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Posted By Nan

Revelation 17:1-18
In this chapter John describes being taken by the 7th angel to see the punishment of the great prostitute (Babylon). She has intoxicated the people of the earth. The description of this woman is suggestive of hedonism. Greed for all the pleasures of life with no regard for the impact these pleasures have on life, others or the earth. Certainly the modern world is a very hedonistic place. The rampant capitalism that encourages to buy and keep buying, to possess every new gadget, to have instant gratification. All this to make massive profits so that company directors can make more and more money. Certainly the rulers of this earth, and their subjects, have eaten greedily of her.
John sees her in the desert on a scarlet beast covered in blasphemous names, with 7 heads and 10 horns. The woman is covered in expensive jewellery and clothing. She holds a golden cup full of terrible things, abominations to God. The title on her forehead is a riddle. She is Babylon the great (symbolic of hedonism and depravity), the mother of prostitutes (those who sell themselves for the things they desire) and drunk with the blood of those who believe in and witness to Jesus.
The Angel tells John the beast was, is not now, but will come out of the abyss and go to destruction. All who are not listed in the book of life will be astonished when they see the beast. Its 7 heads represent 7 hills on which the woman sits. In writings of the time Rome was represented as a city on 7 hills but this is probably symbolic). The 7 heads are also 7 Kings. At the time of writing, 5 had reigned, 1 was reigning and 1 was to come. Then the beast would serve as king. This is a different perspective on what has been spoken of in previous chapters. The 10 horns represent 10 Kings who will receive power for a short time and give this power to the beast in order to make war against Jesus. He will overcome them.
The waters the woman stood by are the people of the earth. They will hate the prostitute and destroy her because God has put it in their hearts to accomplish His purpose until His words are fulfilled.
There are several things God highlighted to me from this passage.
1.He appoints the rulers of this earth (Daniel 2:21).
2.His plan if unfolding and will run its course.
3.Things may seem bad but God is in control.
4.Few will be saved, so when you hear people speaking about “there is more than one way to come to God”, “I think you only need to be a good person to go to heaven”, they are not speaking of God. There is only one way to God and few will find it. Without Jesus you are not going to have your name written in the book of life.
5.God is not interested in legalism or the minutiae of how to interpret the Bible (especially the apocalyptic books). He is interested in relationship with you. One where you seek Jesus and seek to be transformed into Him, seeking to put aside self and take on Him.
At the risk of sounding repetitive, this is the message of Revelation.

Posted By Nan

Just wanted to clarify that when I wrote "It is not necessary to understand its message." my meaning was that it is not necessary to understand what all the symbolism means. The message of Revelation is something we can and should understand. What we shouldn't be doing is getting caught up in theological arguments about Raptures and Tribulation and what the mark of the beast is and so on. Those things distract us from God and serve satan because they take our eyes off Jesus. The message of Revelation is far more simple and powerful.


Posted By Nan

Revelation 16:1:21
Before I continue it is important to be reminded that Revelation has symbolism we no longer have the ‘code’ for. It is not necessary to understand its message. This preoccupation with knowing what the code is, what will happen and when is less to do with God and more to do with human desire to control, to not allow God to order our lives. This is exactly what we should not be doing. We are required to hand our lives over to Jesus and give up self. How can we do that if we are preoccupied with second guessing God? What does it matter when Jesus returns and how that happens? God is watching over us and everything will be according to His plan.
This chapter talks about the 7 bowls of God’s wrath being poured out on the earth. These parallel the 4 trumpets of Chapter 8 and the plagues of Exodus. God’s wrath is poured out on the people who worship the image of the beast. All water, salt and fresh is turned to blood and all living creatures in the water die. The beast worshippers are forced to drink the blood they shed of the Ekklessia. In v6-7 we hear the angels proclaim that these judgements are true and just. Remember, we all have to pay for our sins. That is why Jesus came to earth, to pay the price for our sin. Those who will not accept His payment must suffer God’s wrath. So the wrath of God continues with people being burned by an intense sun then plunged into darkness. The people are miserable, they are burned, covered in sores, thirsty and in darkness. Yet they still refuse to turn to God. The dragon sends evil spirits to provide miraculous signs to convince the people to fight God. The world is deceived and assembles to fight God.
In verse 15 we read the warning of Luke 12:35-40. Jesus will come like a thief in the night and those who remain alert and awake will be blessed. Maintain your faith. Prayer and read the Bible. Be watchful for God. Don’t think you can just take a few hours/days/years off and come back later because He may return while you are away and you will be judged accordingly.
The final wrath results in massive natural disasters, storms, hail and earthquakes. No city is left standing yet still the people curse God and will not turn to Him.
So what is the message of this chapter? We all will be judged. People will ignore the obvious proof of God and there is nothing we can do to change that. All we can do is witness to those who are open and accept that most will not be open. We are required to NOT meet disasters or massive outbreaks of disease with harsh pronouncements of ‘justice’. That is not how God wants you to be. Instead He wants you to be the voice of love … His love. (1 Corinthians 12:31-13:1-13).


