Have you ever heard the saying, “you should have been there!”

If you had you would better understand why I responded with the comment, “it was comparable to watching a tornado tear through a farm.” I made this statement in response to a friend who asked me what I thought of the morning’s study. Think about what happens in an event such as a tornado: The tornado rips through a farm, tearing the barn to pieces; quickly you begin to see two-by-fours swirling rapidly next to metal siding, a cow, and a farm tractor. Any and all of this could kill you. Now imagine someone asking you to describe what you see in the tornado. On which piece do you focus? That was the morning study.

Since the men’s study, for weeks now, has been attempting to address the presumed judgment of the nations, let’s see if we can find that theme in scripture.

With some frequency, the teacher has been referring to Matthew 25:31,32. Unfortunately, the reading always seems to end with verse 32, and therefore falsely conveys a horrific judgment upon all. Let’s look at this together, and I will use the NIV, a translation I cannot stand, but it is a simple read.

Matthew 25:31-32 NIV “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. (32) All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.

Without knowing the context, we assume that what Jesus said in Matthew’s gospel applies to the time immediately following the “tribulation.” Here is the problem with this thinking. Jesus responded to the disciples questions with answers that were specifically Jewish. This issue about when Jesus would return in his glory is one of those that is important to the heart of the Jew. While there is no denying that Jesus comes back at the end of the time of wrath and Revelation 19 makes that clear. Is that the end of the story? Not even close, as Jesus, in his glory, for the next thousand years, continuously sits upon the throne providing the light for the world.

At the end of the thousand years, Satan is released. Having had the time to deceive the world there is, once again, judgment. Matthew’s gospel calls this “the nations.” Focusing on the nations as countries can be a problem, as this is merely people, and a study of the words in Greek demonstrate that.

Although he denies the connection, the study leader makes the assumption that there is a particular judgment of the nations based on passages taken from Revelation chapters 19 and 20. I know this because he misquotes and takes these verses out of context, turning them into a horrific, merciless, and judgmental paragraph, which condemns everyone that remains to the lake of fire, simply because he sees no one specifically mentioned as coming from the book of life.

Revelation 19:11-15 NIV (11) “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice, he judges and wages war. …”

Revelation 20:4 NIV “I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. …”

Revelation 20:11-12,15 NIV (11) “Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. … The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. .. (15) “Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.”

Since there is a consistent placement of Jesus sitting in judgment, let me point out several fallacies that I can see when using these verses.

  • In general, we do not see Jesus, alone, sitting upon a throne during the thousand years. Yes, Revelation 20 speaks of Thrones, but not just one.
  • The question posed by the disciples at the beginning of Matthew 24 was, when will you come back as the Messiah we expected. We see this glorious return in Revelation 19 as he rides in on the White Horse. However, Matthew’s gospel speaks of His return as well. Matthew 25:31 “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.”

But what do we do? We ignore the undefined pause (noted by the period at the end of the sentence) and make a huge leap forward one-thousand years in time, to where Jesus/God gathers all the nations before him. Is that a problem? Not to the Jew, for they understand that when the Messiah comes his reign will last forever. It can be an issue for us though because we have a Western mentality that segments this event. What the Jew treats as a glorious event is merely one long migration into eternity.

  • Revelation 20:4 tells us that the dead are brought before the throne.

Matthew did not mention their physical condition, why should he, for the idea of an eternal soul is an integral part of the Jewish understanding.

Consider these dead and what they might mean. Since Revelation 20 tells us that Satan will be released after the thousand years for the specific purpose of deceiving the nations, we also know that God slaughters all those who rise against Him in this battle. So let me make an assumption here. Having joined themselves to Satan’s cause, a final battle, can I then say that these dead have made their choice as to whom they will serve?

Because we only concern ourselves with the dead here in Revelation 20, we need to be asking who the dead are. We already know that many died in this final battle, but this gathering does not exclude people throughout the generations. And, since the only thing that seems to die is the mortal body, are these actually dead?

Nowhere in Revelation 20:4 does it name Jesus sitting in judgment over the nations. It does, however, tell us that there are those who have been given authority to judge. Here are a few instances from Scripture where the judges we see are defined.

1 Corinthians 6:2 NIV Or do you not know that the Lord’s people will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases?

You should be asking yourself a couple of questions here. The first is, who are the Lord’s people? And the second might go like this; I thought we were talking about the nations, and yet this says the world. So is it the world or the nations? Before I address either of those, I want you to see the NASB translation of the same sentence.

1 Corinthians 6:2 NASB Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? If the world is judged by you, are you not competent to constitute the smallest law courts?

The Lord’s people initiated with Israel. God has never decommissioned them. He did, however, punish them severely for their disobedience. Unfortunately, that punishment continues through the time of wrath and judgment, which we foolishly call the TRIBULATION. We, the church, have had the fortune of being adopted into the family and likewise gained the title, the Lord’s people.

There is another group of individuals called saints in scripture entitled to carry the title, the Lord’s people, the martyred saints. It is always good to have scriptural backing for your statements, and besides, most people want proof so here goes.

Revelation 20:4-6 NASB “Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. (5) The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection. (6) Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these, the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.

A quick tally of those reigning gives me: the church and now the martyred saints, which also reign with him. Note the phrase, “with Him.”

Scripture tells us that Jesus told his disciples that they would reign in judgment with Him. Look at this passage in Luke’s gospel where Jesus is talking to His Jewish disciples.

Luke 22:28-30 NASB “You are those who have stood by Me in My trials; (29) and just as My Father has granted Me a kingdom, I grant you (30) that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

The “you” he mentions, were the disciples, and the trials that Jesus speaks of are the ongoing events, including the beatings, scourging, and the cross. For their dedication, both now and in the future, Jesus tells them, they will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes. While this does not answer any direct questions about a judgment of the nations, they are indeed sitting in judgment over Israel – the twelve tribes. It does, however, give us a huge clue about an aspect of the twenty-four elders, whom we also find sitting upon thrones. While Luke’s Gospel speaks of the elders sitting on thrones judging, I see no direct correlation between the elders and judgment in the Revelation. Since the Jewish law states that there must be two or three witnesses to make a case, then based on the fact that we can only find one witness, I would be hesitant to make a case out of this.

If I were to draw a conclusion from what I have pointed out so far, it would be to say that I see judgment handed off to the church and the martyred saints. Considering the horrendous treatment these martyred received, it is a logical choice. I am not so sure God operates like that, but it makes sense to me.

Focusing specifically on judging the nations.

No matter what my conclusions the adamant will still insist that Jesus is to judge the nations; And, as I pointed out, they pull aspects from Matthew 25: 31-32 and Revelation 20, beginning at verse 11 to make their case. In doing so, they create a theory from the various scriptures, so that they can validate their claims. I am going to start with Matthew 25 since that one comes up most frequently.

When trying to ascertain what scripture is saying to me, I need to understand the context. In this case, it begins in Matthew 21, where Jesus, not because of some innate connection with the Father, but through understanding, like the prophet Daniel, knew that it was time to ride into Jerusalem, on a young colt, as a KING should.

I cannot begin to fathom the excitement the disciples felt as they thought, He is finally going to step up and reign as the King for which they had longed. That excitement was short-lived, for just minutes later he was clearing the outer courts of the temple, chasing vendors, people, and the elders out; His actions brought a verbal firestorm, and the disciples had nowhere to hide. The rhetorical barrage between Jesus, the priests, and elders, lasted for two days, neither did he take the throne as they had imagined. Exiting town Jesus heads toward the mount of Olives; we now find the disciples struggling with something intelligent to say. I probably would have done the same thing they did. Passing by the temple, the symbol of Jewish tradition and the focal point of Jewish pride, it seemed to prevent them from seeing Jesus as the Messiah. In response to their statement, Jesus told them the temple would be destroyed. Trying to redirect their focus He tells them what is coming. This response from Jesus prompts a short string of Jewish-oriented questions, which He meets with a long response that was specifically Jewish in nature. This Jewish orientation is what we see in Matthew 24 and 25.

If I approach what Jesus said, with even a minimal amount of Jewish-oriented thought, I will have a greater understanding. In Matthew 25: 31 – 46 an aspect of His response includes the statement, “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him.” To the Jewish mind, “coming in His glory and all the angels with Him,” would have been highly symbolic, prophetic, and indicative of when He would return as the Messiah/King Israel anticipated. It makes sense, for Jesus is painting a picture of the time after the period of wrath and judgment when He will physically come back to earth. Yes, this time of glory includes the migration into eternity. So, the Son of Man, coming in His glory is what we understand to be the physical, second coming of the Messiah. This second coming includes what is defined in Revelation 20 beginning with His reentry into the physical world, which we see described in Revelation 19:11, and culminates with the Great White Throne judgment.

In Revelation 19 He comes riding with the sole purpose of judgment; this is evidenced by the visual that he is covered in the blood of His enemies.

  • If this is the sole judgment of the nations or merely an aspect, it should not matter for it could all be over in a second. But, if it takes a few days, what is that to us? There is no way it will take God a thousand years to bring judgment, culminating with the White Throne.

But what do we do when we look at Revelation 20, where Jesus/God takes a seat and passes judgment upon some of those gathered before Him, we extend his judgment over the nations across the span of the millennial reign to the moments just after the years of wrath. We do this because we are not clear on what Scripture says, and we allow foolish teachers to feed us this garbage without question. (P.S. – You can have graduate degrees and still be a fool.)

  • If this is the sole judgment of the nations – then why are survivors among the nations made to come to the New Jerusalem every year, participate in the Feast of Tabernacles, and bow before Him.
  • If this is the sole judgment of the nations – And, you teach that this includes a final decision and a one-way ticket to hell, then why would there be any nations left to deceive after the thousand year reign?
  • If this is the sole judgment of the nations – then why, in both scriptural references, does he also show mercy to some and give them entrance into the kingdom?

While judgment might be what is happening, the argument, initially presented by the study leader, was intended to be a concise, chronological representation of what he thinks he sees in Scripture. What it turned out to be, was a convoluted merger of multiple verses that cover two different time frames.

In Matthew 25:32-46 it does say that the nations will be gathered to Him.

Yes, but if that was all you based your understanding on, then you have a problem, for the Greek word used here for nations is ethnos, and means Gentiles, people, or a people of similar habits. Why that could be anybody; And, it would best be thought of in that manner. So Matthew’s Gospel is telling us that people will be gathered before him. Mind you; they will be from every corner of the world, but they will be there.

Since, in the broader spectrum, people are not quite nations, what evidence do we have that all nations will be gathered to Him?

Isaiah 2:4 tells us that, “He will judge between the nations, And will render decisions for many peoples, And they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, And never again will they learn war.”

While judgment is spoken of, so is the concept of rendering useful decisions for people, somewhat less judgmental than I expected to find.

The following verse in Isaiah 34:2 is rather grim.

