“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Friday, February 22, 2019

The old and new beast, and his seven kings

“And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters:
With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.
So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns....
The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.…
And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is [second beast of Revelation 13, Protestant America], and the other is not yet come [beast with newly empowered Jesuits that come out of the bottomless pit]; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.
And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.
And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.
These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.
These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for He is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful.
And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.” (Rev. 17:1-3,8,10-15).

The beast and many waters make up the papal empire. The woman that rides the beast is the Vatican.

“And the woman was 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:
And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great [amazement].” (Rev. 17:4-6).
the office, dignity, or jurisdiction of the pope.
the system of ecclesiastical government in which the pope is recognized as the supreme head.
the period during which a certain pope is in office.
the succession or line of the popes.
“Papacy, the office and jurisdiction of the bishop of Rome, the pope (Latin papa, from Greek pappas, ‘father’), who presides over the central government of the Roman Catholic Church, the largest of the three major branches of Christianity. The term pope was originally applied to all the bishops in the West and also used to describe the patriarch of Alexandria, who still retains the title. In 1073, however, Pope Gregory VII restricted its use to the bishop of Rome, confirming a practice that had existed since the 9th century.… During the course of the 2,000 years in which the papal system and the practice of electing popes in the conclave have evolved, the papacy has played a crucial role in both Western and world history. The history of the papacy can be divided into five major periods: the early papacy, from Peter through Pelagius II (until 590); the medieval papacy, from Gregory I through Boniface VIII (590–1303); the Renaissance and Reformation papacy, from Benedict XI through Pius IV (1303–1565); the early modern papacy, from Pius V through Clement XIV (1566–1774); and the modern papacy, from Pius VI (1775–99).”

The first Papal system included the monarchies of Europe. But the ten kings mentioned in Revelation 17:10, 12 are a different set of monarchs. It’s a whole different picture and scenario. The beast which carried the ten horns had no power “as yet” at the time that this Revelation 17 vision was set in its context. That context was the “wilderness” (Rev. 17:3).

“He carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.” (Rev. 17:3).

The Revelation 17 wilderness setting is significant in that it must refer back to the vision of Revelation 12:6,14, which gives a run-down of the Dark Ages Papal history from beginning to end—that is, the history from papal persecution of Christians who were Bible-centered and evangelistic against this evil empire of biblical prophecy, real Christians who knew the experience of righteousness by faith (see Revelation 11:4, cf Zechariah 4:6,11-14) during the early Dark Age Holy Roman Empire beginning at 538 until its close in 1798. That long 1,260 year history ended with the beast and its whore, driven by the dragon to chase the Lamb and His betrothed fiancé all over the wilderness for almost eleven centuries, and then her final deliverance from the whores ravenous clutches during the Counter Reformation when in 1620 her Lord providentially opened the American continent for a badly needed respite from Papal oppression.

There in the wilderness, the beast (Baalim) and his prostituting wife (Ashtoreth), are the same as they have been since the days of Nimrod and whorish Semiramis. And all the tightly-knitted, interconnecting network of celebrating and worshipful spies, which during the seventh king will comprise almost the whole earth, will have the mark of his bride’s same blasphemous names filling his eight heads, the “scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy” (Rev. 17:3).

“And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.” (Rev. 14:11).

“The whole land thereof is brimstone, and salt, and burning, that it is not sown, nor beareth, nor any grass groweth therein, like the overthrow of Sodom, and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim, which the LORD overthrew in His anger, and in His wrath.” (Deut. 29:23).

“The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.” (Rev. 14:10,11).

That third angels message came from the same message to ancient Israel from Moses.

“Lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turneth away this day from the LORD our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations; lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood;
And it come to pass, when he heareth the words of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination of mine heart, to add drunkenness to thirst:
The LORD will not spare him, but then the anger of the LORD and His jealousy shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him, and the LORD shall blot out his name from under heaven.” (Deut. 29:18-20). This woe to the post-apostolic church was in consequence to her making the grandiose assumption that it was OK to lose the love of Jesus for prostituting seductive gods.

