abomination is either an idol, swine's flesh, or the man himself declaring himself to be God in the Holy of Holies. Here's a novel thought; what if the antichrist, who is said to have a serious head wound (Rev. 13:2-3), mortal in that the Word says he is here, gone, and back ruling again (Rev. 17:11), what if he is killed when he sits in the Temple declaring himself to be God (2 Thes. 2:4)? What if he is dead for three days and nights, and miraculously comes to life again? Would not his blood contaminate as much as the blood of swine? And since the world will begin worshiping him as God following his miraculous recovery, and the Jews will become hunted following his declaration (Rev. 13:1-9), could that be the abomination of desolation? That's as good a theory as any I have heard, but it is only a theory.

Saturday, August 6, 2011


Some theologians, especially Jewish theologians, would say that the seminal event which gave birth to the nation of Israel was God's covenant with Abraham. Others might say that it was God using Moses to lead His people out of Egyptian bondage. A few would point to May 14, 1948 when David Ben-Gurion declared Israel an independent nation. But very few, if any, would point to a future event as being the real birth of Israel. Their answer would certainly sound strange in that Israel's founding as a nation is mentioned in the very first book of the Bible (Gen. 12:1-3). Nevertheless, I believe there is evidence that such is the case. Let me explain.

Ever since the fall of Adam, this world, and all that is within it, is poisoned; some might even describe it as dead. Just like the character in the movie, The Sixth Sense, Jesus could have said, "I see dead people." In fact, He came close when he spoke with Nicodemus in John 3:1-21. Nicodemus was obviously alive physically, but he needed to be born again spiritually. Adam died spiritually the day he decided to disobey God (Gen. 2:17), and as a result, all mankind died with him (1 Cor. 15:22). Jesus told Nicodemus "that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (Jn. 3:16). Nicodemus appeared to be alive, but he needed to be born again; he needed everlasting life.

The same is true for all of creation; it needs to be restored to its original state (Rom. 8:22). The nation of Israel is no exception. It has existed physically from its founding, but it did not accept Jesus Christ, and therefore it is spiritually dead (Jn. 1:11). The passage goes on to say, "But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: which were born (again), not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (v. 12-13).

Daniel wrote, "Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy" (9:24). In the seventieth week, the Tribulation or the Time of Jacob's Trouble, the false Messiah will commit an abominable act that will open the eyes of Israel (Rom. 11:25). They will understand Daniel's prophecy concerning their Messiah being killed, and realize that the seven year covenant they had made was with the antichrist (Dan. 9:27; Matt. 24:15; 2 Thes. 2:3; Rev. 13:1-10). At last, Israel will be looking for their real Messiah (Matt. 24:23-27).

The Apostle Paul wrote, "And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob" (Rom. 11:26). Yes, I believe the seminal act that results in the spiritual birth of Israel will be the abomination of desolation. It is amazing how God can take something so sinister and use it for good!

Friday, August 5, 2011


Today, we are looking at what the Book of Revelation has to say about the Beast in chapter thirteen (I am capitalizing his name only to differentiate him from the animals). The first verse tells us that the Apostle John saw him "rise up out of the sea." Most students of prophecy understand the term "sea," as it is used here, to mean "out of all of the Gentile nations." That is because in Revelation 17:15, "the waters" is revealed to be the "peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues."

This interpretation gives a whole new meaning to the sound of God's voice (1:15; 14:2; 19:6). Instead of His voice sounding like that of the tumultuous seas, it would mean that He was speaking to all nations in their own languages. It is possible.

In contrast, the second Beast "comes up out of the earth" (13:11). He is the false prophet (16:13; 19:20; 20:10), whose job it is to force man to worship the first Beast (13:12). Many believe he is a Jew, perhaps even the high priest, because they interpret "the earth" as being the land of Israel. While that seems logical, it is still just a guess.

The antichrist is described as "having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns, ten crowns" (13:1). The ten horns are also mentioned in Daniel, where they represent ten kings within the fourth empire, Rome (7:7, 24). The "little horn" (7:8; 8:9) destroys three of the kings (7:24), and appears to rule over the ten areas with the seven remaining kings as his underlings. Based upon the next verse, we know that this occurs midway through the Tribulation.