Isaiah 34:2 NASB For the LORD’S indignation is against all the nations and His wrath against all their armies; He has utterly destroyed them, He has given them over to slaughter.

Sure, this speaks of all, but that is never the case. [I say this because I have read Matthew’s account and the account in Revelation 20. Both speak of those who are granted mercy and entrance into the kingdom of God, based upon their works. That causes most of us in religious circles great grief because we are hard pressed to explain it when compared to what the majority of the New Testament tells us, that it is faith, not works that grant our acceptance into the kingdom of God.]

In Deuteronomy chapter 13, God is speaking to Israel about false prophets and how to identify them. If found out the community was to kill the prophet by stoning them. This method of death is a horrific event, even without dragging the entire community into it. However, God gave these instructions with an express intent, which we see in:

Deuteronomy 13:11 “Then all Israel will hear and be afraid, and will never again do such a wicked thing among you.” (NASB)

Did that happen? I think it would be safe to say that every male among the Israelites camp heard this word. (I said every male because it was a decidedly male authority structure back then and it would have been expected for the men to pass this information along. What if that did not happen, could I still say that all Israel heard? ) You would think that all Israel would have wholeheartedly followed these instructions, but they did not.

If I consider the Hebrew children in Babylon, where Nebuchadnezzar is demanding that ALL bow before the image (The assumption here is that EVERYONE is there) one might suppose that Daniel, a highly respected leader, would have been there too, and yet he was not.

I think it is clear to say that the word all is a generalization. Does this understanding diminish God in any way? Not at all, it merely reveals how merciful God truly is.

An attempt at a final thought:

Confronted by what I see in God’s word, I need to submit to His authority and change my understanding, even if it challenges every tradition and false teaching I have ever learned. Grasping His mercy over judgment is not difficult for me, for He has shown great mercy to me. My problem is, how do I explain a mercy I do not fully understand, nor comprehend. I cannot adequately explain why it appears that in both Revelation 20 and Matthew 25 people are granted entrance into the kingdom of God based on their good works. Which by-the-way, is very clearly explained in Matthew 25 when Jesus responds to the sheep, that your acts of showing kindness to Him when He was: hungry, thirsty, in prison, had no clothes, etc. I think you get the picture, and a predominant visual is Jesus in prison. That never happened, and so I must assume that He is in or represented by this broad range of people; And, the little ways we help them, is doing what? Apparently, stepping outside of our selfish desires, if even for a minute. Since I was taught that the guarantee of my salvation came through acceptance by faith, I am going to stick with that. Having tried gambling I can tell you that I am not good at it; And, though occasionally compassionate, I am not going hope that the one sandwich I gave a person is going to buy my way into heaven. I came to understand who Jesus was and is; I also know what He did for me by giving His life, and I am putting my life and trust in that.

Grasping His mercy over judgment is not difficult for me, for He has shown great mercy to me. My problem is, how do I explain a mercy I do not fully understand, nor comprehend. I cannot adequately explain why it appears that in both Revelation 20 and Matthew 25 people are granted entrance into the kingdom of God based on their good works. Which by-the-way, is very clearly explained in Matthew 25 when Jesus responds to the sheep, that your acts of showing kindness to Him when He was: hungry, thirsty, in prison, had no clothes, etc. I think you get the picture, and a predominant visual is Jesus in prison. That never happened, and so I must assume that He is in or represented by this broad range of people; And, the little ways we help them, is doing what? Apparently, stepping outside of our selfish desires, if even for a minute. Since I was taught that the guarantee of my salvation came through acceptance by faith, I am going to stick with that. Having tried gambling I can tell you that I am not good at it; And, though occasionally compassionate, I am not going hope that the one sandwich I gave a person is going to buy my way into heaven. I came to understand who Jesus was and is; I also know what He did for me by giving His life, and I am putting my life and trust in that.

I cannot adequately explain why it appears that in both Revelation 20 and Matthew 25 people are granted entrance into the kingdom of God based on their good works. Which by-the-way, is very clearly explained in Matthew 25 when Jesus responds to the sheep, that your acts of showing kindness to Him when He was: hungry, thirsty, in prison, had no clothes, etc. I think you get the picture, and a predominant visual is Jesus in prison. That never happened, and so I must assume that He is in or represented by this broad range of people; And, the little ways we help them, is doing what? Apparently, stepping outside of our selfish desires, if even for a minute. Since I was taught that the guarantee of my salvation came through acceptance by faith, I am going to stick with that. Having tried gambling I can tell you that I am not good at it; And, though occasionally compassionate, I am not going take a chance that the one sandwich I gave is going to buy my way into heaven. I came to understand who Jesus was and is; I also know what He did for me by giving His life, and I am putting my life and trust in that.

One of stories/parables we read about is the vineyard and those hired to work it. We find this in Matthew 20. As the day is coming to an end, the owner hires others for the same pay as those who started at day break. Having worked all day in the hot sun, they are mad and do not think that is fair, and they tell him so. Well, that is many of us, and, as I point out these things I see in scripture, this is almost word for word what I hear. These guys I sit with, steeped in their religious tradition and imposed rules, have suffered their entire lives as they restrained themselves from doing the things that “world” does. And, now they are incredulous at the possibility that God would show mercy and allow someone into the kingdom (our payment if you will), and they do not have to do anything.

Since I was taught that the guarantee of my salvation came through acceptance by faith, I am going to stick with that. Having tried gambling I can tell you that I am not good at it; And, though occasionally compassionate, I am not going hope that the one sandwich I gave a person is going to buy my way into heaven. I came to understand who Jesus was and is; I also know what He did for me by giving His life, and I am putting my life and trust in that.

Monday morning men’s bible study. Where every week is a fiasco and this week was no different as it initiated with:

“What does pleading the blood mean?”

It should have been subtitled,

Why we don’t do this anymore.”

Thank God we don’t.

The so-called Bible study took a broad swath through the Old Testament as the substitute leader tried desperately to find and then create scenarios from the law and other examples. Since that failed miserably, he sought to get us to consider the children of Israel, in bondage, under Egyptian rule. He said, “putting the blood on the doorposts, not only demonstrated the power of God but also showed God’s mercy, for anyone could receive that mercy by entering in under the roof of that house.” [ Go read about the Passover in Exodus 12.]

While there is some truth in what he said, it is twisted, and the implication takes God instructions far beyond the context of bringing Egypt to its knees. When you consider the nature of the angel that passed over the land, you see that it had one purpose, kill every first born. Unfortunately, the command was a blanket statement meant to force Israel into compliance as well. Painting the blood of the lamb on the door posts caused the angel to move on.

Within seconds someone said, “that mercy could have applied to the Egyptians as well.” I responded with a loud yes. The ancient one and overseer of the group gave me an odd look, so I began to elaborate. Caleb!

Caleb was not a Jew (think about why a man was a Jew), in fact, Caleb was a descendant of Esau, an Edomite, and they, in time, gave Israel a tremendous amount of grief through their descendants. And yet, Caleb attached himself to Israel in such a way, as to be one of the spies that went into the promised land and eventually received a portion of that land as an inheritance. So, yes, those Israelis could have invited any or all the Egyptians to join them under the covering of the blood because this night is going to be a bad one. We know that Caleb took advantage of that protection and never left their side. Why he even became a valiant warrior for Israel.

There are a thousand sermons one could preach on the blood. How difficult can that be when the Bible has absolutely no inference of “pleading the blood?” Yes, it is true, there is nothing in the bible about pleading the blood (assuming Jesus blood) over a person or demonized thing, which is how I primarily heard the phrase used.

If there were a moment in time where “pleading of the blood” might have come in handy would have been the time that desperate father brought his demonized child to Jesus; but, we did not see that happen. Note: The father said, I brought him to your disciples, and they could do nothing. Isn’t that odd? Look this up in Matthew’s Gospel chapter 17 verses 14-18.

How does one spend that much quality time with God and not have some rub off on you? But it did rub off; we know this because eventually, Jesus sent them out in pairs, giving them specific instructions, saying, pray in my name – Jesus name. When they came back, they were excited because even the demons responded to them in your name. So what was going on with the man and his son? Consider the number of people that followed Jesus and deemed themselves disciples, around 120. Pick one. I don’t see Judas Iscariot healing anyone, but then who knows.

As for “pleading the blood”, staying focused on ritualistic practices is nothing more than legalism, and Paul preached in opposition to that. Take the time to read Paul’s letter to the Jewish converts of the Galatian province. Here is a small portion.

Galatians 3:10-13 KJV For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continues not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. (11) But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. (12) And the law is not of faith: but, The man that does them shall live in them. (13) Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangs on a tree:

So, what does Scripture say about the blood?

  • Ephesians 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus you who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

    Here is where you have to think. Where, and why was Jesus blood spilled out? At the cross and upon the altar. [The things in the temple were merely a copy of the heavenly things.]

  • Colossians 1:20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross.

    Peace through his blood? Yes, that thing in us that causes us to miss the mark – continually, also separated us from God.

    Due to Adam’s treason we became owned by the god of this world, Satan. God, through his son, purchased us back to himself.

    I see two things here: The sin that separated, and someone else owning us. God resolved both of those things through the Son, and that brought the peace back. Yes, I get it. You struggle with peace, but I can guarantee you that you are not feeling that push back from God, it is all wrapped up in your inner struggles and failures. Make up your mind to run to him. He is looking for you and will run to you.

  • Hebrews 9:14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

    the blood of Christ” offered to God, so that you can purge your conscience and serve the living God.

  • Hebrews 10:19 “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,”

    We have this boldness not through pleadings, but through His act of righteousness.

  • Hebrews 12:24 “And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling,..”

    He already did this, and, if you know your bible, then you know that He is never going to offer himself up again. Once was enough/sufficient.

  • 1John 1:7 “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin.”

    We have a piece of wisdom that sounds like this, he who says he has no sin is deceiving himself. So, even though we have been cleansed from all sin by that blood, we still continue to sin. Now, what do we do? You remember that you have been washed by that blood, and God needs to do nothing more to make you righteous in his eyes. If you are bothered by your obvious need to sin, then make some huge adjustments and trim some people and things out of your life, especially since they are a snare to you.

    To say you have no sin just makes you look stupid, for sin, that natural propensity to miss the bulls eye, is built into us. Fortunately, there will be a day in which we will be changed, and that broken aspect of us will be fixed. Until then, stay humble and honest before Him. He likes that.

When it comes to the wild idea of pleading the blood, here is the closest thing I see:

Rev_12:11 “..they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony.” Since the passage gives us nothing in explanation, it is foolish to make assumptions – that will only get you into false teaching.

Overcome = subdue

by = through the channel of an act

blood = literally of men or animals. Since sacrifice does nothing and is a merely legalistic ritual, then this has to be their blood being spilled.

If you read this in the Amplified, you get this: And they have overcome (conquered) him as a result of the blood of the Lamb and by the utterance of their testimony.”