The shortened version of the wilderness judgment comes from John 3.

“The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into His hand. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” (John 3:35,36).

“In the wilderness”, under the hot wrath of God, the beast power was put out of commission; the prophecy says that the beast “is not”. Fuming in the hot wilderness of punishment it was unable, as it had since the days of Constantine, to fulfill Satan’s favorite plan to use state power to protect him and itself from the Bible’s exposure. “Light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.” (John 3:19,20).

“Thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce My servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.
And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.
Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.
And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am He which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.” (Rev. 2:20-23).

But, the wilderness discipline changed nothing of the self-will and direction of the blasphemous beast and its brutal bride.

“And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” (Rev. 17:5).

So, Revelation 17 showcases a beast that was punished, but returns to its former desolations of the earth. “…and I saw…a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns” (Rev. 17:3). It looks just as it did at its inception 17 centuries earlier. “And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.” (Rev. 13:1). Though Christian-looking, there was no room in its thinking for Jesus and His humility. God was not in all his thoughts.

“He opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, and His tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.” (Rev. 13:6,7).

The modern counterpart beast power will persecute just like it did in the past. “And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.” (Rev. 17:6).

This scarlet beast looked like its mentor and inspiration, the red dragon. “Behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.” (Rev. 12:3). “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world.” (Rev. 12:9). “And the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.” (Rev. 13:2).

But, having said all that, the ten kings to which Revelation 17 refers are not the same Dark Age monarchies, although those monarchies did play a key role in the success of the Papacy of the Dark Ages. Rather, this new prophecy of the beast in Revelation 17 is an end-time view of a new and improved Papal power, with newly empowered authority to devour faith and love. It is only in this final manifestation that this corrupting earthly power goes into perdition. Thus, those ten kings must refer to an end-time regime that will display the severest ever papal dominion over the earth, though short-lived, spoken of as lasting “one hour”.

It would be a stretch to tag the new Revelation 17 Papacy with the medieval Papacy that continued a millennium and more (a prophetic “forty and two months”). But, although not the same earthly events, the final beast government—not the beast that was wounded by the Bible two-edged sword, but “the image of the beast” (Rev. 13:15)—will be similar to the Dark Ages Holy Roman Empire, so that at the end everyone not sealed will be awed and deceived by religion without the power from Jehovah Jesus. “They that dwell on the earth”, “whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world” “shall wonder [marvel]” “when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.” (Rev. 17:8).

This final religio-political authority will be a juggernaut that no nation can rival or contest. “And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered [marvelled] after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?” (Rev. 13:3,4).

That final Papacy will be the seventh head that has the ten horns (or kingdoms) of the beast. It is “the other” king(dom), the last of seven that, from the perspective of the wilderness punishment of Revelation 12:16,17, “is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space” (Rev. 17:10). This seventh king(dom) is unique in comparison to the other heads [king(doms)] by the way that the ten horns—all the world’s national political and military powers, and populaces—confederate with it to form a gigantic, fully healed, and empowered beast. “The ten horns which…are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast” (Rev. 17:12). “All the world wondered after the beast.” (Rev. 13:3).

“These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast. These shall make war with the Lamb.… For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil His will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.” (Rev. 17:13,14,17).

This world union must happen, by order of divine will. “He mustG1163 continue [G1163, it is necessary (as binding)]” (Rev. 17:10). Revelation 17:17 gives emphasis to that prophetic binding as a divine requirement. “For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil His will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.” (Rev. 17:17). This heretofore unknown loyalty to the beast will continue and the people will flock in until the 6th plague falls.