Posted By Nan

Revelation 15:1-8
This chapter is an introduction to the events of chapter 16. The previous chapters are seen as a recap of the events of the 7 trumpets. Now the events of the seven trumpets are described in more detail. This is the 7 cups of God’s wrath. God’s wrath is a theme that is present throughout the Bible, especially in the New Testament. In Romans1:18 we read that those who choose not to believe the truth of God, presented to them, are the wicked and will know God’s wrath at judgement. Zephaniah 1:14-18 speaks of the day of God’s wrath when no sin will go unpunished unless the sinner has been redeemed. We know from the New Testament that Jesus is the only one who can redeem us from our sin. Nahum 1:6 speaks of God’s mighty power. Rocks shake before God. How arrogant those who deny God are that they think they will not be shaken when they stand before Him! In Malachi 3:2 we see the evidence of the clean hands and a pure heart that are needed to stand before God. I wonder though if we will be able to stand? This brings to mind the Mercy Me song “I can only imagine” which speaks about how we may react to standing in God’s presence. Will be fall at His feet, or dance for joy, or just stand in awe? The only way we can do any of those things is because we have been redeemed by Jesus and lived in that redemption by seeking to hand over control of our lives to Him.
In verse 2 the overcomers are described as standing beside a glassy red sea and singing Moses’ song of praise to God. This song as sun in the temple daily as a reminder of God’s deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt. Then the Israelites stood beside the Red Sea and sang that song. Here the faithful overcomers stand beside a glassy sea tinged with red and sing the same song. This is God’s deliverance, His final deliverance, not just a temporary one.
In verse 4 the people sing of all nations bowing before God. The Bible constantly mentions that at the final day all people will acknowledge God. Sadly, that final day will be too late for those who have chosen in life to not acknowledge God.
In verse 5 there is the imagery of the tabernacle of Testimony – the dwelling place of God in the wilderness and the location of the tablets of the covenant between God and Moses. The coming judgement is an expression of God’s great righteousness and a fulfilment of the covenant God has made with us since Abraham.
When I was first learning about the Bible a lovely mentor described the Bible as a beautiful epic love story. A story of God creating man, whom He loved, and man turning his back on Him then God acting throughout history to bring him back until the final chapter brought man back to Him. What an epic and beautiful story. And this story is real! Our mighty, loving God has been, is and continues to act through history to bring us back to that original relationship with Him. Now if that isn’t cause for worship I don’t know what is.
Praise God for His infinite love and patience and for being our Mighty God.


Posted By Nan

Revelation 14:1-20
This chapter appears to be a summary of what has been described in the previous chapters. It has been suggested that this chapter encourages the Ekklesia to not fear what has been described in the previous chapters.
The chapter begins with Jesus on the new Jerusalem with those marked with His name and that of His Father. These are the ones referred to in 7:3-10 when the angel came to earth to mark those who belonged to God. These are the ones who will be saved. In verse 3 they sing a new song about the experience of redemption. They are the only ones able to sing it because no one else has experienced redemption.
Jesus reassures in verse 13 that those who are persecuted in His name are blessed. This is an extension of the Beatitudes. It is reassuring to know that nothing done to us on earth will go unpunished. That makes it easier to accept the things that happen and be patient and trust in God. This is not to say we always have to “turn the other cheek” but we have to be willing to do so when God calls us to. How do we know when to do this? By asking Him what the response should be.
Verses 14-20 describe the time of judgement. Now it is too late. Judgement is come and all will bow before God and acknowledge Him. This acknowledgement is not the acknowledgement of salvation. This is the acknowledgement of judgement. Those who have refused to accept Jesus and those who allowed the mark of the beast to be marked on them are condemned. It is a sad fact that many will die and not many will be saved. This does not mean we stop praying for others or stop witnessing to them, it just means we accept the fact that not everyone will be saved. The quantity of those who are not saved is described as producing enough blood to cover 300 kilometres and be 2 metres deep. This represents a large number of people. If you find that hard, just think how hard it is for God. He loves all of us, even those who reject Him. And what will happen to these people? They will not die but will spend eternity in a place of condemnation. I have heard it said that they will have to spend eternity being separated from God and that will be a terrible thing to suffer. I don’t know if that is true or not, but I agree that would be a horrible thing to endure.




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