Many people struggle with the Revelation; maybe it is our traditions that feed into this fight. Let me explain. One of the theories I hear, speaks of the Holy Spirit being removed from the earth along with the church. Two reasons why that cannot possibly be: 1. They, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are one, and you are not removing God from the picture, no matter how things look. 2. It is the Holy Spirit that draws all men to the Father, and John tells us that the number of martyred for their testimony will be uncountable.

So, tradition, as in “pleading the blood” might be how they overcame. At this point, you would be making the assumption that they successfully withstood the beast. But where do you see these? In heaven among the martyred, so that did not work. Well, logic tells us that overcoming is to win against an enemy. The problem with that is you are not asking God what winning looks like, and to him, these slaughtered like lambs, they won.

Another aspect of understanding is not to overlook simple words. An example of that comes from the word “by.” When you look that word up in the Greek, you find that it means through the channel of an act. The act, in this case, would apparently be their defiance by saying NO!

Since Ephesians 6:11-18 was thrown into the mornings teachings, let’s look at that for a moment.

I suspect he brought it up because it mentions blood. So, let’s look at this together.

Ephesians 6:11-18 KJV Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. (12) For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (13) Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (14) Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; (15) And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; (16) Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. (17) And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: (18) Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

Okay, this is one of those context things. In the statement, Paul says, “we wrestle not against flesh and blood.” Since, in truth, we fight every day, and those opponents, especially those with big mouths, look like humans it is easy to lose focus and think that your enemy is people. They are not, our battle is entirely spiritual as you stand against highly active fallen angels, who are motivating people to do evil.

I think the second reason he tossed this out is that he believes that “the blood” should be part of our spiritual arsenal. While that might seem reasonable to you, it is not unless Scripture teaches on it or demonstrates it in use. Without either of those things happening in scripture, this concept of pleading the blood of Jesus is nothing more than a fairy tale and a tradition.

There could be a third reason. However, it is purely emotional. For a variety of reasons I left the Assemblies of God in my early twenties, and none of them were because I hated it. Consider that if you are brought up in an atmosphere, you will either despise it someday or always have some fond emotional attachment to it. So, as a young man, I frequently heard things like “pleading the blood;” although this may have been mostly at home, there is still a familiar comfort associated with the phrase. Does that make the saying right, healthy, or godly? No, it just makes it familiar.

If you understand the concept of brainwashing at all, then you know that creation of a perverted familiarity is a very useful tool for getting people to adjust their “normal” behavior. An example: violent, gory, war games. They are one of the tools used to get young men prepared to kill the enemy, especially when the enemy looks like a human being with thoughts, feelings, and family like yours. If you make them nothing more than a target with no consequence, then it is easy to treat others without regard. What do you think motivates gang mentality?

No doubt, Jesus blood was spilled at the cross, and there is no question that the same blood was splashed upon the heavenly altar and utensils, but it also brought cleansing and atonement for our sins, just as the lambs that were slain under the Old Testament law. When Jesus came, with him came forgiveness – a making of all things right in God’s eyes. What Jesus did in His death and resurrection, paved the way for our return to fellowship with the Father, but do we do that? No, most do not, but the number that does is uncountable.

It is evident to me that some of my greatest impacts have come from exposing my frailties and successes in recovery. We all have things that push our limits, and false teachers are one of mine. I subject myself to some of them every Monday. My girlfriend asks me why I keep going if it makes me so angry, I have given that much thought, and I think I stay there because I need fellowship and the twisted concepts they conjure, give me a good measure of how confused the majority of us are. This confusion is why I have a burning desire to teach the Bible.

I want you to understand something. I am not naive; I know I cannot change anybody. But, what if I could get people to think and then apply some logic and knowledge to the Word of God. Maybe then we would not say things like the Revelation is difficult and we will probably never understand it.

Continuing with our look at Matthew 25: 31- 46.

I am a huge advocate of context, and since the passage, I want to begin with picks up in mid-sentence let’s bring those that do not follow closely up to speed.

“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. “All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats;” (Matthew 25:31-32 NASB)

In the word picture Jesus paints:

  • He comes in his glory.

  • Angels come with Him. (Not to mention the saints.)

  • He will sit upon His glorious throne.

  • The nations are gathered before Him

  • And, out of this crowd, He separates them (as though a judgment or assessment has taken place.)

Why should or would any of this be important?

Because as a Jew you would have been expecting the Messiah to come back in this manner.

When Jesus comes in his glory

When Jesus comes in his glory

One of the biggest problems in the “Christian church” is that we have cast aside our understanding and acknowledgment of our root-stock – Israel. This lack of knowledge is probably the main reason our Bible study leaders tell us things like the Revelation is a hard book to understand. The good news for us “Gentile” followers of Christ is that we were adopted – grafted into the good root stock and therefore have every right to the same information and rich heritage that Israel had. Now, because this background information was meant to be essential to the root stock, perhaps this knowledge should be something that excites us as well.

We know that Israel awaits the Messiah. Sadly, Jesus, the Messiah, has already come, but he was not accepted, and thus, God’s anger comes against Israel (Take the time to read Jeremiah chapter 5.) The good news is that followers of Christ get to bypass God’s wrath that is coming upon the earth as the prelude to the physical return of Jesus.

For people everywhere report how you welcomed us and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus, our deliverer from the coming wrath. (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 NET.)

But since we are of the day, we must stay sober by putting on the breastplate of faith and love and as a helmet our hope for salvation. For God did not destine us for wrath but for gaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that whether we are alert or asleep we will come to life together with him. (1 Thessalonians 5:8-10 NET.)

One other quick thing.

Since we accepted Christ, a profound and lasting relationship, we have transitioned from being Gentiles into being the Church.

Alright, take notes here. There are only three people groups in the world, as far as God and the Bible are concerned. They are The Jews; the Church, and, the Nations/Gentiles. If you are a follower of Christ, even though you came out of the nations or were first a Jew, you are now part of the group known as the Church.

The Jews anticipated the Messiah’s coming in this manner before they were Jews.

By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith, he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow-heirs of the same promise; for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” (Hebrews 11:8-10 NASB)

Abraham was not a Jew unless you wish to deem him one because he subjected himself to the sign of the covenant agreement he made with God through circumcision. Even then, the number of them were not called Jews until much later in their history, after Judah. For the longest time, we see the nation referred to as Israel, and this begins with the captivity in Egypt. So, long before there was a Jew, there was this man, Abraham. A man who believed God. And he, with no concept of what was to come, looked for this home, “whose architect and builder is God.”

All the nations will be gathered before Him.”

In trying to understand who the nations are I have to ask some questions:

  • What is the context of the question that evoked this response?

    The question asked by the Jewish disciples was a response to Jesus saying the temple will be destroyed almost immediately after they elaborated on its greatness, as they walked toward the Mount of Olives. They asked two questions: One had to do with the destruction of the temple, while the other was specific to the time when He would come back as the Messiah. (Remember, the disciples did not grasp who He was until sometime after His resurrection.)

  • What is a Jewish understanding of the nations?

    In giving Israel its admonition to go and take the land, God tells them what He will do to the nations.

    Exodus 34:24 NASB “For I will drive out nations before you and enlarge your borders,..”

    An aspect of Israel’s understanding is that the nations have caused them to stumble and fall.

    Leviticus 18:24 NET. ” ‘Do not defile yourselves with any of these things, for the nations which I am about to drive out before you have been defiled with all these things.

    And, there is an expectation of judgment coming upon the nations.

    The LORD of hosts has sworn saying, “Surely, just as I have intended so it has happened, and just as I have planned so it will stand, to break Assyria in My land, and I will trample him on My mountains. Then his yoke will be removed from them and his burden removed from their shoulder. “This is the plan devised against the whole earth, and this is the hand that is stretched out against all the nations. “For the LORD of hosts has planned, and who can frustrate it? And as for His stretched-out hand, who can turn it back?” (Isaiah 14:24-27 NASB)

  • And, who are the sheep?

    Since God has gathered the nations, it does not seem reasonable to think that any of these would be remnants of Israel. The nations were always the enemies of Israel/God. In the light of the Christian church, they are also perceived as those outside of a relationship with Christ. Sheep, on the other hand, are always God people. An example would be:

    “My people have been lost sheep. Their shepherds have allowed them to go astray…” (Jeremiah 50:6 NET.)

    However, it appears, based upon Israels own actions, that Israel has been deemed not to belong to God. (I highly recommend you read Jeremiah chapter 5 to get a better understanding of how God comes to this decision about Israel, His sheep.)

Jeremiah 5:9-11 MKJV Shall I not judge for these things? Says Jehovah. And shall not My soul be avenged on such a nation as this? (10) Go up on her vine-rows and destroy, but do not make a full end; take away her branches, for they are not Jehovah’s. (11) CJBi “For the house of Isra’el and the house of Y’hudah have thoroughly betrayed me,” says Adonai.

So Israel’s actions cut many of them off from God and placed them among the nations.

It is possible that you read passages like Matthew 25:32-46 you find yourselves asking, why no one else gets the benefit of God’s mercy at this time? And that leads me into the next section, so stay tuned.

iScripture quotations are taken from the Complete Jewish Bible, Copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. Published by Jewish New Testament Publications, Inc. www.messianicjewish.net/jntp. Distributed by Messianic Jewish Resources Int’l. www.messianicjewish.net. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

As the morning Bible study opened this week it was evident that something was different; half the men were not there. There is another group I am involved in which had at least twenty people attending when I first joined them, and it has dwindled down to two, myself and the remaining leader. I had seen this occur on several occasions, as well as when it happened to a group I co-led. I know what the lousy, demonic voice in my head says, “you played a role in their leaving”, but I know that is a lie. If you hear that kind of garbage in your head, then you need to take authority over it in the name of Jesus. If you don’t and allow that voice to rule your life, then you have made a stronghold out of it, given a foothold to the enemy of our souls – Satan, and, presented him with the freedom to torture you in other ways as well.

Long before I got involved in recovery I was hurting, and desperately began reaching out to anyone I thought would listen. Sadly, most turned their backs and walked away. A lady friend, a prophetic woman, stopped me one day and said, “you are drawing these (hurtful) people to you!” I could just picture myself walking around with a sign on my back that says, kick me! No one in their right mind would do that. To be honest, I was furious. Months later I heard God say this in explanation, “Because of agreements you made with the enemy, you have given Satan an open door into your life. And, because he knows your triggers, he is sending these people to you to keep you occupied, defeated, and distracted from what I have called you to do.” I am telling you this because this kind of attack, (and yes, there is depression and anxiety wrapped up in it,) has eaten up far too much of my life.