But simultaneous with the rise of the seventh king(dom) that must continue a short space—and possibly as a result of its oppression—the 144,000 wise virgins come back to life from their unbelief and stupor, and are given the command that they must preach the gospel like their fathers preached while the Protestant reformers and Adventist pioneers had not yet passed from the scene. “Thou mustG1163[G1163, it is necessary (as binding)] prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.” (Rev. 10:11). This “prophesy again” command, which binds by divine decree, was not preceded by a previous prophesying/gospel preaching. In the Revelation trumpet/seal motif of Revelation chapters 4 through 11 we don’t see anyone prophesying/preaching of the gospel. But we do see a former, successful prophesying/preaching of the gospel in the detailed history of the church given from Revelation 11:3 until half-way through Revelation 11:7. Then they were destroyed and laid out for all the uncircumcised world to celebrate over, much like the Philistines did to Samson (while his consecration and strength were secretly returning). The same has been happening to the genuine Protestants and Adventists.

“And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.
And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.
And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.
And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.” (Rev. 11:7-10).

“Therefore My people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge: and their honourable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst.
Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it.
And the mean man shall be brought down, and the mighty man shall be humbled, and the eyes of the lofty shall be humbled:
But the LORD of hosts shall be exalted in judgment, and God that is holy shall be sanctified in righteousness.” (Isa. 5:13-16).

“Therefore will the LORD wait, that He may be gracious unto you, and therefore will He be exalted, that He may have mercy upon you: for the LORD is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for Him.
For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem: thou shalt weep no more: He will be very gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry; when He shall hear it, He will answer thee.
And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers:
And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.
Ye shall defile also the covering of thy graven images of silver, and the ornament of thy molten images of gold: thou shalt cast them away as a menstruous cloth; thou shalt say unto it, Get thee hence.” (Isa. 30:18-22).

“My attention was then turned to the company I had seen, who were mightily shaken. I was shown those whom I had before seen weeping and praying in agony of spirit. The company of guardian angels around them had been doubled, and they were clothed with an armor from their head to their feet. They moved in exact order, like a company of soldiers. Their countenances expressed the severe conflict which they had endured, the agonizing struggle they had passed through. Yet their features, marked with severe internal anguish, now shone with the light and glory of heaven. They had obtained the victory, and it called forth from them the deepest gratitude and holy, sacred joy.” Early Writings, p. 270.
 “The numbers of this company had lessened. Some had been shaken out and left by the way. The careless and indifferent, who did not join with those who prized victory and salvation enough to perseveringly plead and agonize for it, did not obtain it, and they were left behind in darkness, and their places were immediately filled by others taking hold of the truth and coming into the ranks. Evil angels still pressed around them, but could have no power over them.
     I heard those clothed with the armor speak forth the truth with great power. It had effect. Many had been bound; some wives by their husbands, and some children by their parents. The honest who had been prevented from hearing the truth now eagerly laid hold upon it. All fear of their relatives was gone, and the truth alone was exalted to them. They had been hungering and thirsting for truth; it was dearer and more precious than life. I asked what had made this great change. An angel answered, ‘It is the latter rain, the refreshing from the presence of the Lord, the loud cry of the third angel.’ 
     Great power was with these chosen ones. Said the angel, ‘Look ye!’ My attention was turned to the wicked, or unbelievers. They were all astir. The zeal and power with the people of God had aroused and enraged them. Confusion, confusion, was on every side. I saw measures taken against the company who had the light and power of God. Darkness thickened around them; yet they stood firm, approved of God, and trusting in Him. I saw them perplexed; next I heard them crying unto God earnestly.… All seemed to have a deep sense of their unworthiness and manifested entire submission to the will of God; yet, like Jacob, every one, without an exception, was earnestly pleading and wrestling for deliverance.” Early Writings, p. 271, 272.

Suddenly, in Ezekiel 7:1-10 and 1 Samuel 14:12-16 style, the 144,000 wise virgins are back on the battle field with their enemies in utter chagrin and confusion—and is the devil ever mad!!! “How could such a great general as I get caught so off-guard by Jesus’ nincompoops?!” declares he. Irregardless, that “great” general has been out-generalled by a greater General, Jehovah Joshua, our High Priest who is touched with the feelings of our infirmities, and who recognizes genuine repentance.

“And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.
And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.
And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.
The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.” (Rev. 11:11-14).

“And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men.
And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions.
And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle.
And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months.
And they had a king over them...whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon [‘Destroyer’].” (Rev. 9:7-11).