Daniel 7:25 says, "And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time." This phrase is also found in Revelation 12:14. "A time" represents one year, as can be seen by comparing the number of months (Rev. 11:2; 13:5), and the number of days (Rev. 11:3; 12:6) in the second half of the seven year Tribulation "week" of years (Dan. 9:24-27).

Because the antichrist has promised seven years of peace for Israel (Dan. 9:27), and because he intends to break that promise, he wants to change the times and/or the laws (Dan. 7:25). By changing the times, either by the way man keeps time, or more likely, the time described in the seven year pact, he can justify breaking the covenant. By changing the laws, the nations of the world are then free to attack Israel at will.

In Part Two, I mentioned Antiochus Epiphanes as being a type of the antichrist, and his actions described as the "abomination of desolation." Tomorrow, Lord allowing, I would like to focus upon that seminal event in the history of the Jewish people.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Although he is not identified as such, most Bible students believe the first of the four horsemen in Revelation 6:2 is the antichrist. He appears riding a white horse, just as the real Messiah is prophesied to do (Rev. 19:11). Jesus is said to be wearing many crowns when He returns (Rev. 19:12), and while the antichrist appears wearing a single crown, it is apparently enough to convince Israel that he is their Messiah.

Because it is said that "he went forth conquering, and to conquer," most students of the Word, if not all, believe the bow mentioned is a weapon. I would like to offer another interpretation. I believe it is the same kind of bow Moses wrote of in Genesis 9:8-17. That bow has always been understood to be a rainbow; a sign from heaven that God had given His word. It is a sign of peace, and God created it to remove fear. About four thousand years later, God would give His Word to offer peace between fallen man and Himself (Jn. 1:1, 14; 3:16). The antichrist conquers by making false peace treaties (Dan. 8:25; 9:27; 11:21, 24; 1 Thes. 5:3).

The antichrist is described in some interesting ways in Daniel 8:23-25, which says,

"And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand."

"Understanding dark sentences" could mean the things of the occult, such as spells, incantations, mantras, or curses. "Not by his own power" but acting in the power of Satan (2 Thes. 2:9; Rev. 16:13-14). "He shall cause craft to prosper" sounds like someone who miraculously solves the economic crisis by eliminating unemployment. "By peace shall destroy many" was addressed above. "He shall be broken without hand" is clearly the fulfillment of Daniel 2:34, 44-45; Rev. 19:15).

Notice that the men riding the four horses are called "beasts." "The Beast" is the most oft used name for the antichrist in Revelation. The name appears at least once in twenty-five verses throughout the book. The first is found in Revelation 11:7, which says he "ascendeth out of the bottomless pit." He is described in Revelation 13:2 as empowered by Satan (Rev. 12:9), and being "like unto a leopard" (winged and extremely fast - Dan. 7:6). In verse 13:3, he is the ten-headed beast (Dan. 7:24; Rev. 17:12) having a mortal head wound from which he recovered. Apparently they knew it was Satan that had "healed" him for verse 13:4 says the world worshiped the dragon.

To be continued, Lord willing.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


"Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him (The Rapture), that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand (The Second Coming). Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition (The Tribulation); who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God (the abomination of desolation). Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only He (the Holy Spirit) who now letteth will let, until He be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming: even him (the antichrist), whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders" (2 Thes. 2:1-9).

As I mentioned earlier, the Apostle Paul wrote to reassure the Thessalonicans that they had not missed the event about which he wrote in his first epistle (1 Thes. 4:13 - 5:11). He had written that the Rapture of the Church would happen prior to "the great and the terrible day of the LORD" (Joel 2:31). If they believed that the next event to take place was Christ's Second Coming, they obviously had misunderstood. The sequence of events would be: 1. The Rapture (Jn. 14:1-6; 1 Cor. 15:50-54; 1 Thes. 4:13-18; 2 Thes. 2:1; Rev. 4; etc.); 2. The Tribulation during which the antichrist would be revealed (Dan. 9:27; Matt. 24:15; 2 Thes. 2:3-8; Rev. 13:1-8; etc.); 3. The Second Coming of Christ, or the "day of the LORD" (Dan. 2:34-35, 44; Joel 2:31; Matt. 24:29-31; Acts 1:11; 1 Thes. 1:10; 5:2; etc.).

The 2 Thessalonians 2:1-9 quote above also tells us a great deal about the antichrist.