Another example of how the enemy attacked comes from a time when I was 25, shortly before I got married the first time. Not understanding how co-dependent I was I was not even trying to draw boundaries, nor was I in agreement with how God felt about me and therefore sought to find my identity in a beautiful girl (a classic mistake.) A youth pastor, from the church I grew up in, was leading a Bible study and the woman I was engaged to, went to it once. That man, allowing himself to be used by the devil, said to my future wife, “why are you going to marry that loser?” and said my name. He did this in front of the group because that was a sarcastic pattern with him. Foolishly, my fiance told me. Here is the problem; I allowed that comment to become a stronghold, that then fueled a raging hatred. In my mind, I built a prison and put him in it. I demanded recompense and retribution, things I came to realize he could never pay. I wasted so many years oiling the prison doors and keeping the rust off the bars; and, the only person that suffered because of my demands was me.


That same lady friend again stopped me one day, and said, You need to forgive these people you hold in your prison, who have hurt you. They can never repay the debt they owe you. And, as long you try to stay in control of your life and surroundings you are playing God, and God will never be a part of that. You have to forgive them! I had heard my mother use that phrase “forgive them” so many times, but when she said it, it meant be co-dependent and don’t you dare have boundaries. Just keep sticking your face out there and let them slap you. I told my friend, I do not even know what it means to forgive. She responded with the simplest of answers, “You release those people from the debt you think they owe you!”

We all find it easy to say, “I don’t know why it is so hard to (insert the hurtful attitude/habit you do not want to give up here) _______ ?” It’s only hard because you believe you have control, and therefore, go around doing God’s job. In your mind, you bring the constant pain upon them (yeah right). All the while your personal life is like a plane spiraling out of control toward the ground. One of the concepts you learn in Recovery is that you are powerless over persons and things.

By the way, I never did anything to this pastor I mentioned, outside of being friends with a young man that broke a bobble head ornament he purchased. He, like most perpetrators, merely chose me to be one of his victims, the target of what he thought was humorous abuse. Many of you have been subjected to abuses and need to forgive them. Here is what I said that gave me freedom again. “I release you, [insert name here], from any debts I think you owe me. You do not owe me anymore, in the name of Jesus.”

Did they owe me? Not really; in my head I suppose they did, but then we have all been forgiven a sin debt that none of us could pay; And, we were released from the punishment associated with that debt – sin. Consider that.

“the nations will be gathered before Him;..”

The morning bible study, at least for a few minutes, was focused on Matthew 25. This is the same section of scripture I have looked at for several weeks now. Out of this discussion came boisterous ranting and opinions, and, I can tell you from experience that they, in the majority, are not open to discussion. The ranting went along this line. That there is to be a judgment of the nations: by Jesus: as he sits on his throne, where everyone from the nations will be deemed to be sinners and sent immediately to hell. (My short synopsis.)

Because my father came to me later and tried to talk about it, I discovered where they are getting this idea that Jesus comes back and immediately goes into a judgment mode over the nations.

Matthew 25:31-32 KJV When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats:

I am not a grammarian; that may have been obvious to many of you, but I have enough sense to know that you use a colon to separate lists, in this case, aspects that are supplemental but could stand alone as a sentence. This is what we see as the passage transitions from verse 31 to verse 32 – “the throne of His glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations:..” Take this idea one step further and compare versions, you get colons, commas, and periods. I suppose it depends on upon your mood.

Every one of the men in the morning bible study, that have taken this position, have read this and made the time jump that puts verse 32 into the immediate time frame after the seven years of God wrath and judgment. This is an a faulty assumption and there is nothing that backs up their argument except for this passage in Matthew.

Verse 31 – “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory..”

As my father said, “once he sits down, is he going to get off the throne? No, so he sits in judgment.” I have a problem with that. The writer of Hebrews has had Jesus sitting upon his throne for over two thousand years. Since Jesus is already seated as King, why then would he get off that throne, come back riding a white horse and have a sword in his mouth? This is especially ridiculous when you consider that God could easily speak and destroy anyone who challenged Him.

Hebrews 8:1 Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens;

Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Although we do not see this in Matthew’s account, thrones are set up – you have to go Revelation 20 to see that. If you are going to include this aspect in your argument wouldn’t that leap between the two scenarios, connect them and make them equivalent.

Revelation 20:4 “Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them.”

The problem with what we see in Matthew 25 is that there is no descriptive of Jesus sitting in judgment. Why would that be? Because He has done all the judging that is necessary for the moment. Because the Revelation is a revelation of Jesus Christ, the entire time of wrath we call the tribulation has been a judgment.

To back this idea up, look at this:

Revelation 19:11-15 NASB (11) “And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. (12) His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. (13) He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. (14) And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. (15) From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.”

Why do you think the Holy Spirit saw fit to give you this statement in Revelation 19:11-15 indicating that when He comes in His glory “He judges and wages war”? Do you really believe that the God who will change His church into something entirely fit to be in the kingdom of God, in the twinkling of an eye, must sustain a thousand-year battle to carry out His judgment?

If all I considered was verse 32-34, where do you see a judgment? You don’t. If you are going to find judgment then it has to be in the separation of the sheep from the goats. In doing that you must go beyond the verses I offered in an attempt to reach for it. However, even then, without a word to the goats he invites the sheep into the eternal kingdom. It is not until He is done showing those He calls sheep mercy does He send the goats off to the lake of fire. And, note, there is no condemnation, merely that their names are not found in the book of life.

Matthew 25:32-34 KJV And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats: (33) And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. (34) Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

Matthew tells us that he gathers all the nations before him. If this is happening at the end of the “tribulation” years, then why? Sure, I get what you are doing, but since we do not specifically see judgment here, what else is going on?

Isaiah 66:15-18 KJV For, behold, the LORD will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. (16) For by fire and by his sword will the LORD plead with all flesh: and the slain of the LORD shall be many. (17) They that sanctify themselves, and purify themselves in the gardens behind one tree in the midst, eating swine’s flesh, and the abomination, and the mouse, shall be consumed together, saith the LORD. (18) For I know their works and their thoughts: it shall come, that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come, and see my glory.

But this passage in Isaiah does not say that they will continue to be punished; it says that they shall come and see His glory. Since we already understand that God/Jesus will gather all nations to Him after the “tribulation”, and we are not seeing a judgment from a great throne of glory, then what else could happen?

Zechariah 14:16-18 KJV “And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. (17) And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. (18) And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the LORD will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.”

Once again, He calls them to Him to worship Him. Yes, there are repercussions for not obeying this demand, but this is not the white throne judgment.

It seems that the consensus at bible study is that they want to see people die: they want to see people thrown into the lake of fire. Considering that we are admonished that we will be judged in the same way we judge, this should have people with this attitude shaking in their boots.

Consider death for a moment.

What does it mean to be dead?

Death is either a separation from the body or, it is a complete and utter separation from God. To have both would be the worst case scenario. God, having eliminated life from those who choose to do combat against Him, does not mean that they are immediately thrown into some compartment of hell where they await a final judgment. I nor you can say for certain where they are at this point, but we do have this from Ecclesiastes:

Ecclesiastes 9:5 BBE The living are conscious that death will come to them, but the dead are not conscious of anything, and they no longer have a reward, because there is no memory of them.

Why is that they no longer have any option of a reward? Well, look at what Revelation 20 tells us.

Revelation 20:15 NASB And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

No, God is not screaming at them with vile condemnations, you merely had to have your name written in the book of life.

In order for the men at bible study to make their argument, they combine two different scriptural scenarios, which they adamantly deny are the same event so that they are able to say that what we see in Matthew 25:31, 32 is a post tribulation judgment upon the nations. They immediately revert back to separating those scenarios by a thousand years and begin a tirade about how everybody gets sent to hell.

I told you it was a horrible assumption, but why can I say that?

Take Daniel’s prophecy of the seventy weeks of years as an example.

Daniel 9:24-27 KJV 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. (25) Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. (26) And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. (27) And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

All these prophecies have been fulfilled, up to and including the sixty-ninth week. But, As you can see, scattered throughout Daniel’s prophecy are sentences that start with “And”, just like we see in Matthew 25:31,32, and yet, most of us understand that verses 26 and 27 of Daniel 9, where it speaks of a people who shall come and destroy Jerusalem and the temple, as well as a “global” leader that confirms a covenant, are clearly applied to two widely spaced time periods; one is yet to come.

The 69th week was fulfilled with Christ on the cross. How do I know that? Because the 26th verse opens with, “And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself:” It continues to speak of the destruction of Jerusalem, but this has two fulfillment’s – one under the rule of Titus Vespasian in 70 A.D. The next verse, Daniel 9:27 begins with “And”. The presumption following this faulty logic should then be that Titus made a seven-year treaty with many, and would have taken us into the 70th week of the prophecy. But Titus did not do that, leaving us with a gap in time of over two thousand years, as we await the 70th week to befall the earth.

So, regardless of a period for punctuation and the usage of the word “And”, the seventieth week has been on hold for over two thousand years.

Lying in bed one morning, my mind kept running through examples to make my point about Matthew 25; there are examples much more convincing than this, but another might be in Revelation itself. Look at chapter three where the church age is coming to an end. Chapter four then opens with, “After this” and off we go into the time of wrath, God’s judgment upon the earth, the nations, and Israel. The crazy thing about this example is that even though it is clearly stated that we, though of us who are in Christ, are not destined for WRATH the events within this time could well be happening around us now. What do I mean? The waters turned to blood – while this might be literal there are massive red tides going on around the world. Not a big deal except that they rob the water of oxygen killing plant life and fish. How about earthquakes? Ever hear of the New Madrid fault? If you did not I would not be surprised because it seems to have only recently been discovered; either that or somebody thought it best we did not know. What about volcanoes? We have more exploding now, at one time, than ever before, and that seems to be an aspect of the time of wrath. Yet, volcanoes are also common in many parts of the world. And what about losing your life by decapitation, for your testimony? Since Islam is playing the major role in this depravity, do you think that Islam is merely practicing for some future event?

The point to this is that God’s timing is not the same as ours. Since there seems to be some urgency here I suggest you get ready. You do that by asking Christ into your life. Let Him take over, as many of you have not been doing such a good job running it.

When you read Matthew 24 and 25, do you ever find yourself asking, what is the context of Jesus answer to the disciples and the extensive response that carries on for two chapters? If you want to understand you have to go back to chapter 22 of Matthew to find out what motivated this string of explanations.

In Matthew 22 we find Jesus telling the disciples to get the young colt and its mother because Jesus was about to ride into Jerusalem like a conquering King – the king Israel had been waiting for.

It did not take long for all that to change, for when he arrived at the temple he cleared the outer courts, the courts of the gentiles by violently overthrowing their tables and chasing them, anyone doing business with them, and their livestock out of there with a whip he fashioned out of cords. This started a two-day verbal barrage with and against the Chief priests and elders.