Both opposing armies march and flank like well-oiled machines. But, the children of God win the day.

“They shall run like mighty men; they shall climb the wall like men of war; and they shall march every one on his ways, and they shall not break their ranks: neither shall one thrust another; they shall walk every one in his path: and when they fall upon the sword, they shall not be wounded…. And the LORD shall utter His voice before His army: for His camp is very great: for He is strong that executeth His word: for the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?” (Joel 2:7,8,11).

“Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the LORD shall bring again Zion.
Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the LORD hath comforted His people, He hath redeemed Jerusalem.
The LORD hath made bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.
Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the LORD.
For ye shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight: for the LORD will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your rereward.” (Isa. 52:8-12).

With the Lion of the tribe of Judah behind them, the 144,000 take down the locust cavalry of the first and second woes. They bring down the high walls of Babylon, and discomfit her self-indulgent, self-exalted “children of pride” (Job 41:34) whose king is the angel of the bottomless pit.

“And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.” (Rev. 14:6). Only those who have been sealed with the Father’s name in their foreheads will be able to face off with a world population that has the mark of the beast in their foreheads and rescue the elect from among the nations. So we see the second numbering of the 144,000, just as ancient Israel was numbered again after a long delay. This time they will go in.

“And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with Him an hundred forty and four thousand, having His Father’s name written in their foreheads….
These are they which were not defiled with women [the Babylonian prostitute]; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.
And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.” (Rev. 14:1,4,5).

At this dark hour the wise virgins are aroused. The Spirit of Christ walks among His people again, and they pour forth the straight testimony of the True Witness.

“So long as Jesus remains man’s intercessor in the sanctuary above, the restraining influence of the Holy Spirit is felt by rulers and people. It still controls to some extent the laws of the land. Were it not for these laws, the condition of the world would be much worse than it now is. While many of our rulers are active agents of Satan, God also has His agents among the leading men of the nation. The enemy moves upon his servants to propose measures that would greatly impede the work of God; but statesmen who fear the Lord are influenced by holy angels to oppose such propositions with unanswerable arguments. Thus a few men will hold in check a powerful current of evil. The opposition of the enemies of truth will be restrained that the third angel’s message may do its work. When the final warning shall be given, it will arrest the attention of these leading men through whom the Lord is now working, and some of them will accept it, and will stand with the people of God through the time of trouble.” Great Controversy, p. 610.

“As the opposition rises to a fiercer height, the servants of God are again perplexed; for it seems to them that they have brought the crisis. But conscience and the word of God assure them that their course is right; and although the trials continue, they are strengthened to bear them. The contest grows closer and sharper, but their faith and courage rise with the emergency. Their testimony is: ‘We dare not tamper with God’s word, dividing His holy law; calling one portion essential and another nonessential, to gain the favor of the world. The Lord whom we serve is able to deliver us. Christ has conquered the powers of earth; and shall we be afraid of a world already conquered?’” Great Controversy, p. 610.

“The angel who unites in the proclamation of the third angel’s message is to lighten the whole earth with his glory. A work of world-wide extent and unwonted power is here foretold. The advent movement of 1840-44 was a glorious manifestation of the power of God; the first angel’s message was carried to every missionary station in the world, and in some countries there was the greatest religious interest which has been witnessed in any land since the Reformation of the sixteenth century; but these are to be exceeded by the mighty movement under the last warning of the third angel.

The work will be similar to that of the Day of Pentecost. As the ‘former rain’ was given, in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at the opening of the gospel, to cause the upspringing of the precious seed, so the ‘latter rain’ will be given at its close for the ripening of the harvest. ‘Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: His going forth is prepared as the morning; and He shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.’ Hosea 6:3. ‘Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for He hath given you the former rain moderately, and He will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain.’ Joel 2:23. ‘In the last days, saith God, I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh.’ ‘And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ Acts 2:17, 21.