**He is the "man of sin," and he is the "son of perdition" (v. 3).
**He is "anti" in that he opposes, he exalts himself above God, and he sits in the temple claiming to be God (v. 4).
**He is being restrained and his identity is hidden (v. 6).
**At the appointed time, he will be revealed, and Christ will destroy him when He returns (v. 8).
**He gets his power from Satan (v. 9).

Tomorrow, if He allows, I would like to look at the antichrist as he is revealed in the Book of Revelation.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Many well-known Protestant reformers, including Calvin, Knox, Luther, Wesley, and Zwingli, recognized that the beast of Revelation was mentioned under various synonyms in Scripture. He is the "little horn" of Daniel; "the man of sin," and "the son of perdition" in 2 Thessalonians; "the antichrist" of 1 and 2 John; and "Babylon," "the whore," and "the scarlet beast" of Revelation.

In the dream of Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. 2:31-35, 36-45), the third empire, Greece (Dan. 8:21; 10:20; 11:2), is defeated by the fourth unnamed empire. We know from history that the empire which defeated Greece was Rome. It was Rome that crucified Christ (Dan. 9:24-26). We also know "the prince that shall come" refers to the antichrist, who will rule over the same empire which was guilty of putting Jesus to death, because both are composed of iron (Dan. 2:33; 9:26). In other words, the revived Roman Empire.

In John's vision, we learn that the fourth empire in Nebuchadnezzer's dream is actually the sixth (to control the nation of Israel). Revelation 17:10 says, "And there are seven kings: five are fallen (Assyria, Egypt, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece), and one is (Rome), and the other is not yet come (the revived Roman Empire); and when he cometh ("the prince that shall come," the antichrist, or the beast), he must continue a short space." It is not clear as to how long he rules before making a peace covenant with Israel, but we know that once that occurs, he has just seven years left to live (Dan. 9:27; Matt. 24:4-28; Rev. 6 - 18).

We know "...that the dragon (Satan - Rev. 12:9) gave him (the antichrist) his power, and his seat, and great authority. And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast" (Rev. 13:2-3). Revelation 17:11 says, "And the beast that was (the seventh king, the antichrist), and is not (he had a mortal head wound and died), even he is the eighth (he recovered), and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition." Remember from Part Two of this series, the antichrist is known as the "son of perdition" (2 Thes. 2:3).

In Daniel 12:8-9, Daniel asks, "...what shall be the end of these things? And He said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end." It is obvious from the Gospels that believers were still asking that question: "Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the (age)?" (Matt. 24:3). After His resurrection, His disciples were still asking (Acts 1:6). The believers in Thessalonica had to be reassured by Paul that His return had not already happened, but that it would be some time in the future. He wrote, "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition" (2 Thes. 2:3). And in Revelation, John is told to "Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter" (v. 1:19). Believers are still asking.

Monday, August 1, 2011


Just as Satan comes to deceive wearing the disguise of an angel of light, those who are his, including the antichrist, are disguised as well, being "transformed into ministers of righteousness" (2 Cor. 11:14-15). Satan is called the father of lies (Jn. 8:44). The antichrist lies, pretending to come in peace, and all-the-while, his intent is to enslave the world (Dan. 8:25; 9:27; 11:21).

Looking up "deceive" in the New Testament, I found the word appears in thirty-six verses. We are warned to be careful that we are not deceived by men (Matt. 24:4), by false Christs (Matt. 24:5), by false prophets (Matt. 24:24), by sin (Rom. 7:11), by good words and fair speeches (Rom. 16:18), by the antichrist (2 Jn. 1:7), by miracles (Rev. 13:14), by sorcery (Rev. 18:23), and by Satan (Rev. 20:8).

It is clear that man is more susceptible to being fooled by Satan into submission, than he is to being forced. Millions will die as martyrs rather than submit to the antichrist:

"After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb" (Rev. 7:9-14).

Just as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is reluctant to reveal that it teaches that God was once a man, and the Masons do not reveal to prospective members that their name for God is Lucifer, neither will the antichrist reveal his league with Satan, his thirst for world power, and his hatred for the God's chosen people, Israel. And while mankind is constantly being misled by the enemies of God, the one who is man's greatest enemy when it come to deceit, is man himself (1 Cor. 3:18; Gal. 6:3; Jam. 1:26; 1 Jn. 1:8)!

Lord willing, tomorrow I want to focus upon the antichrist as revealed in the Book of Daniel.