Put flesh and blood on these characters called disciples and you realize that the disciples and Jesus were from Galilee and really had nowhere to go hide as Jesus went toe to toe with the elders, while they were in Jerusalem, therefore they stuck out like a sore thumb.
After two days Jesus directs them back to the Mount of Olives, one of his favorite places to commune with the Father. Stunned and shaken as they walked, they did not know what to say, so they did what anyone might have done, divert to the obvious because, once again, as far as they could see, He was not the awaited Messiah, as they previously thought. Walking past the temple, the pride and focal point of Israel, they point out the architecture of the temple. Really? God’s Son was standing right in front of them and all they could see is the temple.

Based on what He said in response they formulated two questions.

Matthew 24:3 NASB As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”

Those two questions are extremely Jewish and have everything to do with when he will come back as the Messiah they expected. Try keeping that in mind as you read Matthew 24, 25. As I said his response was long. It was as long as the question was deep and everything He said had application to the end of time when He would come back as the Messiah Israel recognized.

Matthew 25:31-46 is only one aspect of what he told them, and, has everything to do with God’s last piece of business before we move off into a perfect eternity, a relationship as God intended it to be, free of sin.

Matthew 25:31 NASB (31) “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.

When Jesus comes in his glory

When Jesus comes in his glory

As always, I admonish you to think like a Jew. That requires that you, as a Gentile believer, think outside the religious box you were brought up in and ask, what is the Jew, even today, awaiting? A Messiah that will come in his full glory ready to clean house, take the throne in judgment, and then, lead his people into eternity with him.

Because prophecy is embedded in patterns to the Jew these words, in a similar way, had already been stated on a previous occasion to the disciples. Aside from occurrences found in the Law and Prophets, this is the second time Jesus had said this to them, so it must be not only true but very important. We find the other instance in Matthew 19:28.
Should I want to dig I can find another reference to the glorious throne in writings of the prophet Jeremiah.

Jeremiah 14:21 KJV Do not abhor us, for thy name’s sake, do not disgrace the throne of thy glory: remember, break not thy covenant with us.

How could God disgrace his own throne?
This is reminiscent of a conversation that Moses had with God.

“I prayed to the LORD and said, ‘O Lord GOD, do not destroy Your people, even Your inheritance, whom You have redeemed through Your greatness, whom You have brought out of Egypt with a mighty hand. ‘Remember Your servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; do not look at the stubbornness of this people or at their wickedness or their sin. ‘Otherwise the land from which You brought us may say, “Because the LORD was not able to bring them into the land which He had promised them and because He hated them He has brought them out to slay them in the wilderness.” (Deuteronomy 9:26-28 NASB)

The impact of such a statement shows that Moses understood the character of God and that doing something such as this would make people see God as something He is not.

Let’s focus on this glory aspect for a moment.

While my earlier statements probably define how the Jew feels, what backs the definition and their feelings up?

Matthew 19:28 MKJV And Jesus said to them, Truly I say to you that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration, when the Son of Man shall sit in the throne of His glory, you also shall sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

So there is a clear anticipation of the Messiah coming back in a spectacular way.

The Complete Jewish Bible translates this verse like this:

Matthew 19:28 CJB Yeshua said to them, “Yes. I tell you that in the regenerated world, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones and judge the twelve tribes of Isra’el.

When then, does Jesus come back in this anticipated way?

At the end of the time of wrath. Yes, the entire period we love to call “the tribulation” is a time of wrath and judgment.

We see this all throughout the Revelation starting with the opening of the seals in chapter six. Revelation 19 starting at verse 11 continuing through verse 21 speaks of Him judging and waging war, and so I show it to you now.

Revelation 19:11 NASB And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war.

Here, though, is probably where many errors in understanding begin because it describes Him returning and tells us that He judges and wages war. The not so discerning perceive “He judges” to mean that of those thrones to be set up, Christ’s is one of them and now he sits on the throne in judgment for the next thousand years I suppose.

Consider what has taken place.

What we mistakenly call the tribulation, years of God’s wrath and judgment poured out upon the nations and Israel for rejecting Him, quite probably initiated by the rapture, has just ended.

I feel like I have to take a moment here and define something. Why would it be proper to say that the time of wrath/judgment may have been triggered or initiated by the snatching away of the church?

Romans 5:9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

1Thessalonians 1:10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.

1Thessalonians 5:9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,

Because of these “witnesses”, I see credible evidence telling me that as a believer/follower of Jesus Christ, that I, nor you if you follow Christ, are going to be subject to the wrath that is coming. Can you also see why it is important to label the time frame as it is meant to be, a time of wrath, not tribulation? Oh certainly, tribulation will be a part of it as it has always been for the believer. Maybe, that has been a problem too, as we invite people to Christ indicating that all their problems will go away. Sure, I want you to come to Christ primarily because you are loved and have a hope and future with the Father in eternity. But get real, you are signing up for warfare. Perhaps I need say nothing more than what Jesus said?

Matthew 10:34 KJV Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

Take the time to read Matthew 10:34 – 42, it will open your eyes.

Since God and Jesus are the same, then we could just as easily say that the last seven years have been Jesus judging the earth. Many will call this a stretch, so let’s see if we can find something more concrete for you.

Since much of what I have just mentioned comes out the Revelation, what does it say?

“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John,” (Revelation 1:1 NASB)

So the entire book then is a Revealing of Jesus Christ. Therefore, any application of God in the book is really talking about Jesus, because they are the same and in union with each other.

Then there is that whole event on the cross; what do you do with that?

While there is no denying that, as Matthew’s gospel puts it, He comes in Glory – which happens to mean judgment. But judgment for what?

Not sin, that was taken care of on the cross, as Jesus became sin for us.

“Sin” is such a lousy word for merely not hitting the center ring of a target, especially when you are having to compensate for everyday life events that act like sudden gusts of wind moving your hands off-center just as you release your shot or, you are sixty-two years old, as I am, and now your hands are starting to shake. How naughty of you! Get real, at least some of us are trying.

After reading scripture for all these years I feel like I can put the puzzle together because I have so many of the pieces. My problem is, I do not remember while I got the puzzle pieces from. Because of my memory slipping gears on me, I begin by doing searches for keywords I know are related to the subject. Since that did not work as well as I hoped, in this case, I sat there pondering for a moment. It is often in those moments, when I am quiet, that the Holy Spirit speaks. In this case, I was reminded to look in the letter to the Hebrews. (To you Gentiles, which is about all of us, this entire letter was written with the Jewish community in mind.)

For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast, and if every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by those who heard Him; (Hebrews 2:2-3 MKJV)

Since sin, the damaged condition we carry that required the payment of blood, was preventing us from a relationship with God, because it put us in the ownership of Satan, then someone had to pay the price for our freedom from this indebtedness and separation. Since there was no one on earth capable of doing that God sent his Son, untainted by what seems to be a genetic disposition to fail by sinning. That was Jesus Christ; And, He did it perfectly. His payment of his own blood purified us and paid for the freedom of us all.

What then would prevent a human from entering into heaven?

Well, just what the writer of the letter to the Hebrews said, to neglect so great a salvation. You, of course, are intelligent people and know full well what neglect is , don’t you? Really it is as simple as the child, who hears the request/demand to take out the trash, but, for whatever reason does not. They have neglected to do so. A synonym for neglect is to disregard. Now I understand, as foolishly disregarding a road sign that indicates there is danger ahead due to the road being destroyed by a flood can cost you your life.

I said all that to say, it is only our own bad choice to disregard God’s voice calling you to him that will put you through the eternal separation called hell.

Read Revelation 19 and 20 to get the full picture, but since we are talking about Christ sitting upon a throne where do we see a throne or thrones after the time of judgment?

Revelation 20:4-5 MKJV And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the witness of Jesus and for the Word of God, and who had not worshiped the beast nor his image, nor had received his mark on their foreheads, nor in their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (5) But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.

I do not see one throne set up with just Jesus seated as a king that judges. I see many thrones; as many as there are martyred saints.

“ the souls of those who had been beheaded for the witness of Jesus and for the Word of God, and who had not worshiped the beast nor his image, nor had received his mark on their foreheads, nor in their hands”

This horrific act of being martyred because your beliefs were different or challenged your oppressors, has happened to many already and it is not even the time of wrath yet; what happens to them?

1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 MKJV (15) For we say this to you by the Word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord shall not go before those who are asleep. (16) For the Lord Himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ shall rise first. (17) Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air. And so we shall ever be with the Lord.

Does all this mean that Christ will not be seated in the New Jerusalem during the thousand-year reign?

Not at all, for He will be the light.

Revelation 22:5 NASB And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever.

You need to spend time in the Word of God for yourself, for in that book all truth is found.

I am not a college trained theologian, I just use my brain, what I have left of it, and I think. As a friend said recently, “I am a Berean.” I guess that might imply that he is also from Berea, should I opt to take that literally. Anyway, I get the point, he does not accept things that sound wrong at face value.

[Caution: some things that sound right can be wrong, so I implore you to read things for yourself. It’s okay and their doing this made the Apostle Paul very happy.]

These questions come out of study book called, Galatians, Fully Accepted by God, published by Q Place, and written by Marilyn Kunz and Catherine Schell. I am not going out of my way to berate the resources but I am admonishing you to use diligence when using any resource. This particular question intrigues me because I can tell you that the standard religious response is limited and very legalistic. Sadly, that is the complete opposite of God’s nature and character.

This particular question intrigues me because I can tell you from experience that the standard religious response is limited and very legalistic. Sadly, limitation and limit are the complete opposite of God’s nature and character.

  1. (a.) How is a person reckoned righteous in God’s sight if he or she is Jewish?                 Prior to grace, they had to act according to the law and offer sacrifice. This was not an act of permanence because leaving the temple you could easily have someone on a camel back make an illegal left turn in front you. Cussing them out, dragging them off their camel and beating them appropriately would not have been considered righteous. Now, only minutes after offering your expensive sacrifice you are now stuck in your unrighteousness until the next sacrificial period. And, what happens to you should the Lord come then?

    [As followers of Christ it is not this way for us. Christ bought our freedom and forgiveness on the cross. This was an aspect of God’s commitment and really required nothing from us. Besides that, there was nothing we could do that would move that process along. However, our righteousness, in the simplest of terms, requires one action from us, acceptance. We have to accept that forgiveness. In doing that, He makes us righteous. If you choose to throw yourself into Him so many amazing things begin to happen within you as He transforms you into the likeness of the Son you are now a part of.]

    Is it just a coincidence that shortly after the cross the ability to sacrifice was gone as well? The answer is spelled out in Galatians 2:16.

    Galatians 2:16 NASB nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.

    (b.) If he or she is Gentile?

    Should the Gentile be treated any differently from the Jew?

    Of course not.

    Perhaps the Jew is held to a higher standard?

    That is entirely up to the Father. If we start that nonsense then we have moved over into judgment

    After all, the Jews had the law, while the Gentiles/nations, had what?

    The ability to decide for themselves.

    How is this true?

    Because the knowledge of good and evil is part of the “sin” that besets every person on the earth. That means that we also have the ability to choose good. Unfortunately this has proven not to be the case and because of it God destroyed all creation except Noah’s family, with a flood.