The great work of the gospel is not to close with less manifestation of the power of God than marked its opening. The prophecies which were fulfilled in the outpouring of the former rain at the opening of the gospel are again to be fulfilled in the latter rain at its close. Here are ‘the times of refreshing’ to which the apostle Peter looked forward when he said: ‘Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and He shall send Jesus.’ Acts 3:19, 20.

Servants of God, with their faces lighted up and shining with holy consecration, will hasten from place to place to proclaim the message from heaven. By thousands of voices, all over the earth, the warning will be given. Miracles will be wrought, the sick will be healed, and signs and wonders will follow the believers. Satan also works, with lying wonders, even bringing down fire from heaven in the sight of men. Revelation 13:13. Thus the inhabitants of the earth will be brought to take their stand.

The message will be carried not so much by argument as by the deep conviction of the Spirit of God. The arguments have been presented. The seed has been sown, and now it will spring up and bear fruit. The publications distributed by missionary workers have exerted their influence, yet many whose minds were impressed have been prevented from fully comprehending the truth or from yielding obedience. Now the rays of light penetrate everywhere, the truth is seen in its clearness, and the honest children of God sever the bands which have held them. Family connections, church relations, are powerless to stay them now. Truth is more precious than all besides. Notwithstanding the agencies combined against the truth, a large number take their stand upon the Lord’s side.” Great Controversy, p. 611,612.
Trouble of every category will plague the nations, as technology has control of nature.

“Satan works through the elements also to garner his harvest of unprepared souls. He has studied the secrets of the laboratories of nature, and he uses all his power to control the elements as far as God allows…. It is God that shields His creatures and hedges them in from the power of the destroyer. But the Christian world have shown contempt for the law of Jehovah; and the Lord will do just what He has declared that He would—He will withdraw His blessings from the earth and remove His protecting care from those who are rebelling against His law and teaching and forcing others to do the same. Satan has control of all whom God does not especially guard. He will favor and prosper some in order to further his own designs, and he will bring trouble upon others and lead men to believe that it is God who is afflicting them.

While appearing to the children of men as a great physician who can heal all their maladies, he will bring disease and disaster, until populous cities are reduced to ruin and desolation. Even now he is at work.… Destruction will be upon both man and beast. ‘The earth mourneth and fadeth away,’ ‘the haughty people . . . do languish. The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.’ Isaiah 24:4, 5.” Great Controversy (1911), p. 589.
“And at the commencement of the time of trouble, we were filled with the Holy Ghost as we went forth and proclaimed the Sabbath more fully. This enraged the churches and nominal Adventists, as they could not refute the Sabbath truth. And at this time God’s chosen all saw clearly that we had the truth, and they came out and endured the persecution with us. I saw the sword, famine, pestilence, and great confusion in the land. The wicked thought that we had brought the judgments upon them, and they rose up and took counsel to rid the earth of us, thinking that then the evil would be stayed.” Early Writings, p. 33.

“‘The commencement of that time of trouble,’ here mentioned does not refer to the time when the plagues shall begin to be poured out, but to a short period just before they are poured out, while Christ is in the sanctuary. At that time, while the work of salvation is closing, trouble will be coming on the earth, and the nations will be angry, yet held in check so as not to prevent the work of the third angel. At that time the ‘latter rain,’ or refreshing from the presence of the Lord, will come, to give power to the loud voice of the third angel, and prepare the saints to stand in the period when the seven last plagues shall be poured out.” Early Writings, p. 85.

“The beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.” “And all the world wondered after the beast.” What an excited, hopeful uproar of “people and kindreds and tongues and nations” (Rev. 11:9) will surround the world religio-political congress of international sovereigns, corporate CEOs, and military chiefs.

“With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.…
The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.…
And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.” (Rev. 17:2,8,15).

“‘At that time shall Michael stand up, the great Prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, everyone that shall be found written in the book.’ Daniel 12:1.