    In truth, the law of God applies to every man, or does it?

    In Matthew’s gospel, we find something that disrupts our thinking on this subject.

    Matthew 25:31-46 NASB “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. (32) “All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats;

    [“the nations” – The catching away of the church has come and gone; the time of wrath and judgment has come and gone; the thousand-year reign has come and gone and with it the opportunity to come and worship the LORD has come and gone. We are now at the end of time, standing before the great white throne. Who is this standing here then? Since what we see here in Matthew 25 and what we see in Revelation 20 are the same thing let’s look at that also.

    Revelation 20:5 NASB The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection.

    Revelation 20:11-12 NASB (11) Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. (12) And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.

    So, those before this throne are the dead. Dying, we suppose, without the LORD, with no possibility of attaining righteousness. And yet, He says to those in the group called sheep,Come, you who are blessed of the My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”

    They are shocked at this and ask how and why do we deserve this. Jesus response:For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; (36) naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.

    Now, the question is, where in here is the “law” that gives these the righteousness we expect, that allows them into the same kingdom that we have access to? You cannot see it, can you? Neither can I, so then my next and obvious assumption is that God is merciful beyond my comprehension.]

    I finished out Matthew’s telling of this account for your enjoyment.

    (33) and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. (34) “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. (35) ‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; (36) naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ (37) “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? (38) ‘And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? (39) ‘When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ (40) “The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’ (41) “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; (42) for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; (43) I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ (44) “Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ (45) “Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ (46) “These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” 

    I am not telling you to buy what I am selling. However, my admonition to you is to: read and think; look for and find his mercy. In doing so you will find his nature and character.

As children, we watched a show on television called, The Twilight Zone.

1959 Series Logo

1959 Series Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You were never quite sure if the person who was central to the story wasn’t living out part of a dream or their personal reality. In one particular episode “The Midnight Sun, the earth had fallen out of its orbit and was creeping closer to the sun. The obvious effect was a continuous and increasing heat, and people were dying.

I would venture a guess that Rod Serling borrowed this concept from the Revelation. How about that for a transition to our next passage.

Revelation 16:8-9 NASB The fourth angel poured out his bowl upon the sun, and it was given to it to scorch men with fire. (9) Men were scorched with fierce heat; and they blasphemed the name of God who has the power over these plagues, and they did not repent so as to give Him glory.

Land baked by a scorching hot sun.

Land baked by a scorching hot sun.

I want to tell you that everything we see in the Revelation is meant to drive men to God; but, what if it is not. What if it is merely meant to punish and judge? Do I then join the chorus of people we see in verse nine, blaspheming the name of God?

To validate my argument that the destruction is meant to turn people to God, the Easy-to-Read Version says, “But they refused to change their hearts and lives and give glory to God.” So then, it is true; God is trying to get their attention. And, since reasonable people would turn to him, God would have good reason to halt the pain and destruction.

(This is not a new concept, it is one of the primary reasons that Jonah did not want to go to Nineveh, because he knew that God would show them mercy and Jonah wanted them dead. This was such a driving force in him that he effectively committed suicide. I know, this all too hard for most to handle, but you would understand this if you read God’s word for yourselves.)

Jeremiah 18:8 ERV But if the people of that nation change their hearts and lives and stop doing evil things, I will change my mind and not follow my plans to bring disaster to them.

Did you notice that they blasphemed the name of God?

How many times have you heard the lament, I think I have blasphemed God and I am therefore unforgivable? More than a couple I imagine.

I seriously doubt that most of us have any idea of what it means to blaspheme.

It does not necessarily mean what you mother, who was trying to control some ugly behavior in you, meant when she told you your tongue was going to send you to hell. Jesus explained this concept very plainly when he harshly berated the Pharisees and elders for attributing his works to the devil.

Mark 3:28-29 KJV “Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: (29) But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation:”

Pay attention here, “All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies..:” “But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness,The Holy Ghost?! Many of my friends have loudly ranted that the Holy Ghost will be taken out of the earth with the church, at the rapture (or snatching away.)

These unidentified persons we see in Revelation 19:9, and there are many, “blasphemed the name of God who has the power over these plagues, and they did not repent so as to give Him glory.” Jesus Christ nor scripture makes a distinction between God and the Holy Ghost, and neither should you.

1 John 5:5-8 NASB “Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (6) This is the One who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ; not with the water only, but with the water and with the blood. It is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. (7) For there are three that testify: (8) the Spirit and the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement.”

Look at what Revelation 16:9 says once again.

Revelation 16:8-9 NASB The fourth angel poured out his bowl upon the sun, and it was given to it to scorch men with fire. (9) Men were scorched with fierce heat; and they blasphemed the name of God who has the power over these plagues, and they did not repent so as to give Him glory.

The passage does not say this condemns them to the eternal hell meant for Satan and his followers, we merely assume so. It is a logical assumption since they did not repent.

Let’s focus on the word blaspheme for a moment. The Greek word blasphēmeō means many things, all quite comparable. What we saw in Mark’s gospel was a defamation by attributing the works of God to the devil. Did they mean it when they said it? Wholeheartedly; I believe they meant to divert people away from God, the form of Jesus, back to Jewish tradition. So, yes, they meant what they said.

Blaspheme: G987 – blasphemeo – From G989; to vilify; specifically to speak impiously: – (speak) blaspheme (-er, -mously, -my), defame, rail on, revile, speak evil.

Scorched with fierce heat they vilified God, spoke impiously about him, defamed his name and character, reviled him and generally spoke evil of this God they previously chose to ignore; most people would.

Having now had many plagues, poisonings, and disasters befall them, these people still do not get it.

Get what? That there is a God and he is not theirs. Theirs, it seems, is willing to sacrifice them with no remorse. Assuming that many of these would be Muslims, then they would be calling out, “Allahu Akbar” (“god is greater.”) Since nothing will change and they have a strong belief that all fate is in the hands of Allah, then this will probably be the standard chant.

What would be the standard chant of the atheist or the apostate church, should they find themselves in this place?

At least the Muslims have a comprehension that Allah is in control and his decisions are beyond question. What a concept that would be for the Christian church, but I digress.

Where in this process is the blasphemy? Kind of hard to tell based upon one word. Doesn’t this imply that they added some descriptive language to their vocabulary, and, that they at a least acknowledge the possibility that there is some other entity out there, which, by their calculations, hates them?

What would help to make these verses about blasphemy make more sense? [Revelation 16:9 and Mark 3:28,29]

Perhaps forgiveness – the basis of our lives in Christ; the forgiveness that came from Jesus placing himself voluntarily on the cross to pay OUR debt, doing all that God intended; an action that paid the debt for everyone – whether it be in the past, present, or future. And, because of that voluntary submission and payment, these people we see in Revelation 16:9 are not judged for their sins either but for their rejection of Jesus as the Messiah over their life.

Because Jesus made this statement that we read in Mark’s gospel, “he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation”, then there must be some sort of imaginary line drawn in the sand that must not be crossed. Look closely at both verses, the line is difficult to see, because, as Mark pointed out this person or group, “is in danger”. There is no finality in that, but I can perceive a warning. Contrast this warning with one coming from a father speaking to his child who is playing on the edge of a fire pit filled with hot embers from a dinner cooked only moments before. Merely to warn of the danger does not mean that the father will push the child in. It certainly implies that the father is painfully aware of what can happen should the child push the envelope of safety and fall in.

What I see, even here, is God giving them an opportunity to receive mercy. You see something comparable in Revelation 16:9 when the Holy Spirit points out that, “they did not repent so as to give Him glory.The opportunity for mercy is there all along; and, because they choose not to take it, this is all on them as they are making the choice, not God.

Moving on.

Revelation 16:10 LITV And the fifth angel poured out his bowl onto the throne of the beast. And its kingdom became darkened; and they gnawed their tongues from the pain.

I never noticed this before: “And the fifth angel poured out his bowl onto the throne of the beast. And its kingdom became darkened;”

Darkness poured out over the throne of the beast.

Ask yourself a few questions here.

  • Do we know where his “throne” is yet?

    Not yet, but the whole world will almost immediately after the catching away of the church.

  • Does the “beast” present himself as a beast, or is that merely God’s designation for a man of such horrific actions?

  • How many beasts are mentioned in the book of Revelation?

Rev 11:7 the beast out of the Abyss;

Rev 13:1 the beast coming out of the sea;

Rev 13:11-14 another beast coming up out of the earth .. it spoke like a lamb. And, it exercises all the authority of the first beast whose fatal wound was healed;

Then how do we know which beast we are dealing with?

You might start answering this question by asking, what is the context of this beast, for there are several mentioned in Revelation. This one, in particular, is the Antichrist character. A human, carrying out the will of the dragon/Serpent, but he may or may not be completely aware of that the dragon is empowering him. In an effort to get a better feel for the context I went back to Revelation 13:5 where it says, There was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies, and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him.” While it may not be clear to others it is definitively clear to me that the mouth speaking is speaking of someone who represents the multi-headed beast now in these last days. 

Is it possible that he is here now? Certainly, and may be speaking on behalf of the broader spectrum beast even now. (Clues: The American President speaks in defense of Islam constantly; Angela Merkel defends the infidels that rape German women. Just pick a country where the “refugees” have come and what is the leadership doing, being their mouth, defending their abhorrent actions.)

Because the restrainer (the church) is removed by this catching away of the church, the antichrist spokesman’s authority to act with no restraint is unleashed upon the world for forty-two months. 42 months = Three-and-one-half years. Because we know that the beast/antichrist operates long enough to make a seven-year treaty with many, and then breaks his own treaty at 42 months. We can assume that this happens rather quickly.

But when we go back to Revelation 13:1 we see a description of something not found on the earth. A monstrosity with 10 horns and seven heads. One of those heads sustains a deadly wound and is assumed to be dead. In time, it comes back to life and becomes a deadly threat upon the entire earth.

And the dragon stood on the sand of the seashore. Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems [crowns], and on his heads were blasphemous names [defaming things that speak vile against God]. And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority. I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed. And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast; “(Revelation 13:1-3 NASB) Italics are added by me.

There is one entity on earth today that fits that description, and it is Islam. Investigate the end of the Ottoman empire and you will find that this was Islam in its finest and most destructive form for the day. Shut down, made illegal, and disbanded by the British in 1924, the world assumed the Islamic religion and its rampaging violence was dead. Not so. Even worse, it has been back with a vengeance since 1979 and the Islamic revolution in Iran. Are you looking for a one world religion, not necessarily one with a voluntary compliance, but one forced upon you? Then here it is.

Since the darkness is poured out on its kingdom, then where is that?

Again, that is not clear yet. If President Obama were to assume the role of Antichrist, would that make America the kingdom of darkness?