When the third angel’s message closes, mercy no longer pleads for the guilty inhabitants of the earth. The people of God have accomplished their work. They have received ‘the latter rain,’ ‘the refreshing from the presence of the Lord,’ and they are prepared for the trying hour before them. Angels are hastening to and fro in heaven. An angel returning from the earth announces that his work is done; the final test has been brought upon the world, and all who have proved themselves loyal to the divine precepts have received ‘the seal of the living God.’ Then Jesus ceases His intercession in the sanctuary above. He lifts His hands and with a loud voice says, ‘It is done;’ and all the angelic host lay off their crowns as He makes the solemn announcement: ‘He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.’ Revelation 22:11. Every case has been decided for life or death. Christ has made the atonement for His people and blotted out their sins. The number of His subjects is made up; ‘the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven,’ is about to be given to the heirs of salvation, and Jesus is to reign as King of kings and Lord of lords.  

When He leaves the sanctuary, darkness covers the inhabitants of the earth. In that fearful time the righteous must live in the sight of a holy God without an intercessor. The restraint which has been upon the wicked is removed, and Satan has entire control of the finally impenitent. God’s long-suffering has ended. The world has rejected His mercy, despised His love, and trampled upon His law. The wicked have passed the boundary of their probation; the Spirit of God, persistently resisted, has been at last withdrawn. Unsheltered by divine grace, they have no protection from the wicked one. Satan will then plunge the inhabitants of the earth into one great, final trouble. As the angels of God cease to hold in check the fierce winds of human passion, all the elements of strife will be let loose. The whole world will be involved in ruin more terrible than that which came upon Jerusalem of old.” Great Controversy, p. 613,614.

“And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east [“tidings out of the east and out of the north” (Dan. 11:44)] might be prepared.
And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.
For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty [the eighth king, the beast that was, is not, yet is, the son of perdition that ascended from the bottomless pit and now takes the world with him as he goes into perdition].” (Rev. 16:12-14).

What could create the united, “ethical” front of the world religions’ devotees and a similar union of the world’s irreligious, atheistic, agnostic, skeptical, hedonistic, pagan peoples, against Jesus’ small remnant sprinkled around the globe? How will the eighth king take the whole world into perdition?

Could this statement give any light on the question? “Satan also works, with lying wonders, even bringing down fire from heaven in the sight of men. Revelation 13:13. Thus the inhabitants of the earth will be brought to take their stand.” Great Controversy (1911), p. 612.
What could take such control of 7+ billion hearts and minds?

A)    Could a secret rapture fraud?
B)    Could a mock anti-Christ, world leader entering a third Jewish temple in Jerusalem to slaughter a pig on a wing of the temple?
C)    Could a cosmic visitor, the supernatural imitation arrival of the nations’ messiah?
D)    Could the world’s attention be arrested by this bodily fullness of Mother Nature, his blessing the popes who faithfully safe-guarded adoration of the Trinity and the Sunday for 16 centuries, and worked feverishly to protect those idolatries against the biblical preaching from the dangerous 144,000 semi-Arian sabbatarians?
E)     All of the above?

“Tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many. And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him.” (Dan. 11:44,45).

Those tidings are glad tidings of the kings of the east, our King and Priest who has left the Most Holy Place.

“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He doth judge and make war.” (Rev. 19:11).

The fury of the Satan-controlled son of perdition will spill over onto the nations. “And the nations were angry…” (Rev. 11:18). “Satan has entire control of the finally impenitent.… The wicked have passed the boundary of their probation; the Spirit of God, persistently resisted, has been at last withdrawn. Unsheltered by divine grace, they have no protection from the wicked one. Satan will then plunge the inhabitants of the earth into one great, final trouble.” Great Controversy, p. 614.

But the beast’s wrath will not be outdone by the Father’s wrath. “…Thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that Thou shouldest give reward unto Thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear Thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth. And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in His temple the ark of His testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.” (Rev. 11:18,19).

“Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?
The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against His anointed, saying,
Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.
He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.
Then shall He speak unto them in His wrath, and vex them in His sore displeasure.” (Ps. 2:1-5).

“If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,
The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.” (Rev. 14:9-11).

“Soon after they had commenced their earnest cry, the angels, in sympathy, desired to go to their deliverance. But a tall, commanding angel suffered them not. He said, ‘The will of God is not yet fulfilled. They must drink of the cup. They must be baptized with the baptism.’” Early Writings, p. 271, 272.