Give some thought to this:

  • I would have never imagined in my wildest of dreams that our American president would be a Muslim, but, it has become clear, by his own admissions and statements, that he is.

    ISIS, the extreme arm of Islam, has openly declared our president an infidel/Kafir, they did this because they demand a strict following of the Qur’an, making him the object of their rage as well. Trying to understand who controls these people is confusing at best and makes them and their ideals extremely dangerous. If they unleash their goals upon this country, then we too will end up looking like the bombed out cities of the Middle East.

  • Should this all happen before the elections and a new president comes into power, then what would it mean for America, or the country you live in, to go into what seems like a painful darkness?

    This makes little sense unless you understand: where we as a nation stand financially, and that North Korea, among others, wish to bomb America with nuclear weapons. Since we know that an EMP blast will have the effect of putting the lights out, for a very long time, and cause painful grief in so many other ways, then this becomes a real possibility.

  • Lastly, should President Obama move on to become the president of the U.N., would he take his kingdom global?

Things that stand out in my mind:

Since this head that sustained the mortal wound is clearly alive and well today, bringing its one world religion progressively to the nations by killing off for example 2.4 million Hindus in India in 1971, there is clearly something restraining this beast from running rampant, doing all that he pleases. We can see reference to that restraint in 2 Thessalonians 2:6-8.

NASB “And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed. (7) For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. (8) Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming;”

In case you did not know it, the restrainer is the church when it is in an active mode, praying, voting, making people aware and withholding the enemy. To make this more relevant, here in America we have elections coming up in November to elect a new president. Sadly, though, others get to make the decision for us about who we get to vote for. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I can vote for anybody, even write in a name like Dr. Ben Carson, but I might as well throw my vote in the trash at that point. That means I need to focus my attention on the horrid choices I have. Because I lean toward one political party over the other, I really only have two choices out of the four. Of the ones I will not have to consider, one should be in prison; the other is a Socialist. History has proven life under a socialist regime is a disaster unless you are a part of the global elite and very few are.

How about the options I do have? Neither of those is worth a dime. Blondie will become a vindictive dictator while the other has changed his song so many times no one should trust him. None-the-less, I will vote, putting my trust in the Holy Spirit and some intelligence to guide me.

Here is the bottom line on this voting stuff. The country I live in is done; those of us who are awake realize this. Therefore, whoever God places in office will be by his design, and I have to accept that. There is no hope in that, but there hope in Jesus Christ/God and his promise that no matter what happens we will have a home in eternity, free from violence, hatred, and pain, and it will be with the Father.

People do not make treaties unless there is some potential or real strife going on.

Ezekiel 38,39 tell us that this strife will happen, and it sounds like nuclear weapons are involved because teams are required to mark bodies while others must come and dispose of them. (This is the battle of Armageddon that gets mentioned frequently.) The ESV calls it Armageddon while the CJB refers to the place as Har Megiddo. Look up the Hebrew translation of Har Megiddo and you get two parts: a mountain or range of hills and the rendezvous. It quickly becomes obvious that God has a rendezvous planned.

Ezekiel 39:6 NASB “And I will send fire upon Magog and those who inhabit the coast lands in safety; and they will know that I am the LORD.

Even though we see the dead being buried for seven months, there will be those they cannot even approach for seven months.

Ezekiel 39:14-15 NASB “They will set apart men who will constantly pass through the land, burying those who were passing through, even those left on the surface of the ground, in order to cleanse it. At the end of seven months they will make a search. (15) “As those who pass through the land pass through and anyone sees a man’s bone, then he will set up a marker by it until the buriers have buried it in the valley of Hamon-gog.

If you have been paying attention to the not so headline news, then you would know that Russian and Syrian troops are on the border of the Golan Heights area of Israel. The potential for disaster is there already.

Ezekiel 39:1-2 NASB “And you, son of man, prophesy against Gog and say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I am against you, O Gog, prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal; (2) and I will turn you around, drive you on, take you up from the remotest parts of the north and bring you against the mountains of Israel.

Soon, all the nations will be gathered against Israel.

Zechariah 12:3 NASB “It will come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it will be severely injured. And all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it.

I mentioned a few lines ago that there is little hope for the nation but followers of Christ have a hope. What I did not mention is that this hope does not exclude you from the trials and tribulations of this world. In case you did not know it there is a clear distinction between the time immediately after the rapture called by many, “the tribulation”; however, God calls this time frame the time of his wrath or the “day of the Lord”. This time of wrath has no options, it comes from God – although we cannot exclude his usage of people, and is meant to punish. Tribulation, on-the-other-hand, is as Jesus said, a lifestyle thing for believers. What does that mean to me? It means that I have to mentally prepare for the worst case scenario. I am a grandpa, and if my granddaughter wants to go to the bathroom in a store that condones a man going into the woman’s bathroom, then I am going to protect her. The obvious aspect is that I might to jail over this. Not only do I have mentally prepare for something like this but everything I write is being monitored and the day will come when I will be arrested for expressing my opinions in a post. This is what you get with totalitarian and Sharia law, should you be entertaining that thought.

This is why I am telling you to find out who you are in Christ. You are the son of a carpenter, a man’s man and he is not telling you to be a wimp. Just the opposite. Remember, that voluntarily submitting to the Holy Spirits leading, and not fighting back takes tremendous strength also.

The Apostle Peter stood on the day of Pentecost and announced that “this is that”. What is that? The fulfillment of the prophecy spoken by Joel the prophet – a prophecy about the last days.

Joel 2:28-29 NASB “It will come about after this That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions. (29) “Even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.

Why would I need the power of the Holy Spirit during the last days? Because those who find themselves in this time of wrath will be under the most horrific pressure.

Joel 2:32 NASB “And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the LORD Will be delivered; For on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem There will be those who escape, As the LORD has said, Even among the survivors whom the LORD calls.

If you find yourself in this horrific time frame call upon the name of the Lord.

Do a word search in the Revelation and you will find that the word wrath first appears in chapter 6.

Why would that be important? Because of statements like this:

Revelation 4:1 NASB After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven, and the first voice which I had heard, like the sound of a trumpet speaking with me, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after these things.”

After what things? The end of the church age. The typical religious response to this is an argument.

Ask yourself what has happened in the earlier chapters of Revelation? Some, rather in-depth descriptions of literal and at the same time, symbolic church bodies. Remember, we are the church, not where we congregate, so it would be proper to refer to our gatherings as bodies.

This phase of the Revelation ends with the last church, the Laodicean church – the lukewarm one which God threatens to spew out of his mouth in disgust. One of my typical admonitions is to look around you. Are we, the church, on fire? Hardly. Most have no idea of what the fire is and we certainly are not going to attempt to ignite any either.

I suppose most of you feel rather safe in your religious cloaks. Hopefully, yours has a hood and you can pull it up over your head to help you isolate yourself from reality, the world, and God’s attempts at getting your attention. There is a problem in this though and you find it in Matthew 25.

“Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. “Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. “For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps. “Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep. “But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ “Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. “The foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ “But the prudent answered, ‘No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ “And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut. “Later the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open up for us.’ “But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’ “Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour. (Matthew 25:1-13 NASB)

Make note of some keywords and phrases:

  • ten virgins”

What does it take to be a virgin in this world today? Commitment? Certainly, but do not exclude the concepts of purity and separation from the world.

The important thing to take away from this is that God called them all and made no distinction.

We are not invited to judge their situations initially. Once they play their hands (A poker term indicating a showing of their cards to see if they win or not. Because so much of card playing involves bluffing you cannot ascertain truthfulness in the virgins) you can quickly see deeply into their hearts.

  • ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom”

All of them went and all had lamps with oil in them. What and where this meeting point is we do not ascertain from this passage. But, if I think like a Jew from this era it would make all the sense in the world. Since the groom would already have a contractual agreement with the family, he would be off building the house we would eventually be living in. This would be no secret. The idea behind what we see here is that he knows the hours it takes to do what needs to be done, especially after spending a long time working toward the goal of the wedding night. If he had hopes of being finished as the sun sets, giving him time to clean himself up and bring his betrothed home to his bed, he would have put out the word alerting her to have herself ready. She could easily be standing outside the gates waiting in anticipation, or we could find her, sitting by lamplight, in the living room of her parents. Because there are so many, let us assume a common meeting place or they are outside said gate.

  • Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep.”

Is he delaying, waiting for others to join the ranks? No, the invitations have been sent, the number has been determined. Don’t get sour thinking that you have the potential to be excluded. Just the fact that you are reading this tells me that you have been included. The scriptures tell us that God has no desire that any should perish. So he longs for all to come. Delays come, I experience them all the time, especially when I am working on my computer. I will often think, this will just take a minute, and forty-five minutes later, with my frustrations through the roof, I eventually get done.

Keep in mind that this young man has longed for this night for as long as it has taken to build the “house” that they will live in, and he will not wait any longer than he has to.

It says, “they all got drowsy and began to sleep.” Do you see any condemnation in that fact? No, but watch what happens next.

  • But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.”

The announcement comes, he is here, come and join yourselves to him – for eternity. What does this imply? He is now presenting himself, and, one other thing, which I am not sure why because it seems to give us the grace and time to trim a wick and refill an oil lamp.

  • Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps.”

All the virgins awoke, got up, trimmed the wicks in their lamps. Those that had extra oil poured the excess into their lamps, relight them and proceeded to join the groom outside.

What did the other five do? They arose, trimmed the wicks in their lamps, noted that they did not think they would have to wait this long and therefore brought no extra oil, and so, demanded that the others give them some.

Seriously – you demand? It is midnight. It has been dark for about six hours now and everyone reasonable is in bed, so, why don’t you go to the local market and see if you can buy some more oil and quickly, as the groom is out there NOW. Mind you, I see an unusual amount of grace and perhaps patience but not the time it takes to hunt for a store to be open, and this is not a society of convenience back then.

How and why all five go and come back at the same time (that is what we assume) is not known. Perhaps we have the idea that if we group together, much like the group of speeding cars I was meshed in with as we drove across the desert, that we would not get stopped since we are so many voices. We were wrong and we all got a ticket. If God is representative of the bridegroom, then it is obvious that he is not impressed by large whining crowds either.

“And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut.” (Matthew 25:10 NASB)

  • those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut.”

What makes the five who had to go shopping at midnight unready? A lack of lamp oil? It is obvious that the lamp oil is symbolic of something else, but what? A strong possibility is the Holy Spirit. Keep in mind that Jesus told this parable to a crowd of people who had not experienced the Holy Spirit. That tends to diminish this idea. Can I exclude sincerity and enthusiasm as the oil, not really.

Those who were ready were the ones who had extra oil. However long it took to wake up, trim their wicks and refill their lamps was apparently okay with the bridegroom.

What’s the point I am trying to make, especially since there is really no wrath involved?

That those who get locked out, are now subject to the wrath that is coming, and all because they are lackadaisical and ill prepared, when they could have been. If I could reach any, or all of them I would implore them to figure out what the oil is, and then get some.