The sealed have followed the Lamb through their own Gethsemane, and have come out the other side. Finally Jesus is seen in the clouds of heaven, coming in great glory.

“His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns; and He had a name written, that no man knew, but He Himself.
And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and His name is called The Word of God.
And the armies which were in heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
And out of His mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations: and He shall rule them with a rod of iron: and He treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” (Rev. 19:12-16).

Friday, February 15, 2019

Fear ME more than the adversary

“It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Heb. 10:31).

For our sakes God overpowers us so that we can do the things He commands.

My wife, Zeny, grew up in poverty-stricken Bom Jesus Da Lapa, Bahia, Brazil. As a child she lived without her parents, and under the guardianship of her very poor grandmother. They lived hungry, barely surviving. So my wife was farmed out to work for people. One lady she worked for had a few fruit trees and would have little Zeny carry the fruit in a basket to be sold at the market. So she put the basket on her head and walk to town. On one instance some bully girls who were older and bigger than Zeny waited for her to pass by, and, from their perch above the sidewalk, were able to take Zeny’s fruit before she could prevent them.

When she returned from the market she had to answer to her employer why the money from the fruit was so low. She explained about the girls taking the fruits. And for that the woman gave her a big whipping. (In some countries there are no child-protective laws.) She told Zeny if she didn’t get all the fruit to market the next day that she would be whipped again. So if those girls were there again, she would have to fight them. But Zeny didn’t want to fight them. They were stronger than her. It was two against one. They were mean. But she didn’t want another whipping by the woman she worked for.

Sure enough, those bullies showed up again, licking their chops. So, just to get past their blockade, Little Zeny tore into them (as she tells the story) with teeth and nails. A little girl turned into a raging Tasmanian devil, and those bullies fled for their lives. It was the day of retribution on them. Judgment Day. (By the way, fighting isn’t the Lord’s best plan, but He works with honest, down-trodden people, even though they might not perfectly know His will.) Those girls never bullied little Zeny every again, and I believe she learned a lesson that day. With sufficient motivation from a higher, more powerful authority than the enemy, we can overcome every obstacle.

On a spiritual level, this same principle applies. We are weak. We have the grasshopper complex. All those mean people are giants and their towns are walled up to heaven. But the Lord of hosts says, “I will go with you, therefore you are well able to go up and possess them.” But, we tremble in our boots when we look at the obstacles because they seem too great. So we say, “Lord this isn’t a good idea.”

“Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child.” “But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD. ” (Jer. 1:6-8). “Thou shalt stand before Me; and…thou shalt be as My mouth.” (Jer. 16:19).

“Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth My people the children of Israel out of Egypt. And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?...” (Ex. 3:10,11).

“And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee….” (Ex. 4:1).

“And Moses said unto the LORD, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since Thou hast spoken unto Thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.” (Ex. 4:10).

The Lord’s anger began to rise.

“And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD? Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say. And he said, O my Lord, send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom Thou wilt end.” (Ex. 4:11-13).

Now it was time to bring out the big stick. Cajoling didn’t work, but the children of Israel needed to be delivered from slavery. Now it was time for the Lord to raise His voice and scare Moses straight. “And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses”, and He said,

“Is not Aaron the Levite thy brother? I know that he can speak well. And also, behold, he cometh forth to meet thee: and when he seeth thee, he will be glad in his heart.
And thou shalt speak unto him, and put words in his mouth: and I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what ye shall do.
And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people: and he shall be, even he shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of God.” (Ex. 4:14-16).

Using Aaron was Christ’s last option because He knew Aaron, that he needed a lot of faith and self-discipline to be the kind of leader that would keep the people focused on obeying the high standard. He needed help as much as the sin-loving people needed it. But, his advantage, compared to every other Israelite, was the close loyalty he would have for his brother. Moses was fully loyal to his God, and Jesus knew Aaron’s brotherly fealty would not interrupt the mission for which Jesus sent Moses—to raise up a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.