All that being said, let’s move on to Revelation 16:2 and see how far we can get.

So the first angel went and poured out his bowl on the earth; and it became a loathsome and malignant sore on the people who had the mark of the beast and who worshiped his image. (Revelation 16:2 NASB)

The wrath started in chapter six and has been ongoing.

Note: God’s wrath is not necessarily associated with man’s wrath, however, the two of them will run concurrently.

I would love to tell you that the mark of the beast will be exclusive to the half way point of the seven-year period. Perhaps if we could get some response from people who choose not to be Muslims in a Muslim land, they could tell us what Islam does to those who refuse to follow Allah. I know there is something called the Jizya tax.

Qur’an (9:29) – “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.”

So if you comply with a willing submission, then God will pour out upon you a malignant sore. The Hebrew Study Bible calls them, disgusting and painful sores.

The second one (an angel sent by God) poured out his bowl into the sea, and it became like the blood of a dead person, and every living thing in the sea died. (Revelation 16:3 CJB)

An April 15, 2016, article from the Daily Mail in Australia shows this picture.

A swimmer heads towards a red algae bloom at Sydney's Clovelly Beach on November 27, 2012, which closed some beaches for swimming including Bondi Beach for a period of time. While the red algae, known as Noctiluca scintillans or sea sparkle, has no toxic effects, people are still advised to avoid swimming in areas with discoloured water because the algae, which can be high in ammonia, can cause skin irritation. AFP PHOTO/William WESTWILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images

A swimmer heads towards a red algae bloom at Sydney’s Clovelly Beach on November 27, 2012, which closed some beaches for swimming including Bondi Beach for a period of time. While the red algae, known as Noctiluca scintillans or sea sparkle, has no toxic effects, people are still advised to avoid swimming in areas with discoloured water because the algae, which can be high in ammonia, can cause skin irritation. AFP PHOTO/William WESTWILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images

While these scenes are impressive, the Red tide from algae blooms is not uncommon. I strongly suspect that the seas turning to blood may be a reality when this happens. Did this happen before? Yes, during the plagues of Egypt.

The third one poured out his bowl into the rivers and springs of water, and they turned to blood. (Revelation 16:4 CJB)

If you read about the plagues of Egypt, then you know this too happened. Strangely, Pharaoh’s sorcerers managed to find some clear water and turned that drinkable water into blood as well. When I read this story I cannot imagine there being any clear water. But, to take what drinkable water you can find and turn it into blood is just unfathomable.

Mother and child looking at the red beach

Mother and child looking at the red beach

Revelation 16:5-6 LITV And I heard the angel of the waters saying, You are righteous, Lord, the One who is, and who was, and who will be, because You judged these things, (6) since they poured out the blood of the saints and of the prophets; and You gave blood to them to drink, for they were deserving.

The words show God’s judgment against those who have poured out the blood of the saints and prophets. Since you chose blood, then blood you shall drink. Question? Since the judgment is very specific, speaking of the oceans, rivers, and streams, do you think bottled water would remain untouched?

Let’s end this “study” with this.

Revelation 16:7 LITV And I heard another out of the altar saying, Yes, Lord God Almighty, Your judgments are true and righteous.

I have come to the conclusion that all of God’s judgments are true and righteous. It does not matter how uncomfortable they make me feel.

Don’t get me wrong, pain hurts me as well. I just need to get my vision straight and keep my eyes on Jesus and his work in me.

In Recovery we make amends. We do this for a couple of reasons: to take responsibility for our own actions and the harm we have done to others, and, to do the right thing in God’s eyes, no matter what the personal consequences may be.

You need to be aware, that as a follower of Christ, God is not and will not punish you. Christ took all our punishment.

(Yes, I get it and hear the rebuttals all the time. That does not mean I will back down from this point of view. Because scripture tells that Christ took all the punishment due us on the cross, then we do not have to. This also means and tells that all sins: past, present, and future sins, have been forgiven. There is nothing to forgive. So, if we find ourselves going into eternal punishment what might have happened? You completely threw Jesus in the trash and opted to follow Satan – the god of this world, to his punishment. That puts your future completely on you, not God and some irrational decision you think he made.)

God, may, however, be testing you and trying to you, to purify you, to make you more like His son.

None of this excludes you from personal responsibility for your own actions. An example: if you drink and drive, and kill someone or do some major property damage. That was all your choice and you will have to submit to man’s laws. By the way – God instituted man’s laws as well, to keep law breakers under control. Since we – those followers who live controlled by the spirit of God don’t do those kinds of things, then we should not have a problem, should we.

But we do, and often. Why is that?

Because our central processors came damaged (we call that sin) thanks to Adam’s decisions making in the garden. God saw that coming long before it ever happened and chose to give the man the freedom to love the maker. That does not seem so unreasonable because a reasonable person should see the goodness and mercy in God and then long for Him. If this was any other way then we would just be automatons with no relationship. So, even before time began God had a plan. It involved allowing the creation, man, to make his mistakes; it involved allowing Lucifer to corrupt his power and position, with the potential to damage and kill the creation. But God had a plan, and he knew it would not fail. He would bring an uncorrupted son into the earth to be the King; he would allow that son to suffer and die with the express purpose of redeeming all mankind back to himself if they chose to come. And, He would receive his only Son back to himself alive and set him victorious on the throne; all for the purpose of ending all destruction and bringing back the family that wants to live with him.

Did God know there would be repercussions for his actions?

Yes, he knew some would choose not to believe and follow him. Those choosing against God would follow the only other “leader, the god of this world,” into the judgment that awaits him.

God did not make the eternal punishment for people; my bible tells me that God loves us, so much so, that he sent his only son into the world that did not love him, to die a brutal death, so that this world could be SAVED. They, the majority, however, choose not to be, because it cramps their style. No, God does not wish for anyone to perish, and Matthew 25, in the parable of the sheep and goats at the judgment, God shows MERCY to those who simply lived outside of their broken selfish ways and helped people at times.

Since I am not a good gambler I choose to live my life in the Spirit of God.

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, (Titus 2:11-13 NASB)

Then I heard a loud voice from the temple, saying to the seven angels, “Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God.”(Revelation 16:1 NASB)

Make note of the words, “the wrath of God.” If you do not know my blog and how I think, then may I make something clear. This time, that is coming upon the earth, often called the day of the Lord, is not the tribulation; it is the time of wrath. Tribulation, as Jesus put it, is a way of life for the believer.

Even my mother asked me, will we have to go through the tribulation?

Because I see events already upon us that look and sound like aspects of God’s wrath during the seven-year period, it is possible that we are already there. Add to this the testimony of a young Jewish boy. Jewish only by nationality at the time of his testimony, he died, went to heaven, spoke extensively with Jesus – the Messiah, and one of the things he said as he was questioned by the rabbis, was that we are in the last seven years. I could take that information seriously, or I could dismiss it, or I could compare it with what I see around me.

What is the obvious problem with that?

  • Jesus took all the wrath upon himself, on the cross,

    Isaiah 53:4-5 NASB Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. (5) But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.

  • and that we, being in Christ, are not destined for wrath.

    1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 NASB (9) For they themselves report about us what kind of a reception we had with you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God, (10) and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come.

    Romans 5:9 NASB Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.

  • All the wrath we see during this time period is meant for the nations and Israel in general for rejecting him.

    Allow me to explain something. We are only looking at three people groups in the world today: the Jews; the Nations, and the Church. Once the church is caught up to be with the Lord there will only be those unbelieving (at that moment) Jews and the nations. The nations are a broad spectrum ranging from those we claim were unreached, to those who live in ignorant or blatant rejection.

    Romans 1:18 NASB For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,

    John 3:36 NASB “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

    If God opened the windows of heaven and poured out his wrath upon the earth wouldn’t that mean that the church is receiving his wrath as well? And, that, is not right when I look at scripture.

What other explanations are there?

While it is clear to me that the removal of the church from the earth is the trigger to releasing God’s wrath upon the earth, there is nothing that tells us plainly when the church will get caught up.

2 Thessalonians 2:6-9 NASB (6) And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed. (7) For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. (8) Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; (9) that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders,

Sure, circumstantial evidence is mounting and we can see that. As a matter of fact, I can see many things happening as we speak. Just within the first three seals of Revelation 6 are things that are happening all around us.

Revelation 6:2-6 NASB I looked, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer. (3) When He broke the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come.” (4) And another, a red horse, went out; and to him who sat on it, it was granted to take peace from the earth, and that men would slay one another; and a great sword was given to him. (5) When He broke the third seal, I heard the third living creature saying, “Come.” I looked, and behold, a black horse; and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. (6) And I heard something like a voice in the center of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not damage the oil and the wine.”

  • If I look at the first rider, it rides a white horse. The white horse is symbolic of peace and yet the rider has a bow in his hand, in opposition to peace, but you noticed that he has no arrows. This rider is representative of an entity that presents itself as peace but its motive is really a war. Islam nicely fits that description; the religion of peace is anything but peaceful.

  • The second rider removes peace from the earth. Have you been watching the news lately? Sweden is burning Mosques and Islamic terrorists have blown up the Belgium airport. Trump supporters are, in the majority, just a bunch of violent racist fools, while the group Black Lives Matter group has openly stated we will bring the violent confrontation to the streets of America if Trump is elected.

  • And thirdly, that loaf of bread that I can remember paying a quarter for is now as much $4.25. The general idea is that food has become expensive, and, in many cases inedible.

Another example of that evidence was the idea that the beast was thought to be a Middle Eastern phenomenon by some. And, up until just a few years ago, I would have told you that America would not be touched by Islam’s terrors. But that is not the case anymore as we have Al Qaeda training camps in the United States and feasible threats to American targets.

Is it possible that what we see in the sixth chapter of Revelation is not the wrath of God? Maybe. By the time you get to verse eight it sure seems like it:

Revelation 6:8 NASB I looked, and behold, an ashen horse; and he who sat on it had the name Death; and Hades was following with him. Authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the earth.

But who is keeping count of the number of people in the Middle East, Sudan, Nigeria, Kenya, slaughtered by Islamic related groups? How many have died as verses 9-10 describes:

Revelation 6:9-10 NASB When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; (10) and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”

What’s my point? Things are not that clear are they?

If God saw fit to time events as he pleased then how do we keep the timing? You see, even that gets muddy as we wanted a clean delineation; one that allows us to precisely say, see, I told you so. But, that is not our job. Our job is spelled out the second chapter of Titus:

Titus 2:11-13 NASB For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, (12) instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, (13) looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,

We are to be looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.

Grab hold of that for a moment. Believers will tell you, that under grace we have no laws, or perhaps another way of stating this, commands.

This sounds like some explicit instructions to me: Deny ungodliness and worldly desires, live sensibly, righteously, and, look for the appearing of Jesus.