In another case, Lot was too afraid to leave Sodom. “Behold now, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast shewed unto me in saving my life; and I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil take me, and I die: behold now, this city is near to flee unto, and it is a little one: Oh, let me escape thither, (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live.” (Gen. 19:19,20).

“Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven;
And He overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground….and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace.…
And Lot went up out of Zoar, and dwelt in the mountain, and his two daughters with him; for he feared to dwell in Zoar: and he dwelt in a cave.” (Gen. 19:24,25,30).

He was too scared to live in the wild the first time, but he wasn’t too scared after he heard the crashing bedlam upon the cities of the plain.

A final example of this is with the Lord Jesus Himself. But this time the issues weren’t selfish or self-preserving. It was Gethsemane. The plan of salvation was finally to be brought to its climax. He must be separated from the God who He had ever loved to dwell in.

“O how love I Thy Law! it is My meditation all the day.
Thou through Thy commandments hast made Me wiser than Mine enemies: for they are ever with Me.
I have more understanding than all My teachers: for Thy testimonies are My meditation.
I understand more than the ancients, because I keep Thy precepts.
I have refrained My feet from every evil way, that I might keep Thy word.
I have not departed from Thy judgments: for Thou hast taught Me.
How sweet are Thy words unto My taste! yea, sweeter than honey to My mouth!
Through Thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.” (Ps. 119:97-104).

“I have glorified Thee on the earth: I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do.
And now, O Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
I have manifested Thy name unto the men which Thou gavest Me out of the world: Thine they were, and Thou gavest them Me; and they have kept Thy word….
And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to Thee. Holy Father, keep through Thine own name those whom Thou hast given Me, that they may be one, as We are….
And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.
Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word;
That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me.
And the glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as We are one:
I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me.
Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am; that they may behold My glory, which thou hast given Me: for Thou lovedst Me before the foundation of the world.
O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that Thou hast sent Me.
And I have declared unto them Thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” (John 17:4-6,11,19-26).

“When Jesus had spoken these words, He went forth with His disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which He entered, and His disciples.” (John 18:1).

“Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.
And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.
Then saith He unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.
And He went a little further, and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt.
And He cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with Me one hour?
Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O My Father, if this cup may not pass away from Me, except I drink it, Thy will be done.
And He came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy.
And He left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.” (Matt. 26:36-44).

Christ’s greatest fear has been our greatest thrill--separation from God. But for our sakes He must endure the death that would result from separation from His Abba. Like a electrocution, it brought from within Him a fire that devoured Him. But at least He sensed that His Father was near and in control, that His offering was under the supervision of His Father, and not the adversary.

“I [will] bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee.” (Eze. 28:18).

This was Jesus’ promise to Satan, but every judgment He has brought upon His creatures, He has taken upon Himself. Even the wrath upon Sodom and Gomorrah He suffered. He was the great burnt offering. No one can say that He has abused them in His punishment or abused His authority, because, as the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, He has already received much worse. He knows what punishment is, both in anticipation and in the actual experience.

As the Son of God struggled with the decision to go through with it all, the Father moved forward with the plan of salvation. It was His Father’s decided forward motion that helped Jesus go on. And surrounded by all the darkness and self-doubts it was His Father’s overwhelming power that gave Jesus the evidence of His Father’s presence. He must extrapolate His Father’s presence by His obvious power, but it was enough to encourage Him to go on with the sacrifice.

During the previous 33 years He had been trained in the wisdom of faith by extrapolation. Now all that greatly needed training came into play. He had also been trained to fear His Father, which prevented Him from fearing Satan every day of His life. He was given no advantages over us. His access and efforts to know God were exactly the same as ours have been. That is why He can comfort us in our difficulties to please His Father.

“Wherefore in all things it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succour them that are tempted.” (Heb. 2:17,18).

By the power of His Father the great offering was made and the Son was the only one who could make it. Thus it is said of Him,

Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange, — the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory. ― D’Aubigne, London ed., b. 12, ch. 2 The Great Controversy, p. 212.